The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has launched the first of its two annual public online votes to help it choose which conservation projects to support, and will to midday (GMT+1) on 11th April.

To launch its new Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea focus, this funding round only highlights projects which tackle plastic pollution – involving mass clean-up events, education and campaigns to change people’s behaviours and attitudes to plastic waste.

Plastic pollution is found in mountains, around crags, along and in rivers and lakes, forests and coastlines impacting disastrously on wildlife and blighting every type of habitat and landscape enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts. Much of the plastic waste will find its way to lakes and rivers and ultimately end up in the oceans. 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed every year through entanglement or by ingesting plastic litter. Tackling the problems presented by plastic waste already in the environment AND reducing the amount of waste that gets there in the future are both vitally important.

This year there are 14 projects working in 16 different countries all looking for funding. All have been through the rigorous EOCA selection criteria overseen by its Scientific Advisors, and are all worthy of support. The projects have been divided into 3 categories: Nature (projects focused on protecting and/or restoring habitats), Ocean (projects restoring beaches, coastlines, and ocean habitats) and Mountain (conservation of high altitude habitats). As always, projects all address a threat to the habitat, engage and benefit local communities, and have a link and relevance to outdoor enthusiasts. EOCA is asking for people to vote once in each category and the project with the highest number of votes per category will receive the funding they requested. The winners will be announced soon after the 11th April on EOCA’s social media pages. Following the public vote, a private vote for EOCA members will be held to choose further projects to fund.

To see which projects are looking for funding and to get involved in the vote, please follow this link here: outdoorconservation.eu/project-info.cfm?pageid=19

About EOCA

The European Outdoor Conservation Association is an initiative from the European outdoor industry with the objective of protecting the wild areas it cares so passionately about.

Designed to harness the incredible power of the outdoor industry and to raise money to donate to grassroots conservation groups, the European Outdoor Conservation Association is funded by membership and other fundraising activities within the outdoor industry. 100% of membership fees go to the support of projects. Membership is open to anyone that can demonstrate involvement in the European outdoor industry.

From January 2015, a select group of ‘Sustaining Members’ have pledged their support to EOCA by committing to fund the sustainable growth of the organisation with an extra €10,000 per year for the next three years, over and above their annual membership fee. This money will be used to finance the running of the Association and support its sustainable growth, also enabling a move to 2 funding rounds per year.

The current EOCA Sustaining Members are Pertex, KEEN Footwear, Nikwax, ISPO (Messe München), and the European Outdoor Group (EOG), which is also the Founder Member of the Association.