The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderick O’Gorman TD, has launched the Dublin Bay Biosphere Award.
This new three-part programme was developed by Scouting Ireland and the Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership. Children who successfully complete the programme will earn a badge which can be sown onto scout uniforms, school bags or clothing in recognition of their efforts to protect local wildlife.
The Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere covers an area of over 300km2, from Howth to Killiney, with over 300,000 people living within its boundaries. Biospheres are recognised for their internationally important wildlife, but are also places to be shared by people and nature.
The Dublin Bay Biosphere Award is a call to all young people to "get outside, explore, learn, and take action to protect our biosphere".
Minister O’Gorman said: “The Biosphere Award encourages young people to experience and learn about nature, to appreciate its value and to take action to help to protect it for generations to come. This can be achieved through a range of activities including citizen science, nature conservation and awareness raising, making it open and inclusive for all.”
Colm Kavanagh, Programme Development Officer for Scouting Ireland, said: "The biosphere is a place where people can connect with nature and it opens up exciting possibilities for young people to experience, engage and undertake action to care for and preserve. Scouting Ireland is delighted to work in partnership with Dublin Bay Biosphere to provide an action based badge that everyone, Scouts and the general public, can earn in recognition of their actions to protect and preserve this special place."
Dean Eaton, Biosphere Coordinator, said: ”UNESCO Biospheres are places shared by people and nature, they are places to learn about wildlife and how best to protect it, they are also places to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately some people cause problems by disturbing wildlife, trampling plants and leaving litter. But by understanding these issues we can all work together to protect our beautiful biosphere."