Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards
Clean Coasts asked the public to nominate volunteers who they believe have made an outstanding contribution to Ireland’s coastal environment.
The Clean Coasts programme can count on the work of over 900 volunteer groups nationwide. These inspirational groups work collectively to create a cleaner and more sustainably managed coastline. Ocean Hero has been recognising the efforts of these volunteers for over a decade now and Clean Coasts is looking forward to receive and review nominations for 2019.
What are the Ocean Hero Awards?
The Clean Coasts’ Ocean Hero Awards are about honouring the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and 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 900 Clean Coasts groups, becoming embedded in many coastal communities nationwide.
Ocean Hero Awards 2019 – Categories
- Clean Coasts Group of Year
- Clean Coasts Volunteer of the Year
- Clean Coasts Youth of the Year
- Clean Coasts Youth Group of the Year
- Clean Coasts Beach Clean of the Year
- Clean Coasts Fishing Community of the Year (supported by Bord Iscaigh na Mhara)
- Clean Coasts Business of the Year
- Think Before You Flush Community of the Year (supported by Irish Water)
Ocean Hero Awards 2019 – Categories*
- Clean Coasts Group of Year– This award recognises the Clean Coasts group who have made the most significant contribution to our coastline during 2019.
- Clean Coasts Volunteer of the Year –This award acknowledges those individuals who initiate change and inspire others to do more to protect and conserve their coastline.
- Clean Coasts Youth Volunteer of the Year – This award honours our younger Clean Coasts volunteers. We would love to hear about individual youths, families, school groups, youth clubs and scout groups etc., who have gone above and beyond to clean our shorelines and raise awareness about the issues facing it.
- Clean Coasts Beach Clean of the Year – Have you been involved in or heard about a coastal clean-up that really stood out! We are looking for submissions that have made a significant impact to the coastal the environment and brought communities together with a shared purpose of caring for the marine environment.
- Clean Coasts Fishing Community of the Year (supported by Bord Iscaigh na Mhara). – This award recognises the effort our seafaring community are currently undertaking to reduce marine litter in their everyday work life.
- Clean Coasts Business of the Year – We are looking for nominations outlining what our business community are currently doing to create a healthier coastal environment. (excludes organisations who have taken part in our Corporate Volunteering programme)
- Think Before You Flush Community of the Year (supported by Irish Water) – This award acknowledges one of the 15 communities chosen to take part in the Think Before You Flush Communities initiative for 2019.
*all nominees should be registered with Clean Coasts programme for at least the past 6 months.
Ocean Hero Awards 2019 – Nominees
Volunteer of the Year
Winner – Proinsias O’Tuama
Proinsias is the founder of both the Clean Coasts Ballynamona and the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme. Proinsias continues to build upon this great work and is a driving force in not only Clean Coasts Ballynamona but also St. Colman’s Community College, who have won Ocean Hero School of the Year for the last 4 years.
Louise Hastings is the founder of the Keep Our Beaches Clean Coasts group. She runs the group solely and has managed to maintain it despite spending a lot of the year abroad. This wouldn’t be possible without all of the incredible volunteers of course, so she feels very lucky to have the Louisburgh community to support her!
Mark McCarty is a Clean Coasts volunteer based in Schull, co. Cork, who works tirelessly with the coast guard and local community to keep Schull safe and beautiful. He travels all over Ireland, spending a lot of his own time educating young people about the importance of sustainability, environment and our impact.
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.
Group of the Year
Winner – Clean Coasts Ballynamona
This is one of the biggest and most active Clean Coasts Groups in the country. Approximately 250 people are part of Clean Coasts Ballynamona. They clean so many beaches around East Cork – indeed they are cleaning 40km of coastline which equals 1.5% of the Irish coastline!
The Coastal Warriors, joined Rathmullan Clean Coast Group in 2016 and since then every Wednesday come rain, hail or snow they clean Rathmullan beaches, in co. Donegal.
Keep Our Beaches Clean
Keep Our Beaches Clean was officially established on July 2nd, 2018, in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. On a weekly basis we have volunteers picking litter on our shores, the weather does not deter them.
Bull Island Action Group
Youth of the Year
Winner – Evan, Alex and Dylan
These three young volunteers set up their project over a year ago, after seeing a swan eating Styrofoam in the Tralee canal. They turned to the public for help as the clean-up of the canal was too big a job for three small children.
Thomas is a Tramore Tidy Towns Volunteer. He is just eight years old and a second standard pupil at Glór na Mara Primary School in Tramore. For the past 18-months he has been a volunteer on the Sunday morning beach clean in Tramore which takes place 52 weeks of the year.
Dean and Natasha O’Leary
From May to November, Dean and Natasha move to Fountainstown and spend every night cleaning the beach . Dean and Natasha have had to deal with a lot of discarded barbecues, some of which were still lighting.
Youth Group of the Year
Winner – National Learning Network
The National Learning Network is a programme in which participants are young adults who may have a physical, intellectual or sensory disability. The programme is designed to help you make realistic decisions about your life, focus on your strengths and develop new skills.
This year Dungarvan Youthreach, in Co. Waterford, decided to do an environmental theme throughout the centre. They started by joining Green schools for the first time and are working towards their first ever flag for ‘Litter and Waste’.
St. Colman Community College
The school intend to bring our 22 feeder primary schools out beach cleaning with us going forward. This process started during the #BigBeachClean2019.
Beach Clean of the Year
Winner – Maharees Conservation Association
The Maharees Conservation Association is a Clean Coasts group that work tirelessly trying to protect their coastline from the onslaught of marine litter that washes up in this beautiful Special Area of Conservation in on the Dingle Peninsula.
Seastainability and Picker Pals
Seastainability and Picker Pals joined forces once more for a spooky Zombie themed beach clean. The Clean Coasts-supported beach clean took place on October 27th, 2019 at Sutton Creek, Dublin 13 from 2-4pm.
Kerry Islamic Outreach Clean-up
The Kerry Islamic Outreach group is a Community Voluntary organization registered with Kerry County Council, which was established in 2013. Since 2015, the group has been joined by various Syrian refugee families.
Business of the Year
Winner – Island View Riding Stables
This group is an equestrian centre in North Sligo right along the Wild Atlantic Way. They try to minimize their impact on the marine environment as much as they can and give back where they can.
In 2019, the Aquarium has dedicated one day a month for its Clean Coasts beach clean-ups. This business included both Green and Blue clean ups throughout the year to educate the public about sources of litter pollution.
Dell is a company based in Cork and, where they set up the Shore-Up programme. The aim of this programme is to clean the beaches regularly during the year.
Fishing Community of the Year (supported by BIM)
Winner – Kilmore Quay Fishing Community
Kilmore Quay came on-board Fishing For Litter in May 2018 and have retrieved over 31 tonnes of marine litter to date.
Clew Bay CLAMS Group
Over the past few years BIM has come together with the Clew Bay CLAMS Groups, local fishermen, seafarers, residents and local groups, like the Newport Clean Coast group, Ardagh Clean Coast Group and staff of the Marine Institute Furnace Newport.
Irish South and West Production
There are 49 vessels registered in CTB for Fishing For litter, which is about 1/5 of the fleet. There have been 109 tonnes of marine litter retrieved from the sea by the fleet in CTB since the scheme was officially introduced in 2015.
Think Before You Flush Community of the Year (supported by Irish Water)
Winner – Discover Bundoran
2019 was the first year that Bundoran was a Think Before You Flush community and they wanted to make sure that everyone was behind it, so the campaign was promoted throughout the community.
Belmullet Tidy Towns
The Belmullet Tidy Towns group worked with the Mayo/Sligo Clean Coasts Officer Olivia Jones to formulate a plan of action for Think Before You Flush in Belmullet.
Blackrock Tidy Towns
Due to their close liaison with An Taisce on various initiatives over the years, Blackrock as one of only 15 locations in Ireland selected to roll out their “Think Before You Flush” campaign.