TidyTowns Special Award Winners 2017

Congratulations to Emyvale TidyTowns group from County Monaghan who are the overall winners in the Waters and Communities TidyTowns Special Awards 2017. This is the first year of this award and judging by the number of applications, 59 in total, it will be a regular feature in the TidyTowns calendar.

The Waters and Communities Award recognises communities who are taking positive steps to raise awareness and appreciation of their local rivers, lakes, streams, canals and coastal areas. The award is sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland (responsible for managing the inland fisheries and sea angling sectors); Waterways Ireland (responsible for the management of inland navigable waterways) and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (promoting public participation in the protection and management of our natural waters).

Emyvale TidyTowns group were chosen as winners for their efforts at Emy Lough and river where they have been busy recruiting volunteers and working with Monaghan County Council to clean up litter and dumping. ‘Raising awareness’ is the motto of Emyvale TidyTowns and in collaboration with Emy and District Anglers together they are successfully running a number of local awareness projects, such as: a Citizen Science project monitoring water quality in Emy Lough; a water bottle and silt traps awareness project; and a wildflower survey of Emy Lough.

This year they upcycled timber pallets to make new bee, bat and bird boxes. Some members of the TidyTowns group are also involved with the River Blackwater Catchment Trust and sit on the Steering Committee of the ‘Our Water Our Community’ initiative headed up by Dundalk IT.

Judging the Award
All 59 entries were assessed by a panel of judges appointed by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office. The judges assessed each application for initiatives undertaken during 2016 only and based on the following criteria:
1. Awareness raising by the community group of their local water body (eg. clean up, development of amenity area(s), biodiversity information such as signage, information leaflets, habitat surveys, bird boxes, outdoor classrooms, developing of safe access, control of invasive species, instream measures, promotion of angling etc).
2. Involvement by the wider community in the project (eg. schools, landowners or other groups).
3. Engagement with the Local Authority, Local Development Company or any public agencies in developing the project.
4. Long term environmental benefits of the project to the local community.
5. Additional information and future plans.
A total prize fund of €7,000 was divided into four regional winners and four runners up, with an additional overall winner selected from the four regions. The results of the judging panel were as follows:

Runners Up by Region €500 each
Midlands & West Baltrasna Boreen Biodiversity Group, Co. Westmeath.
North West & West Culdaff River Community Angling Group, Co. Donegal.
South East Cheekpoint & Faithleg Development Group, Co. Waterford.
Midwest & South West Castletownroche TidyTowns Committee, Co. Cork.

Winners Category €1,000 each
Midlands & east Dodder Action Group, Dublin.
North West & West Emyvale TidyTowns, Co. Monaghan.
South East The Friends of St. Johns River, Co. Waterford.
Midwest & South West Glounthaune TidyTowns, Co. Cork.

Overall Winner and an additional €1,000
Emyvale TidyTowns, Co. Monaghan.

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer” Teresa Guillemets.

From L to R: Donnachadh Byrne, IFI; Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring T.D.; Enda Fields, Emyvale TidyTowns; Sheevaun Thompson, LAWCO; & Rosanne Nolan, Waterways Ireland.
Emyvale TidyTowns group
Emyvale TidyTowns group litter pick up at Emy Lough

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