Congratulations to all our Ocean Heroes Awarded at Ocean Talks & Ocean Hero Awards Ceremony 2018

We’d also like to say thank you to everyone who nominated their Ocean Heroes. We are delighted to have received the most amount of nominations ever for the awards this year. Everyone nominated really made an outstanding contribution to Ireland’s coastal environment. This year we looked for entries to the following 6 categories: Group of the Year, Individual of the Year, School of the Year, Business of the Year, Beach Clean of the Year and Think Before You Flush Award.

What are the Ocean Hero Awards?

The Clean Coasts’ Ocean Hero Awards are about honouring the invaluable contribution Ireland’s coastal communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. The awards, originally called the ‘Clean Coasts’ Merit Awards’, were conceived in 2006, consisting then of only one category, ‘The Clean Coasts’ Group of the Year’. Since then the Clean Coasts’ programme has grown to engage over 600 Clean Coasts groups, becoming embedded in many coastal communities nationwide. In an effort to recognise this growth the number of Ocean Hero categories have expanded to include six categories.

Ocean Hero Group of the Year

Winner

Keep Our Beaches Clean

A very new group to the Clean Coasts programme, Keep Our Beaches Clean registered as Clean Coasts group in the summer of 2018. However, in that time the group have been extremely hard-working in their efforts to keep the Coastline of SW Mayo clean. They have collected over 2.5 tonnes of rubbish and gathered 1055 followers on Facebook. Over half of their social media followers to date have either participated in a clean-up with the group or on their own. The group had volunteers on SW Mayo beaches every day from July 1st until the end of the season.

Most of the plastic and ropes they have collected since they were established is currently in storage and is to be used for an art project. All items of clothing collected during the beach cleans have been washed and sent to charity shops. Toys were also washed and collected in a box for the public to use on beaches over the summer, following this they were sent on to local play-schools. The group have also run workshops to raise awareness on waste and recycling.

They are an amazing group who have not only made a huge difference to the beaches of Westport and Louisburgh areas of Mayo, they have also helped to change behaviour of those visiting the beaches through their environmental message.

Shortlist

5th Wicklow Bray
Sea Scouts

5th Wicklow Bray Sea Scouts are a new group joining Clean Coasts in 2018. They got straight to work and set up a designated #2minutebeachclean bin at the scout den along with #2minutebeachclean campaign signage in the harbour to promote the message to the wider public.

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Burrenbeo Conservation
Volunteers

Burrenbeo Trust carried out 3 successful beach cleans in 2018 clearing the Burren coastline of more than 1 1/2 tonnes of rubbish and involving more than 85 different volunteers. They also worked closely with other local organisations and farmers to keep the Burren coastline as clear of rubbish as possible. 

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Clean Coasts
Ballynamona

Clean Coasts Ballynamona acts as the main network support for many of the East Cork Clean Coasts Groups as well as arranging multiple clean ups throughout the year. They are constantly engaging volunteers, schools, local politicians and businesses in their efforts and raise awareness of marine pollution at both a local and national level.

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Cósta Glan agus Glas An Fhálcarraigh

Cósta Glan agus Glas An Fhálcarraigh or Falcarragh Clean Coasts Group was setup in just 2016 and since then have gone from strength to strength in improving the coastal environment around Falcarragh. This group not only carries out beach cleans every month, they have also inspired many other groups in the county to carry out beach cleans on a regular basis.

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Ocean Hero Individual of the Year

Winner

Seán Ferguson

Seán can be seen cleaning beaches along the Wexford coast every morning all year round. He combines his beach cleaning with daily swims and walking his dog early before he starts work. This year he took part in the Big Beach Clean in September and covered 7 beaches in total including Ballymoney North and South, Cahore, Seafield, Tara Cove, Kiltennel and Saleen.

Seán often takes the bags of rubbish he collects to his front garden to sort and make sure that as much as possible gets recycled. He also collects all the beach toys he finds, washes them and distributes them to charities and local creches in Gorey. Seán is a big supporter of our #2minutebeachclean campaign and his Instagram captures his daily finds along the Wexford coast and inspires others to get in on the beach cleaning action.

Shortlist

Liam McNamara

Fanore local Liam McNamara is an amazing beach cleaner/comber. Liam lets Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers know which parts of the coast around Fanore need a good clean up and he very generously allows them to pile the collected rubbish in his front garden until the council can come and take it away. 

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Olive Gilsenan

Olive Gilsenan has been the driving force behind the Portrane and Donabate Clean Coasts Group since its inception at the start of 2016. In that time the group has gone from strength to strength hosting numerous monthly cleanups at both Portrane and Donabate beaches. Olive has also always tried to engage the public around the educational aspects of the coastal area and the importance of protecting it. 

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Peter O’Donnell

Peter is the main person behind the Clean Coasts Group, ACI Arranmore Cultural Initiative, which was established in 2012. He has been carrying out beach cleans on Arranmore for many years working tirelessly with volunteers. He is also very involved in every aspect of tackling litter on the island.

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Proinsias Ó Tuama

Clean Coasts Ballynamona has been taking care of the local and surrounding marine environment in East Cork since 2015, and have won several Ocean Hero Awards since then. Their founder Proinsias Ó Tuama is inspirational in his work and dedication and indeed won the Ocean Hero Award for Outstanding Achievement last year.

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Ocean Hero School of the Year

Winner

St. Colman’s Community College

St. Colman’s Community College has been a recipient of the Ocean Hero School of the Year Award in previous years and their dedication to the coast continues to grow and inspire others:

The current beaches under their care are: Ballynamona West, Ballynamona East, Ardnahinch, Garryvoe, Silverstrand, Ballinwilling, Ballycroneen, Ballybranagan, Pilmore, Redbarn, Claycastle and The Front Strand in Youghal.

They are also working and engaging with other local schools – mentoring Coláiste an Chroí Naofa, Carraig na bhFear, and brought 80 of their students and teachers out beach cleaning with them raising further awareness. They are continuing to mentor other schools and spread the message.

They are constantly promoting coastal care. Recently their “Love your Beach” message made the front page of the Examiner and other publications – Evening Echo, East Cork Journal & Marine Times.

They have supported the town of Midleton to help tackle litter and prevent it from entering the rivers in the town. 75 TY students took part in this and approximately 25 black bags of litter were removed from the town each day they went out; as we all know, 80% of marine litter starts on land.

Their support of the Think Before You Flush campaign is ongoing – both in the school and in the surrounding area.

A special mention has to be given to their teacher Prionsias Ó Tuama who has led this school tirelessly in their efforts to tackle marine pollution.

Shortlist

Newpark School

The Dublin based school and its “Plastic Out of the Park” campaign which reached national coverage this year when it’s transition years students launched it in March of 2018. The aim of the campaign was for the school to be the first ever single-use place free campus in Ireland. As part of the campaign the students took a five-fold approach to achieve this.

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St Michael’s School

St Michael’s School have been involved with the Clean Coasts programme since 2016 which they joined as part of their Green-Schools Project. It was the school’s proximity to a core area of the Dublin Bay Biosphere reserve that was the impetus for the students to establish the group, they wanted to be involved in protecting its unique coastal habitats.