No repro fee 21-11-2017 Picture shows Proinsias O'Tuama, Ballynamona Clean Coasts group, Co Cork who won Outstanding Award 2017; at An Taisce's Ocean Hero Awards 2017.Pic:Naoise Culhane-no fee

St Colman’s Community College Midleton are the An Taisce Ocean Hero School of the Year for an unprecedented third year in a row.
Proinsias Ó Tuama and students from St Colman’s collected the Ocean Hero School of the Year Award 2018 in Dublin on Tuesday 21 November.
The Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards recognise the invaluable work done by Clean Coasts volunteers to protect Ireland’s beautiful coastline
Projects including cleaning Ballynamona beach near Ballycotton helped see off 3,700 other Irish schools and landed the Midleton Secondary school, school of the year, with Proinsias O’Tuama and clean coast Ballynamona receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award.
Mr Ó Tuama who led a team of almost 100 students from Transition year said participation in the award has “sown the seeds of a real sense of responsibility for the future, one the teenagers can bring with them into adulthood. Challenging the students to keep the environment that they live in, healthier and cleaner, promoting social responsibility. “
The secondary School teacher added the students were shocked to see the type of litter that washes up on our shores. “Over 5 tonnes of rubbish was collected in total from a 1.2km stretch of beach, while learning the importance of protecting East Cork’s marine ecology.
The haul collected over two separate clean up days represents 254 bags of rubbish, a Chinese fridge and 114 tyres, representing more than 360 hours of labour. The equivalent of one man working 45 days straight for eight hours a day. ” he said.
Each School submitted a portfolio of their work before the winner was selected.
Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager with An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit said “Over the past 11 years the Clean Coasts programme’s Ocean Hero Awards have really brought to the fore the remarkable work and wonderful coastal celebration events that Clean Coasts volunteers have been involved in along the Irish coastline. We hope this year is no different as we look forward to receiving inspirational nominations that show the true dedication of these coastal custodians.”
The School said the school were “delighted” with the win. In 2016 over 500,000 pieces of litter were picked from the Irish Coast by groups like that of St Colman’s College. The Ocean Hero Awards are about celebrating these Coastal custodians, while inspiring others to join the movement for litter free seas.

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