Awards Ceremony 2017 – Moving & inspiring

An evening of uplifting, inspirational and positive celebration

of amazing people doing amazing things to improve our environment. 

The packed audience attending the Cork Environmental Forum Awards Ceremony at the Firkin Crane Centre on Monday last, 4th December, were moved by mesmerising stories extolling the commitment, leadership and dogged determination of all the Award recipients who are taking action to improve our environment.

James O’Donovan, CEF, Chairperson, welcomed everyone to the Awards Ceremony. Proinsias O’Tuama from Ballycotton was the well deserving winner of the Outstanding Individual Award with his unstinting efforts to rid the beaches of East Cork of litter, pictured with his wife Lorraine O’Tuama who nominated Proinsias. John Sexton, who tirelessly removes litter from the streets of the Northside of the City, was commended for his work which stems from respect and love of the place he lives in. Pictured with Derry O’Farrell who nominated John. Michael Doyle, Colm O’Conor and workers from COPE were present to collect the Award under the Community & Voluntary Category for their project Duhallow REVAMP. A social enterprise delivering social, economic and environmental benefits to their locality. Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr. Fergal Dennehy, presented the Awards under these two categories and praised the work being done in communities across the City and County.

Pat Mehigan, nominator, pictured with Collette McKenna and members of the Love our Library Team at University College Cork who have made substantial reductions in their energy consumption and reduced waste through a  creative campaign developed in collaboration with the students which garnered them the Public Sector Award.

The Business and Commercial Category Winner was Maggie Minnion for The Filling Station which services Kinsale, Clonakilty and Skibbereen markets with a refill option for customers as well as a growing range of eco-goods in no or low impact packaging.  Virginia Stearns and Donal O’Gara were commended for their business My Goodness which provides vegan, raw, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, fermented probiotic products. They also harvest rainwater for their Keffir and other drinks range and now have a team of 9 people working on the business.

Keiron Phillips, EPA Green Business, reiterated how impressive the Businesses Category Award Winners are in integrating the economic, social and environment benefits. Stressing that very often the social good that they deliver can so often be overlooked

Lifetime Achievement Award was presented this year to Jim Wilson for the depth and breadth of his work over many years to wildlife and the environment. In accepting his Award Jim mentioned the support of family and the influence of so many people that he has worked with over the years but perhaps one that resonated with Jim were the word’s of his mother branding our beautiful world around us as  paradise which  still inspires his efforts, and resonated with everyone present at the Awards.

CEF were delighted to have Anja Murray, ecologist and known to many as one of the presenters on the EcoEye Programme, to launch their new Sustainable Agriculture Category. Anja outlined the vital challenges that face the environment from our intensive method of producing food and the importance of recognising those who are incorporating better practices.

Donal Sheehan, a dairy farmer in North Cork, has put in place many initiatives to encourage biodiversity and is demonstrating how dairy farming can be compatible with protecting and enhancing habitats. Donal spoke movingly about the species of birds that were present in the past on his farm but are no longer seen, as he also questioned how in a generation we have become desensitised to living in harmony with other species. Relaying a beautiful account from a 90 year old woman of how as a little girl she was taught from her parents to interact with nesting Skylarks  and the imprint of this years later from having a real connection and respect for nature.

Alan Kingston, a West Cork based farmer, who has embraced agroforestry as the future for his farm said what he is doing is not new but is considered so as it involves the planting of a lot trees in rows and combining traditional farming practices with forestry. He emphasised the important need for more trees, to learn from the land and to join the dots to create more wildlife corridors. Both are leading the way and great examples of how agriculture can be carried out in a more sustainable manner.

CEF wishes to acknowledge that the introduction of such a category was a suggestion of Michael Ewing, Irish Environmental Network when he was adjudicating on the Award panel a number of years ago, however, until we interacted with Alan and Donal this year for Tree Week, Space week and other events we finally felt the time was right to launch with being able to showcase two such good practice examples. We look forward in 2018 to many nominations in this category.

A word of thanks to our sponsors who readily came on board with financial and personal support for the event. We appreciate the attendance of Donal Kissane, Gas Networks Ireland and Olan Hodnett and John Lynch, Down2Earth Materials, who also participated in the presentation of the Awards.

We would like to thank nominators, who made introductions and other presenters not already mentioned above that include Klaus Harvey, Clair McSweeney, Joe Aherne and Clare Heardman.

We wish to thank everyone who made nominations to the Awards in 2017, there was a great broad spectrum of interest and an almost record number of entries which in itself is a great indicator of the growing activity in the area  of environmental sustainability. The adjudication panel, Justin Byrne, Irish Environmental Network together with Matt Jones, Helen Barrett and Denis O’Regan CEF, had the unenviable task of selecting the winners in each category and deserve great credit as all recipients are leading examples of the commitment and drive to improve the environment and have a lighter footprint whether a s an individual, a business or a group.

Thanks to sculptor, Kevin Casey, who supplied the prizes which are unique and individual bogwood sculptors created and carved from oak and yew wood buried for 1000s years beneath the deep midland bogs.

Finally thanks to everyone who attended on the night, in support of recipients or from interest and support for CEF, there was not a spare seat to be had. Also appreciation to the Firkin Crane Centre, it’s such a perfect venue for this event and Ann, Liam and all the team there are so welcoming and helpful.

We look forward with renewed energy and hope to 2018 and the possibilities that may arise in continuing to support and grow the number of amazing people doing amazing things in support of our amazing place on this one and only liveable planet.

Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) is seeking nominations for its

Annual Environmental Awards 2017 .

CEF has held its Environmental Awards ceremony since 2001 which aims to acknowledge and honour the sometimes little known actions of groups, organisations and individuals around the county that have contributed to the health or richness of the Cork environment.

Awards are nominated under the four main pillars of the Forum , Public Sector, Business and Commercial Sector , Community & Voluntary Sector and Individual Category. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award is given from time to time at the discretion of the Management Committee.

Nominations are accepted from CEF members and members of the public for actions that are in keeping with the spirit of sustainable development and community resilience, including raising awareness on environmental sustainability. The Awards have proven to be a very positive public acknowledgement of the work that groups, individuals, communities and businesses undertake every day to improve their environment and that of the wider community.

See details of previous Award Winners:


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