Project Announcement 2011

Release date: 15 July 2011

And here it is!  The news you have been waiting for - all 10 projects (which is a record in itself) that EOCA will be supporting in the 2011/12 funding round.
Oxygen bottles waiting for removal at Everest Base Camp
Oxygen bottles waiting for removal at Everest Base Camp

2011 is going to be a hard act to follow! Following nearly 50 nominations for projects in 2010, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) received an unprecedented 66 nominations from its members for conservation projects in 2011. Following this, 31,000 consumers across Europe got involved in helping to choose those that would eventually be funded. Not content to stop there, and with help from one single member, who is funding 3 projects in their entirety, the total number of projects supported this year will be a record-breaking 10, in 7 different countries. This brings the support the outdoor industry has given to conservation in 5 years to 860,000 Euros - a giant leap forward to putting its first 1 million Euros into conservation by 2012!!

Following a successful pilot project last year with Trail Magazine in the UK, EOCA set up partnerships with 4 national magazines across Europe, to encourage members of the public to get involved by choosing which projects should be supported in the Association’s 2001/12 funding round. In conjunction with Trail (UK), Sport Partner, Bike & Trekking and Lift magazines (The Netherlands), Alpin (Germany) and National Geographic Germany, shortlisted projects were showcased both in the magazines and online, and the general public were then asked to go to the magazines’ websites to vote. And vote they did, in their thousands! 31,036 to be precise!

This process showed what the outdoor industry is doing in terms of conservation, but also highlighted how many consumers care about nature conservation and are passionate enough about it to get involved.

Breathtaking Scenery in Iceland.  Photo: Sigmundur Einarsson
Breathtaking Scenery in Iceland. Photo: Sigmundur Einarsson

Cochamamba Project, Bolivia (nominated by Marmot)
This project aims to halt the encroaching deforestation of the Bolivian rainforest, whilst at the same time providing an income and incentive for local farmers to care for and replant, as well as harvest seeds from a selection of native trees on their own land.

Lake District Path Repair, UK (nominated by Lowe Alpine)
Fix the Fells will carry out vital work on two of England’s most iconic mountain routes - Striding Edge, and Scafell Pike. The work will safeguard delicate high plateau ecologies and ensure that these stunning walks continue to be safe and beautiful, by repairing path erosion, rerouting paths, protecting rare and threatened species, and engaging volunteers.

Yorkshire Three Peaks Route, UK (nominated by Snugpak, in conjunction with Trail Magazine)
The Three Peaks Challenge is a very popular 24 mile walk in Yorkshire Dales. Through this project, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust will create a better route for part of this circular route. By doing this, it will also protect and restore an important peat habitat.

Saving Mount Everest, Nepal (nominated by Bergans, in conjunction with Alpin Magazine)
Tourism in the Mount Everest area has brought with it the problem of large volumes of rubbish being left along trekking and climbing routes. This project aims to remove 10 tonnes of rubbish from the mountain in the spring of 2011, and, working with local partners, implement a structured waste management plan for the whole region by the end of 2012.

Mountain Wilderness - Cleaning up in the Alps, France (nominated by Petzl Foundation)
Mountain Wilderness will remove military detritus from the Ubaye Valley in the Mercantour National Park, and abandoned ski lifts from Montagne de Lure in the Alpes de Haute Provence, thus clearing hazards to local biodiversity including ground nesting birds, chamois and Ibex, and providing safe access for agricultural and recreational users.

10,000 hectares of Wilderness, Turkey (nominated by Bluesign, chosen by readers of Lift, Bike& Trekking and Outdoor Magazines)
The PAN Parks Foundation aims to bring 1 million hectares of European wilderness under recognised protection by 2015. Through this project, it plans to safeguard 10,000 hectares of wilderness in the Kure Mountain National Park in Turkey, protecting its untouched nature, extensive old-growth forests and variety of endemic and iconic wildlife, whilst developing sustainable tourism.

Reducing plastics campaign in France, Belgium, Spain (in conjunction with National Geographic Germany)
Through this project, Surfrider Foundation Europe will work to reduce the number of plastic bags used in Europe, due to the damage they cause in the environment, in particular to wildlife in the world’s oceans. Volunteers and members of Surfrider will use stickers, a website and a smartphone application to change the habit of consumers and to ultimately reduce production of plastic bags.

Another exciting development for 2011 was the proposal by new member, Original Buff, S.A. to fund some of the Association’s projects in their entirety. Committing to put 1% of the proceeds from Merino Wool Buff® into something that would really make a difference to the environment, three projects were chosen from the shortlist, giving the funding that EOCA will to put into conservation in 2011 a massive 30% boost. The chosen projects are:

Sustainable Tourism in Iceland (nominated by Deuter, funded by Original Buff, S.A.)
Hot springs, glaciers, vast volcanic landscapes, and a variety of natural phenomena and rarities in Iceland are major attractions for hikers. This project will promote sustainable tourism by setting up code of conduct for tourists visiting geothermal areas, and will work with tourist bodies to provide educational material to domestic and foreign visitors.

Conservation and Restoration in Snowdonia, Wales (nominated by Mountain Equipment, funded by Original Buff, S.A.)
Working to ensure that the Snowdonia National Park remains in great condition as a home for native flora and fauna, and as a top outdoor visitor destination, this project will provide opportunities for people to participate in practical conservation work, control and eradicate non native invasive plant species, and maintain and repair the most heavily used footpaths

Wild Ennerdale – Woodland and Red Squirrel Conservation, UK (nominated by Berghaus, funded by Original Buff, S.A.)
The ancient oak and birch woodlands of the Ennerdale valley in the Lake District, Cumbria, are rich in species including ferns, mosses and the threatened native red squirrel. This project will protect and expand these woodlands, protect the native red squirrels, and provide opportunities for people to share these special woodlands.

To find out more about any or all of these projects, please head for the project pages here!

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I am delighted to have the opportunity to support and promote an organisation which makes a real difference in supporting conservation in the great outdoor environments.
Es Tresidder, EOCA Ambassador and Mountain Equipment Sponsored Athlete