eu pres Young Green teens’ wormery project wins all-Ireland ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist of the Year Award at Ireland’s biggest celebration of ECO-Action!

Full awards list and updates can be found on the ECO-UNESCO Blog 

Photos will be uploaded to ECO-UNESCO Flickr gallery

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Green teens from St. Josephs College, Athlone were crowned the 2012 Overall Senior ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalists of the year for their ‘Wormery Works’ project with the 2012 Overall Junior Award scooped by teens from Our Lady & St. Patrick’s College, Belfast for the ‘The Big Tidy Up,’ at the 13th annual ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Finalists Showcase and Awards Ceremony held in the Round Room of the Mansion House, in Dublin on 8th May.


In attendance were over 600 young people and special guests Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children Youth Affairs, Andrew Montague, Lord Mayor of Dublin and the youthful master of ceremonies, Stephen Byrne, RTÉ presenter. The group from St Joseph’s College Summerhill implemented a successful wormery and waste reduction campaign in their school. Thanks to their winning worms and inspiring awareness raising activities, this group is reducing waste in their school, supplying their organic garden with compost and setting an excellent environmental example for their peers and the public.  The ‘Big Tidy Up’ from Our Lady and St. Patricks in Belfast, carried out an anti-litter campaign which reached global levels as they linked up with schools in Croatia and Washington.


Along with the overall winners, over 20 other Awards were presented including category winners in Biodiversity, Water, ECO-Community Development, ECO-Enterprise, ECO-Art and Design and Climate Change.  Special Awards were presented to ECO-UNESCO Clubs, to Super junior groups (10-12yrs), to ECO-Leaders (teachers & youth leaders) and to youth and community organisations through the ECO-Sustainability Award.  With young people from all over Ireland and Northern Ireland, the event featured 60 lucky groups who were selected for the finals from almost 4,000 young people throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland at regional ‘Dragon’s Den’ style ECO-Dens. Each group showcased innovative elements of their environmental action projects which included fun and friendly nature trails; up-cycled fashion, fracking research, eco-cartoons, original environmental songs and even a pedal powered smoothie machine!


Preceding the official awards ceremony, the public was invited to visit the colourful showcase where the Young Environmentalists were present to share details about their ECO-Action project. The ECO-UNESCO team also provided exciting green-themed activities including creative recycling workshops, a Rio+20 Zone where young people explored their ideas about the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development and an ECO-Talent Zone where visitors were entertained by inspiring youth performances.


“I am extremely impressed by all the young environmentalists participating in this year’s awards,” said Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNESCO. “All of the young people have shown tremendous creativity and innovation in their approach to protecting the environment and promoting environmental awareness among their peers, their schools, youth groups and the community as a whole. We have received high quality projects and we are delighted to run this programme to recognise and reward young peoples achievements’


“It is heartening to witness the levels of interest and passion exhibited by so many young people in the future of the environment that we all share. This is an area of tremendous importance and it is reassuring that the motivators and leaders of tomorrow have such a collaborative ethos and have displayed such energy and innovation” commented Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland in an official statement for the event.


The annual awards programme run by ECO-UNESCO, Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation, recognises and rewards young people that carry out local environmental action projects. The programme has provided thousands of young people, aged 10 -18, an opportunity to take action and raise awareness in their own community on issues that matter the most to them.