The ever popular spring vote, which has taken place each year for the last 8 years, asks the public to help EOCA choose projects from three approved shortlists. The project in each category (Mountain, Forest and Water) with the most votes will each gain funding of up to €30,000. Joint General Manager Tanya Bascombe explained the importance of the process. “As well as raising awareness of what the European outdoor industry and EOCA’s member companies are doing to conserve and protect wild spaces, the voting process is a hugely beneficial opportunity for all of the conservation organisations involved. They are on an international stage, raising awareness of important conservation issues and gaining new support for their work along the way. This is about the European outdoor industry giving back – conserving the great outdoors and its various habitats and species which the industry and its customers are so passionate about”.
The public vote has attracted huge interest internationally over the years, with national radio stations, newspapers, politicians, celebrities and many people on social media all getting involved in encouraging people to join in. The coverage achieved is staggering, with over 60 million people reached in the spring of 2017 (statistic from Outdoor Bloggers Network) making the process a valuable tool in raising awareness of critical conservation issues around the world. In eleven years, EOCA has given over €2.3 million to conservation projects around the world, some chosen through the public vote, and others by the association’s members.