Over 600 young people from across Ireland will be honoured at the 15th annual ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Showcase and Ceremony on May 20th in the Mansion House. The event is Ireland’s largest celebration of youth eco-action and is held to recognise and reward the hard work of young people island-wide for their work on protecting and conserving their local environment.

Ireland’s greenest teens will be honoured at a special awards ceremony hosted by RTÉ presenter Aidan Power, where the winners of the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards 2014 will be announced. Guest of honour, Mr. Qunli Han, UNESCO’s Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and the Secretary of the Man and the Biosphere Programme will present the overall winners with their prizes and deliver an address on the day.

Prior to the afternoon ceremony, ECO-UNESCO is inviting the public to visit the Mansion House from 10am to 12.45pm and meet the 75 lucky groups selected for the finals from over 4,000 young people throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland at regional ECO-Dens in March. Each group will showcase elements of their environmental action projects ranging from creating biodiversity trails, delivering environmental workshops in schools to setting up a ‘city farm’ to harvest crops and cut down on food miles.

Added into the mix of the morning showcase will be a fun few hours of colourful exhibits, exciting green-themed activities including creative up-cycling workshops and interactive biodiversity, sustainability and water zones. Visitors will also be entertained by the ECO-Talent Show with inspiring youth performances including songs, raps and dance, with some performances even having an environmental twist!

Youth films created as part of ECO-UNESCO’s Young Citizens for Water project, funded by the Leargas Youth in Action fund, will also premiere on the day. The films, created by participating groups from around the country, highlight water issues on a local and global scale and encourage young people to take action on them.

Speaking in the run up to the Young Environmentalist Awards Showcase and Ceremony, Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNESCO said “We are delighted to mark our 15th year with our biggest showcase to date. Over the past number of years we have seen just how passionate and dedicated young people all over Ireland are to protecting and raising environmental awareness and this year is no exception. These finalists have helped to greatly improve their local environment through developing community gardens, organising litter clean ups, creating local biodiversity trails, the list is endless. I am really looking forward to honouring the work of these young people at Tuesday’s event and I encourage the public to visit the showcase from 10am-12.45pm to grasp just how fantastic the projects completed by these young people are.”

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.

The Young Environmentalist Awards is funded by Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; The Department of Children and Youth Affairs, The Environmental Protection Agency, Dublin City Council, Enrich and Alupro Ireland.