Ireland’s greenest teens were honoured today for their innovative environmental projects at the 18th edition of the Young Environmentalist Awards.
Over 80 groups were shortlisted from over 285 entries for the finals which took place in Mansion House, Co Dublin this afternoon.
The shortlisted groups showcased their projects in front of an expert judging panel in the hope of winning awards across 10 environmental categories. A number of special awards were also dished out.
Winners included pioneering projects for the creation of vibrant bio-diverse habitats for bees; the design of a new, sustainable school, as well the creation and development of micro-bead free, organic beauty products.
Bailieborough Community School, Co Cavan, won the Senior Biodiversity Award for a project to create, construct and design an outdoor garden. The project also looked to re-establish a rich biodiversity in their community following recent deforestation in the area.
Let It Bee, a project from students at Loreto College, Co Dublin scooped both the Junior Overall award and Sustainability Award. Students build a habitat for bees and other insects and raised awareness about the decline in bee population due to chemical sprays.
The young team behind the project also planted a garden, organised a concert and a drama and provided flower seeds for parents and Fingal County Council.
Blakestown Community School’s ‘Recycling Rangers’ project won the People’s Choice Awards for a project to increase recycling at the school and the local community.
The annual awards programme is run by ECO-UNESCO, Ireland’s Environmental Education and Youth Organisation working to conserve the environment and empower young people.
The awards provide 40,000 young people from across the country an opportunity to take action and raise awareness on pressing environmental issues in their own community, according to Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNSCO.
“The Young Environmentalists Awards are a celebration of the commitment of young Irish people in taking action on important environmental issues on both global and local levels,” she said.
“I am extremely impressed by the exceptionally high standard of the action projects, and by the high level of passion and motivation of these young people to raise environmental awareness among their peers, their schools, youth groups and the community as a whole.”
Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr, who launched the awards, said that it was great to support young people taking an “active, positive and responsible role in society”.
Also attending, Minister for Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten praised the participants for “creating projects that meet the environmental challenges of the present and the future”.
“They have designed and implemented a wide range of innovative projects that are of immense benefit to their communities and the wider society,” he added.