The public online voting organized by the European Outdoor Conservation Association's (EOCA) for the environmental projects that will receive its funding this year has come to an end, with 57,000 people casting their votes. In total, three projects have been chosen from those presented by various companies in three categories: alpine projects, outdoor projects and nature projects. The project with the highest number of votes in each category will receive funding of up to €30,000 from EOCA. Three other projects have been selected directly by EOCA members for additional funding.
As reported previously in The Outdoor Industry Compass, the first winner, the Adept Foundation, was elected within the category of outdoor projects. This organization, which promotes sustainable tourism in the Romanian region of Târnava Mare, is planning to create an eco-friendly, 15-kilometer-long mountain-bike trail, which is set to reduce the impact of tourism on the landscape and its ecological balance. Vaude had proposed this project.
The two other winners were selected from the “nature projects” category. Dynafit and Fusion Clothing had proposed the winning projects in this category, to be carried out in India and Borneo. A subsidy of €30,000 will go to Biosphere Expeditions for a project on “Restoring High Altitude Habitats for the Snow Leopard” in India to help communities safeguard the delicate Upper Spiti ecosystem and its wildlife, which is one of the most important habitats for snow leopard in India.
Another €30,000 will go to OuTrop, a non-profit organization that is active in the Sabangau tropical peat-swamp forest, one of the most important rainforests in Borneo. This area is under massive threat from swamp drainage and continued illegal logging and wildlife hunting. The “Protection and Restoration of critical Orangutan Habitat” project aims to restore damaged areas, replanting burnt forests and installing community patrol teams to protect the forest and its orangutans.
After the public online voting, all the projects that remained on the shortlist went through a members-only vote, whereby the 92 corporate members of EOCA, including The Outdoor Industry Compass, chose their favorite projects for additional funding from the association. The three selected projects are “Fruits for Bears” by FAPAS, a Spanish organization in Spain, nominated by Patagonia; “Regreening Segou” by the Tree Aid organization in Mali, nominated by Ferrino; and again the “Snow Leopard Conservation” project by Biosphere Expeditions, nominated by Vaude.
The “Fruit for Bears” project from the “nature” category aims to improve the habitat for bears in Spain, ensuring that wild fruit is available for the bears all year round. The “Regreening Segou” project, also from the category “nature,” will establish 11 tree nurseries and plant 320,000 trees in Segou, which has suffered dramatic deforestation. Last but not least, the “Snow Leopard Conservation” project aims to involve local communities in India's Altai area to develop sustainable tourism.
All these projects will be formally announced and illustrated at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen on July 11.