Cork Environmental Forum announce award winners ahead of ceremony

Cork Environmental Forum announce award winners ahead of ceremony

The Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) awards night will take place at the Firkin Crane Centre on Thursday, December 1, starting at 7pm and will be attended by the Lord Mayor, Deirdre Forde.

A Cork forum spearheading environmental awareness in the county is to honour outstanding campaigners at an awards ceremony in December.

The Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) awards night will take place at the Firkin Crane Centre on Thursday, December 1, starting at 7pm and will be attended by the Lord Mayor, Deirdre Forde. The event is open to the public.

Bernie Connolly, CEF Coordinator, said, “we are delighted to announce our award winners for 2022 across four sectoral pillars and the Circular Economy category. The awards shine a spotlight on the wonderful activism, commitment and work being done across the sectors to support our environment.” The Outstanding Individual category winner is ornithologist Pat Smiddy who has spent a lifetime recording, researching and writing about birdlife in Cork and beyond. He has published over 100 papers and notes in a wide range of natural history journals, as well as several book chapters. He recently co-authored The Birds of County Cork, a comprehensive account of the ecology of all species known to have occurred in the county, with an emphasis on distribution, population change and migration.

Pat Smiddy, Ballymacoda, pictured in August
Pat Smiddy, Ballymacoda, pictured in August

A commendation has been awarded to Niamh Guiry for her efforts in spearheading the establishment of a Nature Forum in Cork which is about forming a coalition in order to mobilise action to address biodiversity loss.

Liberty Grill and Café Gusto food business partnership are a very well-deserving winner of the Business and Commercial Award. The business group has taken lengths to invest in low-energy food preparation equipment with a conscious vision towards a low carbon economy, “As well as consciously implementing circular economy practices and choosing to omit out-of-season and, or, environmentally damaging ingredients and products from their menus,” said Ms Connolly.

Niamh Guiry
Niamh Guiry

The Community and Voluntary Award, which is a very competitive category has been awarded to the Oceans Plastic Project. This is a partnership with six schools in West Cork, to go out on the beaches, cleaning the litter, collecting and logging it and educating the students about marine waste, and pollution and improving marine literacy on coastal biodiversity and marine life. It also incorporates an element of reuse of materials salvaged from the marine environment.

A commendation has been given under this category to L’Arche Cork, Go Green Project, which provides short courses and workshops on horticulture and sustainability specifically tailored for people with Intellectual disabilities focusing on food security, biodiversity and recycling.

The Cycle Sense workshop
The Cycle Sense workshop

Cork City Council has scooped the award under the Public Sector for the Marina Park Phase I for the way in which accessibility, mobility, space for recreation together with space for nature have been considered and consciously blended in the delivery of this public green space.

“The popularity of the recently established Circular Economy category continues to grow and we are delighted to announce the Skibbereen-based Cycle Sense as this year’s winner,” said Ms Connolly. “Cycle Sense's reuse projects help to reduce the need for raw materials by reclaiming discarded existing products and giving them an extended life through repair and repurposing.” Meitheal Mara have received a commendation in this category building traditional Irish Currachs from natural, renewable materials. They create beautiful tote bags from 'end of roll' materials whilst handles are made from materials salvaged during river clean-ups.

CEF is “delighted to see such great quality across all nominations and thanks everyone who took the time and effort to make a nomination. The task of the selection panel is a very difficult one given the merits of all entries and it is so uplifting to see the level of activity being carried out by so many dedicated people across Cork city and county.” “Ultimately we will address the dual challenges of climate and biodiversity loss at a local level and this is why it is so heartening to see such activism in such a range of areas that are contributing to focusing on the solutions and shifts that are required,” added Ms Connolly.

City Council Marina Park
City Council Marina Park

CEF wishes to acknowledge the kind sponsorship of the awards by the SE Systems, City View Wheels and Cork City and County Councils.

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