Matt Murphy, who founded the Sherkin Island Marine Station in 1975, is the inaugural overall winner of the County Mayor’s Community Awards.
There were three winners each of community awards in the council’s Northern, Southern and Western divisions, with Mr Murphy awarded the overall title.
Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Barbara Murray (FG), said Mr Murphy had introduced many young people to nature via his journal and environmental newspaper, Sherkin Comment, and through educational programmes.
All schools in Munster receive Sherkin Comment and they also have free access to the web-based quarterly newsletter on nature and the environment, entitled Nature’s Web.
Mr Murphy also works closely with Cork County Council’s environmental awareness research unit.
Ms Murray congratulated the winners and those nominated. “This is a celebration and an acknowledgment of individuals and groups that work on a voluntary basis to help others,” she said.
The three winners in the Northern division were Coolagown Development Group, Mourneabbey Community Council, and the COPE Centre in Mallow.
Coolagowen was lauded for its efforts in Tidy Towns campaigns, which have seen the village near Fermoy win national and European titles.
Its achievements to date include also include procuring a group water scheme for the area, village enhancement and landscape plans, a woodland walk and & cycle trail, sculptures, waste minimisation and energy conservation.
COPE Centre Mallow received an award for its involvement in the local community where their products and services are sourced locally.
The other award winner in the region, Mourneabbey Community Council, was honoured for the development of a debt-free €1.4m community complex.
In the Southern division, the top three were Inniscarra Community Centre and Theresa McCarthy and Nicky O’Keefe
Inniscarra Community Centre was chosen because of contribution to all age groups in the area.
Theresa McCarthy, who was the recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award 2011, received the award for her unwavering dedication in a voluntary capacity.
Nicky O’Keeffe opened a skateboard park in 2010 and caters for skateboarders, as well as rollerblading, bmx-ing and scooting.
Apart from Matt Murphy, the winners in the Western division were Timoleague Community Association and Sue Hill.
Ms Hill is heavily involved in the Mizen Tourism Co-operative Society and helped build the spectacular Mizen Vision project, which is visited by thousands of people every year.
This year Timoleague Community Association celebrates 40 years in existence and was honoured for Harvest Festival, which takes place each year and stages national and international acts.