WATERFORD’S Copper Coast has been shortlisted for an award in this year’s ‘Get Involved’ competition which is a sustainable communities initiative developed by 51 local newspapers throughout Ireland.
The Munster Express was delighted to partner with the Copper Coast Geopark as part of this year’s ‘Get Involved’ project.
Local newspapers are in a great position to coordinate local sustainability projects as they have the best interests of communities at heart – and The Munster Express deemed the Copper Coast Geopark to be a very suitable entry for this competition.
The main sponsor of ‘Get Involved’ 2015 is the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
In addition, Clann Credo, the Social Investment Fund, is also supporting this worthy initiative by sponsoring a new category this year – the ‘Community Impact Prize’.
This category highlights how outstanding community based projects meet local and community needs in an innovative and collaborative way.
The Copper Coast Geopark and The Munster Express have been shortlisted in this category.
Articles relating to the Copper Coast Geopark, which featured in The Munster Express throughout the past year, have been examined by the judging panel which is chaired by environmentalist Duncan Stewart.
In total, six projects from around the country have been shortlisted and the category has now been opened out to an online vote.
A prize fund of €5,000 is up for grabs for the top projects: 1st €3,000, 2nd €1,500, 3rd €500.
Competing with the Copper Coast Geopark are Athy Men’s Shed Barrow Cot Boats (Kildare Nationalist); Boomerang Enterprises (Cork Evening Echo); Loughmore Tea Rooms (Tipperary Star); Moyhill Community Garden (The Clare Champion); and Siopa Na Feirme (The Kerryman).
The online voting commenced on Friday 5th February and will close on Tuesday 23rd February.
The Copper Coast Geopark represented an ideal partner for The Munster Express for this year’s ‘Get Involved’ project.
Since its inception in 2000, the European Geoparks Network has emphasised the growth and promotion of geo-tourism as a means of contributing to the sustainable development of Geopark territories.
This form of special interest tourism is now regarded as an emerging global phenomenon with an educative function.
What sets the Copper Coast Geopark apart from other Global Geoparks is that it is a social enterprise managed by volunteers, many of whom are local and whose vision is for a thriving and sustainable community in the Copper Coast.
They aim to help create employment and enterprise opportunities to generate economic develop through sustainable tourism and supporting local arts, crafts and food producers etc.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Copper Coast Geopark is the community collaboration which the project fosters in the local villages of Annestown, Boatstrand, Bonmahon, Dunhill, Fenor, Kill and Stradbally.
This community collaboration is particularly evident through the innovative ‘Networks for Nature’ project, which aims to educate schools and empower local communities, Tidy Towns groups and schools to appreciate and enjoy the benefits of biodiversity habitats.
The Geopark’s ‘Networks for Nature’ project will help strengthen links between the seven villages to share ideas, and create further opportunities to work together.
Overall, 2015 was a hugely positive year for the Copper Coast Geopark.
The awarding of UNESCO designation now means that the Geopark has the same status as a World Heritage Site.
In 1972 UNESCO signed the World Heritage Convention which paved the way for the establishment of a list of World Heritage Sites.
A vote at the General Conference in Paris in November created a new site designation, the UNESCO Global Geopark.
There was a huge welcome across Waterford to the awarding of this designation for the Copper Coast Geopark which recognises the importance of geological heritage across the world.
The Copper Coast Geopark is certainly going from strength to strength and further recognition through the Clann Credo ‘Community Impact Prize’ would ensure that this success story continues.
So, get voting and help ensure that Waterford obtains at least one All-Ireland title in 2016!
To vote for the Copper Coast Geopark in the Clann Credo ‘Community Impact’ award category, visit www.get-involved.ie/voting.