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03/12/18 - Donegal Teacher recognised as Climate Hero at AnTaisce’s Climate Ambassador Awards 2018


An Taisce Ambassador Awards - Dr Michael, Minister Canney & Denise - 379x269

Dr Michael John O'Mahony, Denise Dowds, Climate Hero & Minister

Sean Canney at the Climate Ambassador Awards


Donegal Teacher recognised as Climate Hero at AnTaisce’s Climate Ambassador Awards 2018


Denise Dowds, a teacher in Scoil Mhuire Buncrana, has been recognised as a Climate Hero after participating in AnTaisce’s Climate Ambassador programme throughout 2018. Ms. Dowds started the year by securing a regular column in a local newspaper for her ‘Cli-Mates’: the students contributed each week by researching topics such as single-use plastic, Ireland’sagri-industry and sustainable transport.


Denise Dowds Climate Hero - An Taisce Ambassador Awards 379x269

Denise Dowds, Climate Hero



“It’s a newfound way of learning, leading by example and carrying out lots of climate actions and communications, empowering the students, while they have some fun along the way. This group in turn has built a strong relationship within their local community and earned their respect with many improvements they have delivered”, says Gary Tyrrell, Climate Ambassador Officer with AnTaisce’s Environmental Education Unit.



Denise is one of only two citizens that were recognised as being true Climate Heroes. Nine citizens from across Ireland were also awarded Outstanding Achievements at AnTaisce’s Climate Ambassador Awards on Thursday 29th November 2018 for their work in communicating and taking action on climate change.



An Taisce Climate Ambassador Awards - Denise & Gary

Climate Hero Denise, Climate Ambassador and Climate

Action Officer Gary



Minister Sean Canney T.D. attended the awards and commended the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment of the Climate Ambassadors all of who worked tirelessly throughout the year to engage their local communities to take action on climate. Climate Ambassadors held 726 climate related events, planted 4,892 trees and reached over 3.5million people during 2018!



Minister Canney reflected on the impact of the Climate Ambassador programme community and grassroots level and its contribution to the wider societal transition required to make Ireland a low-carbon, climate-resilient society. 


Climate Ambassador Awards Denise and Olivia

Climate Heroes, Denise and Olivia



“The Climate Ambassador Programme, which is sponsored by my Department, has exceeded all expectations in its success to date. It is a vital programme to help raise awareness about climate change and how individuals, communities and business can help. Without a doubt, climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing us all.  Engagement on the ground is crucial if we’re going to work together to tackle climate change. Hearing about the great work carried out by Irelands first Climate Ambassadors I see this programme as another step towards making Ireland a leader in Climate Change.”



The Climate Ambassador Awards is a celebration of the work undertaken by An Taisce Climate Ambassadors in schools, universities and communities throughout Ireland during 2018. Over 100 citizens were selected to be Climate Ambassadors with the goal of engaging their local community about the issues of climate change. The Ambassadors come from a wide range of backgrounds from secondary school students and teachers, to university students, academics, retirees, farmers and business leaders. The programme has been a great success with Climate Ambassadors undertaking key actions in their communities ranging from hosting climate talks, participating in community festivals, planting native trees, carrying out climate workshops and being interviewed on national TV and radio.



Selected Ambassadors were offered the opportunity to become climate leaders in their community and were given training on climate science and communications. Climate Ambassadors were also invited to participate in regional Network Gatherings which allowed ambassadors to share their knowledge, learn from each other and build relationships – all of which are key to transforming ordinary citizens into climate leaders. Climate Ambassadors were asked to undertake four key actions during the year – two climate communications and two climate actions. The awards are a celebration of the actions that have taken place over the last twelve months and the enormous effort and dedication that the Climate Ambassadors have shown throughout the process. To mark this each Climate Ambassador received a certificate of recognition for their achievements.









Climate Hero Award

Denise Dowds




Secondary School Teacher


Climate Hero Award

Olivia Feeney




Local Authority Employee


Outstanding Achievement Award

Aaron Jewell



Permaculture & Development Educator


Outstanding Achievement Award


Gordon Murray





Outstanding Achievement Award


Irene Hughes



Secondary School Teacher


Outstanding Achievement Award


Isabel Jorgensen



Tertiary Student


Outstanding Achievement Award


Jack O’Neill



Secondary School Student


Outstanding Achievement Award


Nadya Doyle



Secondary School Student


Outstanding Achievement Award


Niamh Banahan



Healthcare Industry


Outstanding Achievement Award


Orla Farrell



Retired Teacher and Social Entrepreneur


Outstanding Achievement Award

Orla Nic Suibhne



Local Energy Communities


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