The European Outdoor Conservation Association (Eoca) received applications from 131 conservation organizations for its autumn funding round. For the third consecutive year, the association held two rounds for the allocation of a total of €300,000 this year, which will support conservation projects with a link to outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.

From the 131 applications made for the autumn round, five projects were selected to receive funding, through a public vote and a members' vote. These five projects were: Surfers Against Sewage Coastal Environmental Regional Reps, U.K.; Conserving South Africa's Endangered Cranes, Drakensberg; Habitat Restoration and Ecotourism for Chimpanzees, Uganda; Reducing Plastic at Coastal Community Schools, Guatemala; and Let's Take Action for the Bear, Italy. The applying projects were initially examined by Eoca's general managers and scientific advisers, who produced a shortlist of 15 projects. All of these projects were then involved in a public vote on Eoca's website.

The project presented by Surfers Against Sewage and Ternua is intended to support 10,000 volunteers in the U.K. who will try to take 30 tons of plastic waste from 350 beaches all over the country during two week-ends (see The Outdoor Industry Compass, Vol. 10 n°20,21 of Nov. 6, 2017).

The Endangered Wildlife Trust and Buff presented a project that will work with landowners and communities in the heart of the Drakensberg world heritage site, in South Africa, to expand the protected areas south of the site by at least 25,000ha. In this area, grey crowned cranes, blue cranes and wattled cranes are at risk of extinction due to issues such as loss of habitat, conflict with farmers, fracking and illegal removal from the wild.

The Bulindi Chimpanzee and Community Project, nominated by Ferrino, has been selected for a project that helps protect chimpanzees in Western Uganda's Hoima district, where the animals are at risk due to unregulated tourism, pressure for development and agricultural expansion.

The project presented by Semillas del Océano (Seeds of the Ocean) and Marmot aims to reduce the consumption and emission of single-use plastic at schools in the coastal communities of the Guatemalan Caribbean. The ultimate goal for each school is to become 100 percent plastic-free.

Finally, the project presented by Let's Take Action for the Bear and Ferrino is meant to protect the Marsican bear in Italy's Central Apennines. The population of this animal, a subspecies of the brown bear, has reduced to 50-60 individuals in the area. Among other things, the project will restore and improve signage on three trails in order to prevent hikers from wandering off trails, disturbing the bears.