Twice a year conservation organizations all over the world can apply for funding from EOCA. In March, six new winning projects were chosen and will receive €150 000 Euro in total.
EOCA stands for the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and was founded in 2006 as a way for the outdoor industry to help conserve wild places and ecosystems for future generations. Today, EOCA has over 130 members – nearly all the larger brands on the market as well as several of the smaller and medium sized ones. Through their financial support, EOCA has been able to fund conservation projects for over two million Euros over the years.
This not-for-profit association is managed by Tanya Bascombe and Catherine Savidge from their office in Kendal, close to the Lake District in Great Britain.
“Membership is open to any company operating within the outdoor industry. One hundred per cent of membership fees go directly into the conservation projects”, says Tanya Bascombe.
The locations of these projects are not restricted to any geographical boundaries. Up to now, EOCA has funded 84 projects in 41 different countries, Catherine Savidge explains.
“Thus far projects have included clean-up operations on a mountain peak in Kyrgyzstan, the protection of brown bears in northern Spain, and the saving of an ancient forest in Sweden from logging, and more.”
The winning projects are the result of a long and rigorous process. Non-profit organisations can apply to EOCA for grants of up to €30 000. The projects must protect a threatened species or habitat and have a link to outdoor enthusiasts. Also, the project must involve hands-on conservation work. Twice a year, Tanya Bascombe, Catherine Savidge and EOCA’s Board of Directors together with a team of scientific advisors creates a shortlist of projects, in three different categories: nature, outdoor and alpine.
“In March and October, we then have a members vote and a public vote to decide winners in each category. The public vote is held in conjunction with a range of national magazines throughout Europe”, says Tanya Bascombe and continues:
“In the last vote, in March 2017, over 52 million people were reached through this process and many thousand of votes were cast!”
Funded projects 2017
Six new projects were chosen to receive funding from EOCA after the last voting process, in March 2017. Three projects via an online public vote in collaboration with leading outdoor and nature magazines around Europe and another three projects chosen by EOCA Members in their vote.
1. A New Ecotourism in Thailand
Project goal: To return captive elephants from tourism camps to forests, where their Mahout owners will be supported in protecting the forest and earning an income from ecotourism.
Photo: Peter Yuen
2. Conserve and Restore Habitats for Otters, Romania
Project goal: To protect otters, restore habitats and educate communities and bikers.
Photo: Bouroș George
3. Chittagong Hill Tracts Programme, Bangladesh
Project goal: To protect forest and wildlife, through agreements with local communities and the provision of educational resources and markets for craft products.
Photo: Chittagong Hill Tracts Programme
4. Cleaning Up River Mulde, Germany
Project goal: To clean 2 km of river from rubbish and raise awareness of the issue locally.
Photo: Cleaning Up River Molde
5. Restoring the Peatland of the Flow Country, Scotland
Project goal: To remove a commercial plantation of trees to restore a blanket bog.
Photo: Eleanor Bentall
6. EMAP – Elephant Monitoring and Anti-Poaching, Kenya
Project goal: To combat elephant poaching and conflict through extensive monitoring with community members.
Photo: Tsavo Conservation Group