Young people from Antrim prepare to enter the ECO-Den
Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Co. Armagh is hosting the inspiring regional final of ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards, an all-Island environmental awards programme that recognises and rewards young people who raise environmental awareness, on Wednesday 11th March at 10am.
Young people from Our Lady & St. Patrick’s College, Victoria College Belfast and Ballyclare High School, are preparing to face the judges these Dragon Den style, ECO-Dens. Participants between the ages of 10 and 18 years will present their action projects which raise environmental awareness and make a positive contribution to their local community. A huge variety of projects will be pitched on the day, including projects on water conservation, environment awareness at schools and the use of Halophytes as Biofuels.
ECO-Den finalists will have to convince a panel of expert judges including Elaine Nevin (ECO-UNESCO), Leona Donaghy (Antrim Borough Council), Liz Wallace (Curriculum Advisory and Support Service Northern Ireland), David Richardson (Cookstown District Council) and Nial O’Connor (Monaghan County Council) that their group deserves a spot at the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards 2015 Showcase and Awards Ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on Wednesday 13th May.
As an all island initiative, ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards recognises and rewards the work of young people in environmental protection through local environmental action projects. Now in its 16th year, the programme has been receiving hundreds of applications from schools and youth groups from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over the past few weeks. The Ulster ECO-Den is the first of five regional finals and is unique to the other ECO-Dens as it includes a mini-showcase for the participants to which schools throughout Ulster are invited to attend. With environmental workshops and exhibitions running throughout the day, it’s set to be a truly educational and fun event for all involved!
Commenting on the initiative, Elaine Nevin, Director of ECO-UNESCO, Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation said, “ The ECO-Dens present a fantastic opportunity for young people to a pitch to a panel of experts, tell them how their project makes a difference to the local environment and why their project should be in the shortlist for the finals in Dublin this May. We are really impressed with the standard of projects so far. It’s great to see such fantastic and inspiring work going on locally throughout the country and we’re really looking forward to being inspired by the young people of Ulster on Wednesday.”
The Ulster ECO-Den is supported Craigavon Borough Council and Monaghan County Council. The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs are the main funders of the overall initiative.
Established in 1999, ECO-UNESCO’s annual Young Environmentalist Awards are a fun and exciting way to empower young people to become better citizens, to build awareness of environmental issues in their locality and promote simple actions and lifestyle changes to improve the environment for all.
Groups successful in the regional finals have a chance to attend the annual National Showcase and Awards Ceremony event held each May. There, participants will get a chance to showcase their work, meet TV celebrities and win fantastic prizes.
Participating Groups – Ulster ECO-Den 2015
Our Lady & St. Patrick’s College (Antrim)
St. Mary’s College (Derry)
Donegal YMCA STEP (Donegal)
Victoria College Belfast (Down/Antrim)
Ballyclare High School (Antrim)
St. Catherine’s College (Armagh)
Colaiste Pobail Oscrai (Killkenny)
Donegal VEC (Donegal)