Who will be our 2017 Eco Hero?
Nominations have closed for the 12th annual Manly Environment Centre’s Eco Award.
The prestigious Eco Award gives community members a chance to nominate their 'unsung environmental hero' - someone who deserves acknowledgment for their outstanding environmental and conservation work to protect our unique natural environment.
Last year's Eco Award was won by Sharnie Connell who has campaigned for the protection of marine life for many years, including spreading the message that “Healthy Oceans Need Sharks,” as well as working to rescue distressed and injured birds and animals.
Other winners include Peter Garrett in 2006 for his long-standing support of environmental issues and 2010 winner Brendan Donohoe, president of the Northern Beaches Surfrider Foundation, who has inspired many over the years to work alongside him in the pursuit of clean water and beach conservation.
The winner receives an original art work in addition to public recognition of their work and achievements. The awards will be presented at the end of March.
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This year's big eco-festival was a beauty.
Blue sky weather, hundreds of entries in our kids' art competition, a samba band and lots of people dressed in shark costumes.
There was a smoking ceremony, great speeches and three fabulous sound stages.
The art tent was bulging with bright coloured schoolkids' artworks, with just enough room left for some local eco-artists.
There was face (and arm) painting, a Batty about Bats play for kids, and dozens of environmental stalls.
Of course we had the Manly Environment Centre Science Lab, where you get the chance to look closer - down a microscope, or by taking part in a citizen scientist survey. Next door were Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay, the volunteers who look after Manly's marine wonderland. Then there was the Aboriginal Heritage Centre, beach cleanup groups Two Hands and Take3, and a creative 'scavenging' stall, where people collected rubbish and got tokens to exchange for donated clothing items.
And this year, the event spread beyond Manly, with a pollution-fighting Ocean Action Pod at Dee Why, and a big beach clean-up day at Avalon.
Big crowds everywhere, and particularly at our Manly oceanfront home, made the day our best and biggest festival ever.
Thanks to all the MEC volunteers for all your work and Northern Beaches Council for their support.
Images: The MEC Lab, Take3 stall, kids' artworks, Aboriginal Heritage stall.