Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme wins Eco-Group category at the Outsider Awards
3rd February 2023– The Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme has been awarded the Eco-Group of the Year in the annual Outsider Awards 2022, which took place on the 1st of February in The Sugar Club in Dublin.
Organised by The Outsider Magazine and its sponsors, the annual awards celebrate the inspirational achievements, milestones and contributions that have taken place in the Irish outdoor community over the past year. This year, the Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme were the winners of the the Eco-Group of the Year Award, sponsored by Clean Coasts’ #2minutebeachclean and #2minutestreetclean. This award recognises the environmental efforts taken by a community group to improve its region and to promote environmental practices and messaging.
The Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme increases public awareness of the importance of care and respect for the local natural heritage. It empowers positive behavioural change and seeks to develop outdoor recreation skills so that locals and visitors can enjoy and protect Croagh Patrick and its surrounds. Funded by The Heritage Council’s Stewardship Fund, the ambassador programme is the first of its kind on Croagh Patrick, and is a collaborative effort of the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group, Leave No Trace Ireland, Mayo County Council and the Murrisk Development Association.
Following the recruitment and training of 12 local volunteer ambassadors last summer, the Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme was officially launched in November 2022. Over 120,000 people climb Croagh Patrick annually, and the ambassadors are on the mountain throughout the year, engaging with visitors about Leave No trace Principles on Croagh Patrick and promoting the new path developed by the Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration Project’s path team, led by Matt McConway.
Ged Dowling, one of volunteer ambassadors, was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the ambassador team. “Thank you to the Outsider and Clean Coasts for this fantastic award. Being part of the programme has been so rewarding in itself, and we have engaged with some incredible people on the mountain. Each person has their own motivations to climb the Reek and want to do their best to protect it while they’re making their way to the summit. Visitors have been really receptive to the messages we’re sharing with them; to use and enjoy the new path, to be considerate of the mountain’s landowners, and to Love This Place and Leave No Trace on Croagh Patrick”.
Leave No Trace Ireland’s CEO, Maura Kiely said the award is a testament to the contribution of the ambassador team. “This well-deserved award recognises the steadfast efforts of the Croagh Patrick Ambassadors. In a short space of time, the ambassadors have made a huge impact, both on Croagh Patrick and in the local community in Murrisk. They have been instrumental in raising awareness of protecting the mountain’s ecosystem, all by positively engaging with mountain users and sharing the simple actions that they can take to protect the mountain. Congratulations to the whole Ambassador Programme team on this amazing accomplishment”.
Martin Keating from the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group said, “The Volunteer Croagh Patrick Ambassadors have been invaluable in their contribution so far, to ensure sustainable access to Croagh Patrick. They directly contribute to providing a high-quality experience for all visitors, sharing their local knowledge, and helping to ensure that the achievements of the Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration Project will be sustained into the future. I congratulate the ambassadors on this achievement, and look forward to their continued work in the year ahead”.
The Outsider Awards are hosted by Outsider Magazine, and were made possible by the official 2022 sponsors, Sport Ireland, Leave No Trace Ireland, Craghoppers, Salewa, Clean Coasts #2MinuteBeachClean and #2MinuteStreetClean, Hiiker, Collen Construction and Firehouse Pizza. The full list of winners is available on Outsider.ie.
Learn more about the Craogh Patrick Programme in this video series: