Annual Environmental Awards 2021

Our 2021 Award Winners were honoured at our Environmental Awards Ceremony on Thursday 9th December. The Awards are a timely end of year reminder of all the wonderful people and groups doing such important work. The Ceremony, albeit online, exuded positivity and everyone who attended was inspired by the stories and work being done all across the City and County.

CEF Chairperson, Shirley Gallagher, made a welcoming address and we were delighted that both the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Colm Kelleher and the Mayor of the County, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan took time out of their busy diairies to join us and make opening addresses, Cllr. Coughlan was en route to Kilworth!

This year saw the introduction of a Circular Economy Award to the standard Awards under the 4 CEF Pillars and the Board also gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to the very well deserving Gerard Mullallly.

The first Award of the evening was presented to The Ewe Experience under the Business and Commercial Sector category. Nomiator, Colleen Phillips, in her introduction mentioned how impactful her recent visit with 3 generations of family members had been in how much creativity and knowledge was imparted on this wonderful eco-trail nestled under the Caha range in Glengarriff. Isabelle Sutton, CEF Director, in presenting the Award highlighted that what Kurt & Sheena had created was through long-term hard work and effort and such amazing projects do not happen overnight. Sheena in her acceptance gave an insight into the origins of the business, including the unique name and what has inspired both her and Kurt in its development. 

Colleen Phillips, Isabelle Sutton, Kurt Lyndroff & Sheena Woods
The Ewe Experience
Darren Reidy, Éanna Hyland, Juan Camarasa
& members of
UCC Environmental Society

Friends of the Dripsey Rivers received a Commendation under the Community & Voluntary Sector. Michael O’Connor explained that whilst a relatively new citizen science group focused on water quality in their rivers they have already been really proactive and displayed qualities of a model catchment group. Ellie Donovan, CEF Director, congratualted them on the valuable work to protect their rivers and Sarah Cooney in her acceptance on behalf of the group said the acknowledgement by CEF gave them great encouragement to do even more in 2022. 

Hannah Dare, Caitríona Courtney
& Jessica Mason

The next Award of the evening was the Community & Voluntary Award which was introduced by nominator Darren Reidy with a very comprehensive and heartfelt overview of the tremedous amount of work the students who make up the UCC Environmental Society carry out not only making efforts to build awareness and green the campus but with strong outreach links to the community. Éanna Hyland in his acceptance praised all of the students for their commitment, passion and actions and thanked those who support them in doing so across the campus. Juan Camarasa, CEF Director in presenting highlighted how impressive these young people are by leading by example, something we can all learn from. 

Michael O’Connor, Sarah Cooney, Ellie Donovan & groups from Friends of the Dripsey Rivers

Jessica Mason, was the winner of the Outstanding Individual Award. Hannah Dare, nominator, in introducting Jessica mentioned her lifelong commitment to working for the environment especially as an educator and having recently taken this to another level of commitment by opening the first democratic school in the area, the West Cork Sudbury School. Caitríona Courtney, CEF Director, mentioned the significant contribution Jessica has made over the years to CEF and how impressive and inspiring she is to others. In her acceptance, Jessica mentioned how important it is to change the fundamentals in our society which includes the way we teach and allow children to learn. 

Kinsale Community School scooped the Public Sector Award and very well deserving as introduced by Klaus Harvey, especially for the way in which they are embedding sustainability and the SDGs across the curricula. Mick Kelly, CEF Director, congratulated the school on such impressive efforts which extend to the social and extra curricular aspects the school engages in. Principal, Fergal McCarthy, emphasised that the efforts are school wide across the staff and students but extending also into the community. 

Kinsale Community School new growing space, Fergal McCarthy, school radio, Klaus Harvey &
Mick Kelly.
Susan Toibin, Geraldine Brennan & Cillian Read, The Bike Shed.

Susan Toibin, nominator, introduced the Bike Shed who are the 1st winner of our new Circular Economy category. The business has built upon an ethos of no waste but as Susan explained after exhausting other avenues, Cillian and the team at the Bike Shed were the only business she could find to fix an issue with a bike purchased in the US. Geraldine Brennan, special guest presenter from Irish Manufacturing Research/ Circuléire said this is a great example of circularity at a local operational level which we need to see more of to truly build circularity into how we live. Cillian Read in his acceptance acknowledged the team effort with Gerry, Sebastiano and Ikre and how they all strive daily to reuse everything they can and even supply an artist in Kerry with parts they can’t reuse. 

The Commendation in this category was presented to anois. Nominator, John Hegarty, gave a very eloquent input on the importance of design in how we build, how design reflects nature and why the work of Frank O’Connor and Jude Sherry in highlighting the value and need to maintain existing buildings in use is so crucial. Geraldine Brennan reiterated the importance of the work of anois in raising the awareness that structures are also part of the circularity pathway. Frank and Jude referenced the support from Derelict Ireland and others including John in helping their cause to shine a light on the scale of dereliction and vacant properties and the need for greater action from Government and others to help address this wasted resource. 

Jude Sherry & Frank O’Connor, anois, John Hegarty
& Geraldine Brennan
Gerard Mullally with his wife Tara & children, sister Ann Michelle,
colleagues & friends Colin Sage, John Barry, Stephan Maier and Peter Kearns

The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award and the very well deserving recipient was Ger Mullally for his very significant contribution through both his academic work at UCC and his outreach activities in supporting sustainability. Colin Sage in introducing Ger highlighted how for the past 25 years or more he has been championing sustainability having set up the University wide sustainability module at UCC which was open to the wider public and was a great opportunity to widen the reach of building understanding of sustainable development. Peter Kearns joined us from a very early morning in Brisbane to congratualte Ger and to thank him for his work which has provided a great foundation for so many in this journey we jointly need to take toward a more sustainable future. 

2021 Award Winners Announced

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