Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) is seeking nominations for its
Annual Environmental Awards 2017 .
CEF has held its Environmental Awards ceremony since 2001 which aims to acknowledge and honour the sometimes little known actions of groups, organisations and individuals around the county that have contributed to the health or richness of the Cork environment.
Awards are nominated under the four main pillars of the Forum , Public Sector, Business and Commercial Sector , Community & Voluntary Sector and Individual Category.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is given from time to time at the discretion of the Management Committee.
Nominations are accepted from CEF members and members of the public for actions that are in keeping with the spirit of sustainable development and community resilience, including raising awareness on environmental sustainability. The Awards have proven to be a very positive public acknowledgement of the work that groups, individuals, communities and businesses undertake every day to improve their environment and that of the wider community.
See details of previous Award Winners:
Collective Action an Inspiring Theme at Cork Environmental Forum’s Awards Ceremony 2016
The Annual Cork Environmental Forum Awards Ceremony took place at the Firkin Crane centre on Thursday 8th December to honour people, actions and projects across all sectors of society who are contributing positively to a better environment and sustainability throughout the City and County.
The evening commenced with the Public Sector Award for the Cork Public Bike Scheme which was nominated by Derry O’Farrell and acknowledged the tripartite effort by the National Transport Authority (NTA), An Rothar Nua and Cork City Council who were collectively recognised for delivering the scheme which has been hugely successful in Cork. The Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh presented the Award to Owen Shinkwin , NTA, Sean O’Dywer, Rothar Nua and Anita Lenihan, Cork City Council. Owen Shinkwin in accepting the Award praised the success of the scheme in Cork and emphasised its role in providing for better sustainable travel options for people.
The Individual Award Winner Catriona Reid, a 16 year old resident of Carrigaline was introduced by Eithne Lynch, who highlighted Catriona’s significant commitment to the environment by a full attendance at the Indaver Oral Hearing and her role in recording in detail and making available proceedings of the hearing to inform the public and interested groups. Since then “Our third fight” has been published which is Catriona’s in depth daily blog published in book form. In presenting Catriona with the Award the Deputy Mayor of the County, Cllr. Kevin Conway, highlighted the importance of the example Catriona provides for other young people as it will be her generation that are more aware and will have a significant role in protecting the environment in the future.
Helen Barrett in her introduction of the Community & Voluntary Sector Award Winner Branch Out for their “Lets Plant A Forest” project in Clonakilty highlighted the fact that Ireland still has very low tree cover compared to other European countries. This project, on a 26 acre site, provided by Cork County Council, on the edge of Clonakilty has been responsible for planting thousands of trees with the help of hundreds of members of the community over the past four years. Padraig O’Tuama, Coillte Team Leader Best Practice, in presenting the Award mentioned the examples in other EU countries where forests are much more available for general community use and are in the heart of cities such as Zurich. He complimented the group for their initiative as it is a great example of all sectors of the community coming together to implement the vision of having a public forest for all to enjoy in the future and this could be replicable anywhere in the country. Krisztian Gambos and Eylo Blaco key instigators of the project highlighted their love of the outdoors and nature and their passion for creating this space as well as the great cooperation from nurseries and businesses and the general public who join in planting every year.
Previous CEF Award winners for their initiatives on waste and energy conservation Coolagown Development Group received a commendation under the Community & Voluntary Category for their inspirational Community Rainwater Harvesting Project. John Feeney presented an overview of the project which was motivated by the water charges being introduced and the fact that this small village relies on a group water scheme. This is again a great example of people having a good idea and everyone in the community working together to implement it. The capture of water in a country with lots of rain makes great sense and community projects such as this benefit everyone, Coolagown now has 15 public access points to water in the village available for all. Padraig O’Tuama presented the Award to John Feeney and other representatives from the Development Group.
In the Business and Commercial sector, the Baby Market won the Award for its approach and impact on sustainable living and delivering social and environmental benefits. Roger Nagle in his introduction mentioned how much waste can be generated during a child’s first few years and how expensive all the equipment and clothing babies require can be for new parents. The Baby Market which is a franchise business model provides a great outlet to channel almost new items that can be reused to people through 8 locations in Ireland. Michael McCathy, Abbvie, in presenting the Award to Angela Nagle praised the concept and importance of sustainability in businesses both large and small. Angela Nagle in accepting the Award mentioned the opportunity the Baby Market gave her as a stay at home mum to get back in the workforce and run a business that was compatible with her own circumstances.
The Community Garden Award, always a very competitive category, was introduced by Deirdre Collins who nominated the Allihies and Men’s Shed Allotments, the project displays the positive benefits of collaboration and involvement of the whole community whist combating rural isolation. A recent project highlighted was the pumpkin project in conjunction with the local school, one pumpkin reaching a size of 6 stone weight. These were showcased at the Childrens Halloween party at the Lehanmore Community Centre. David Dudley a member of the Men’s Shed stressed how remote and isolated their community is, a 100 miles from the City, and the great benefit of the Men’s Shed itself but also in being more integrated with other projects such as the allotments both of huge social value. Frank Creedon, originally from the City now farming in Beara, said “nothing has brought me as much joy as being involved in the allotments”.
A commendation in this category was given to the Knocknaheeny/ Holyhill Community Garden which continues to build horticultural learning and awareness locally and with the wider community. This project a previous CEF winner in this category continues to grow and evolve, managed under the umbrella of NICHE, the garden provides an important source of fresh vegetables to the wider community. Hilary Fitzgerald in accepting the Award mentioned the support from the men’s toolbox group and the link with the Arts project which has been very involved in transforming the garden at this time of year into a Winter Wonderland, using many reused and re-purposed items.
“We live in challenging times globally but by acting locally in the way that all of the winners of tonight’s Awards have shown we can make a real difference which as highlighted deliver not just environmental benefits but also social and economic improvements for our communities across the city and county”, said Bernie Connolly, Development Coordinator of Cork Environmental Forum.
Cork Environmental Forum extended thanks to every person who took the interest and time to submit nominations for the 2016 Awards and to the panel of judges including CEF Management members and Justin Byrne, of the Environmental Pillar.
To Mayfield Arts Centre, especially Stephen Murray and Eadaoin Berkeley whose collaborative pieces formed the prizes for the 4 Main Categories and to Peter Little, Hortisculptures, for his creativity in creating unique sculptures from natural materials such as stone and wood, which this year was given as the Community Garden Prize.
Our Awards Ceremony is a public event and we welcome anyone interested in hearing more about the individuals, organisations, businesses and gardens who are contributing positively to a better environment in Cork City and County.