EUR€125,000 awarded to international projects

From the launch of the EOG Association for Conservation the focus has always been to generate enough money to enable the funding of as many key international conservation projects as possible. In its first year the Association has been able to give EUR€125,000 to five diverse and exciting projects. These projects cover many different aspects of conservation from the affects of climate change in Europe’s Mont Blanc Massif and protecting wet land biodiversity in Ireland to ensuring a sustainable form of tourism in Nepal.

“As a new initiative from the outdoor industry in Europe we have been delighted by the constant positive response and by the amount that the Association has raised in its first twelve months, thanks mainly to the support of the members and the outdoor sector. By maintaining the growth of membership and new fundraising initiatives we hope to see the amount available to support conservation projects continue grow. To keep on growing we need you to join us, to help show that the outdoor industry is united in its determination to protect the natural environment for ours and future generations.’ Hervé Chabert, President.

The first five projects to receive funding:

proMontBlanc – France, Italy, Switzerland
proMontBlanc is an umbrella organisation with the aim of protecting the Mont Blanc Massif. It is a multinational organisation covering Italy, France and Switzerland. The project has been awarded EUR€25,000 in funds to allow it to upgrade an indicator list, collect and process data and publish reports. The indicators will help to measure environmental and sustainability indicators in the Mont Blanc Massif. The 54 indicators will gradually be extended to 80 in total and will measure such issues as glacier condition, biodiversity, forests, ski lifts, tourism and vehicle traffic. The data will be collected in France, Italy and Switzerland and will be processed via a database. An international scientific committee will publish their analysis every three years.

We asked proMontBlanc what the funding meant to them as an organisation, Elio Riccerand explains that, “proMontBlanc is an association that brings together all the main Italian, Swiss and French NGOs whose work is dedicated to the protection of Mont Blanc and promoting sustainable development in the surrounding area. The EOG Association for Conservation’s decision to award us the grant will make our project “The Thermometer of Mont Blanc” a reality. The project involves utilising 80 indicators of the state of Mont Blanc and the surrounding area that covers 15 municipal districts in three different countries”.

IPCC (Irish Peatland Conservation Council) – Ireland
The Irish Peatland Conservation Council has been awarded a grant to set up a programme to protect an area of the Lullymore West Bog which is currently under threat. The site is a breeding ground for the endangered Marsh Fritillary butterfly and is one of only a few left in Ireland with a population of the species. In addition to the Marsh Fritillary, the site is one of important wet land biodiversity and is valuable as an educational centre for peatland environments. The project has been awarded just under EUR€21,000 to re-establish the natural drainage system and protect the area by establishing boundaries, creating dedicated paths, gates and signage etc. A scientific analysis of the ecosystem will be used to structure the project which will be managed by the Council, with direct work being undertaken by volunteers. In addition there is a strong educational element both for visitors and the local population and the project aims to leave a lasting heritage for both wildlife and for recreational visitors.

Travel for Others Onlus – Italy, Nepal
The Travel for Others Onlus project has been set up to develop education, health, training, employment and environment in the Thame Valley in Nepal. This is an area just off the main tourist route but one that is increasingly vulnerable to increased trekking pressure and the changes this brings. The key purpose is to modify the impact of tourism on the area by changing the attitudes of visitors, to allow the project to succeed a grant of EUR€27,000 has been awarded. The intention is to do this by producing a bio-tourism guide to the area. The second objective is to undertake environmental activities in the area with a local teacher and the third objective is to train local Sherpa’s to guide tourists in the area in order to manage the benefit of tourism in a way that was not done in the more heavily visited Khumbu Valley area.

John Muir Trust – Scotland
The John Muir Trust aims to raise money to purchase areas of land that are of value for their habitat and recreational value and then to manage these lands for the benefit of the inhabitants, visitors and for the wildlife and habitat. The mountain of Schiehallion in Scotland (UK) counts up to 20,000 ascents each year which have caused erosion of the footpath to the summit. The project has received a grant of just under EUR€22,000 to allow the Trust to resurface this footpath using locally quarried stone. Volunteers will carry out the work with leadership from the Trust and construction workers. New information boards will be erected to inform visitors of the environmental issues and the work of the Trust. The project output is expected to provide a lasting solution to the problem of erosion in this area whilst maintaining full access for walkers and climbers.

“The John Muir Trust is delighted to receive this funding which will contribute towards conservation and environmental awareness on our Schiehallion property in Highland Perthshire. We also greatly appreciate the fact that the efforts of the John Muir Trust in safeguarding and conserving areas of wild land in the UK have been recognised by the EOG Association for Conservation, a group predominantly made up of businesses that supply outdoor products to those that enjoy and appreciate the wild land that we aim to protect and enhance. It’s great to see groups like this putting something back to the wild spaces they depend on.” Andrew Campbell, acting Director, John Muir Trust commented on hearing that they had been awarded funding.

Phenoclim Project – France
In autumn 2004, The Research Centre for Alpine Ecosystems (CREA) launched a new research programme called ‘Phenoclim’. This project measures changes in the seasonal emergence of various plants. The specific dates serving as indicators for climate change within the Alpine region. They are monitored with the objective of assessing the long term impact of climatic variations on vegetation. The project maintains 65 sample plots in recreational areas in altitudes from 250 to 2150m. With the help of 86 voluntary and professional observers the plots are sampled seven times per year. More than 1,000 participants have attended the accompanying educational programme. The new project funding of EUR€30,000 will allow for expansion of the information, incorporating more data, e.g. more sample plots and satellite data. In addition the aim is to attract more observers in areas that are currently under-represented by the general public. And finally the project plans to foster an environmental education programme covering the Alps and its population.

The EOG Association for Conservation – Working to protect the outdoor environment for future generations.