Your Chance to Vote for Conservation Funding!

Once again, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has received applications from conservation organizations with projects that require funding, and has narrowed them down to a shortlist. EOCA now asks for YOUR help in choosing which projects should receive funding!

The European Outdoor Conservation Association is a charitable organization, comprised of over 130 European outdoor industry members, that seeks to promote conservation across the world. Twice each year, it receives applications from projects and reaches out to the outdoor community to decide which ones should receive funding. For this Spring’s round, voting runs from 20th April to 4th May, and ties in with Earth Day on April 22nd and its theme “Invest in our Planet.”

In anticipation of the vote later this month, Suston presents a few of the finalists!

Community Loggerhead Conservation on Boa Vista Island

Cape Verde beaches host one of the world’s largest loggerhead turtle nesting populations, and the only one in the eastern Atlantic. The beaches of southeastern Boa Vista, host the highest densities of loggerhead nests, with an estimated 40,000 females visiting, meaning that conservation and protection of these beaches is crucial for this important rookery. The main threats to this population are poaching of nesting adult females, marine debris, low beach productivity and high predation of turtle hatchlings. CV Natura 2000 will run two field camps, combined with strengthening involvement of local communities. 15 local people will be recruited to carry out daily monitoring of beaches for tracks, nests, signs of turtles and hunting, and move some eggs to hatcheries. At least 10 clean ups of 15km of beaches from marine debris, 20 environmental education activities, training of staff and volunteers for monitoring and beach cleaning, development of educational materials and events for the local population will take place.


Restoring and Protecting Marungo Hill Area, Kenya

The Marungu Hills is a community conservancy in Taita Taveta County, popular with tourists and a key migratory corridor wildlife species like African elephant, giraffe and buffalo.  The area attracts hikers and climbers, but is threatened by illegal logging, charcoal burning, poaching and invasive species which have led to deterioration of the biodiversity and soil erosion.  This project will encourage adoption of sustainable practices like apiculture for alternative livelihoods and the establishment of tree nurseries.  20ha of invasive cactus will be uprooted and sold for biogas.  4,000 trees will be planted over 203 acres and 1000 bamboo saplings grown as a source of income to prevent further deforestation. The project will create one hiking trail, restore a picnic site, a cultural meeting point and campsites for visitors.


Protecting the endangered Siberian marmot, Mongolia

The Mongolian–Manchurian Grassland Ecoregion is characterized by extensive grasslands and categorized as critically endangered.  The change from a centralized to an open market in 1990s enabled continual growth of the cashmere market in Mongolia, causing a huge increase in cashmere goats, and a negative effect on the steppe system and its wildlife. Overgrazing and the increased presence of shepherds and dogs are threatening the globally endangered Siberian marmot, which is crucial for the survival of rare species such as the Pallas’s cat, which uses its dens.  This project will work with local nomadic families, who are already assisting Wildlife Initiative with monitoring by camera traps. Involving local herders will help to encourage them to move more often, reducing pressure on the habitat. They will also help translocating and re-establishing 10 marmot colonies in the area and fencing off areas around the new colonies to protect them from grazing and disturbance.  The project will also work with the herders to introduce alternative livelihoods such as guiding in climbing and hiking areas.


Protecting and Conserving Kenya’s Greenheart Tree

This project will support conservation action for the threatened Kenya Greenheart Tree on the northern outskirts of the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. This indigenous species of evergreen tree is incredibly strong and highly sought after for timber, firewood and medicinal purposes and widely collected by traditional healers. Land-use changes and unsustainable harvesting means the species is now threatened and offers less green food for elephants and other key animal species; less leafy cover for reptiles, insects, and other shade-loving creatures; and rampant soil erosion during flooding seasons. Marula flies and wasps are parasitic and impact natural seed viability. Great Plains Foundation (GPF) aims to propagate 10 000 Kenya Greenheart trees in its nursery, planting half in eroded areas in conjunction with visitors touring the area and distributing the other half to traditional healers/community projects. The project will hold nine community planting/educational programmes and host two workshops with traditional healers to teach sustainable harvesting methods.


Critical Habitat Restoration for the Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Ecuador

Credit: Maxime Aliaga

The Chocó rainforests of northwestern Ecuador are incredibly biodiverse, but less than 5% remain due to deforestation. The long-wattled umbrellabird, a local flagship species, is endangered due to habitat loss. Male umbrellabirds gather in display sites called leks, attracting naturalists from across the world. FCAT manages a 550 ha reserve that serves as a unique hub for local communities, outdoor enthusiasts, researchers, and students to engage with the exceptional nature it protects. FCAT recently purchased 42 ha of land that had an active umbrellabird lek until it was deforested 2-3 years ago. Umbrellabirds remain in the area but have not yet reunited to form a viable lek. The project aims to restore this area to native rainforest, benefitting umbrellabirds and other endangered species. 5,000 seedlings will be planted using an innovative restoration technique known as ‘applied nucleation’ (planting interspersed islands of trees), and local biologists will scientifically monitor effectiveness. FCAT will host workshops to build capacity among local residents as natural history guides to host visitors at the reserve.


Feel Good at “Talgud”: Practical Nature Conservation, Estonia

In Estonian, ‘Talgud’ describes unpaid, large-scale physical work carried out in groups, which ELF has successfully implemented through its conservation camps with volunteers for 21 years. This project aims to involve 100-150 volunteers over 10 camps at 5 island and mainland locations popular with hikers and kayakers to protect endangered Estonian flora and fauna. Working in semi-natural habitats, brushwood and invasive species will be removed to restore open landscapes. Brushwood will be removed from the coastal areas of Ruhnu and Rammu islands, providing feeding space in coastal meadows for the baltic dunlin and, pines, left over from the Soviet Union’s reforestation campaign of the 1980s will be removed on Rammu Island to protect black crowberry moor, which only grows on a few North Estonian islands. Cowpens will be built on Osmussaar island to ensure appropriate grazing on alvars and protect wild orchid habitat .  Finally, brushwood will be removed from the banks of Lusika and Piiruoja creeks to help black storks gain access to feeding sites whilst nesting.


Cast your vote HERE between April 20 – May 4


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