The rapidly changing global circumstances over the last 2 months unfortunately led to the cancellation of the popular public online vote to help EOCA chose its first funded projects of 2020. However, following a record number of 120 applications late last year, the members’ private vote went ahead as planned over the last 2 weeks, presenting 6 shortlisted projects all looking for support for their vital conservation work. Despite lockdown and working from home, the largest number of EOCA members to date got involved in having their say.
The first three projects to be funded this year are:
Reforestation and Wildfire Protection in Borneo – planting 18,000 seedlings, maintaining 162 hectares of previously reforested sites, equipping and training Forest Guardians and community representatives to fight wildfires.
Ester de Cardós Valley, Spain – running a number of volunteer working weeks in the Catalan Pyrenees, maintaining and restoring local forests, including opening up grasslands and selective thinning of broad-leaved tree woodlands, to enhance the habitats of capercaillie and brown bear.
SYLVAE: Old Growth Forest Network in Auvergne, France – purchasing of a 50 hectare area of old growth forest, linking it with other previously purchased areas to protect it in perpetuity, contributing to the preservation and survival of this important habitat.
EOCA’s next funding round will begin on 1st June. In line with its current Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea focus, the association will be looking for plastic clean-up projects to help it reach its target of the clearing of 3000km of coastline, river, lake, mountain and trail from unwanted and potentially dangerous plastic pollution, by the end of the year.
Joint General Manager, Tanya Bascombe said “We were delighted with the response to our most recent members’ vote. It shows that not only is EOCA’s work still very much supported, but that, despite having many other priorities right now, our members still see looking after our wild spaces as vitally important. If anything, the COVID-19 crisis is serving to highlight even more how intricately linked our own health and wellbeing is with the health of our planet. Looking after our world and its natural environment must therefore be top of our priority list, and woven into our ‘new normal’ as this current crisis subsides.”