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#MakeEUBlue Awards 2024: Celebrating Pioneers of Change in Ocean Literacy in Europe

#MakeEUBlue Awards: EU4Ocean Coalition recongnises inspiring ocean literacy initiative

The EU4Ocean Coalition, supported by the European Commission (EC), has held its annual #MakeEUBlue Awards. Celebrating progress in ocean literacy, these awards highlight initiatives fostering awareness about the importance of the ocean and promoting sustainable practices. The winners, selected by public voting and by a high-esteemed Advisory Board of experts, have been announced at the European Maritime Day on 31 May in Svendborg, Denmark

The leading award is given to the initiative that best responded to the different criteria aligning with the EU4Ocean philosophy. The three EU4Ocean communities – EU4Ocean Platform, Youth4Ocean, and EU Network of Blue Schools – were encouraged to participate in the Awards.

The 3 main winners, chosen as Navy Blue, Classic Blue, and Sky Blue for first, second and third place respectively, are:

http://bluegrowthvigo.eu/en/project/peiraos-do-solpor-en">Sunset Docks – Navy Blue Award

Sunset Docks aims to protect and restore ocean health through innovative research, citizen engagement, and blue investments. By transforming traditional port infrastructures into vibrant, sustainable spaces, the Port of Vigo’s projects—DoorToSea, Living Ports, and Sunset Docks—integrate ecology and engineering to conserve marine ecosystems.

"Receiving this award is a testament to our dedication and a reminder that together, we can transform our ports and protect marine life. Only through education and awareness can we ensure a prosperous future for our seas. We cannot change the past, but we can erase the footprint it leaves on our oceans. Our commitment, our oceans".

Life CONCEPTU MARIS – Classic Blue Award

Life CONCEPTU MARIS focuses on conserving cetaceans and sea turtles in the Mediterranean Sea. This five-year project developed a comprehensive e-learning course for seafarers, educating them on the risks of marine traffic to these species and fostering greater awareness and conservation efforts.

"It is amazing to see how our project can really make a difference, not only for monitoring and data collection but also in Ocean Literacy. We love observing the blue, looking for cetaceans and turtles, and we are proud to contribute to make Europe even more Blue".

BlueNightS – Sky Blue

BlueNIGHTs strengthens the link between marine researchers and local communities through events and outreach activities. By connecting European citizens, especially youth, with marine science, the project inspires future generations to pursue ocean research and addresses ocean challenges. The project has developed a virtual twin of a real R/V to be explored through VR goggles, a number of educational toolkits, games, and more.

“We are very proud to have contributed to planting so many small 'blue' seeds in Europe that, as they germinate, will increasingly give rise to 'blue' learning communities where marine researchers can meet European citizens, young and old, to share with them their work, dreams, passions, and motivations”.

In addition to these awards, there were four "special mentions" awards:

  • Best Professional Organisation Initiative: Annual AZTI's Summer School on Marine Research

Since 2004, this summer school has explored new marine research topics, fostering early career researchers' development. Held at the San Sebastián Aquarium, it bridges science and policy, enhancing marine ecosystem management and promoting sustainable ocean use.

  • Best Individual School Initiative: Plastic Soup

This initiative educates children about human impact on the sea and encourages them to find sustainable solutions to marine plastic pollution. Blue School's program has successfully raised awareness among young students about their role in preserving marine environments.

  • Best Education Initiative: Small Scientist

Targeting early childhood education, this project uses the picture book "Callie og Vannveggen" to teach ocean science to young children in Norway. The book, supported by guides for ocean science experiments and art activities, promotes critical thinking and highlights female scientists as role models.

  • Best Youth Initiative: True Tales for Ocean Rebels

Led by Marika Hellmund and Nina Dietz, this project creates illustrated sea anecdotes for children, blending true marine stories with social and climate science. The goal is to nurture a new generation of ocean stewards through captivating tales of real sea creatures.

The winners were awarded multiple prizes, which were presented at European Maritime Day 2024: an official award certificate, a handmade ocean-themed trophy, and a financial reward.

Learn more about the EU4Ocean Coalition

EU4Ocean Platform: Become a Member of the EU4Ocean Platform 

Youth4Ocean: Become a Member of the Youth4Ocean Forum

Network of European Blue Schools: The Network of European Blue Schools

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