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15th September 2023

First GSA UNESCO Biosphere Award presented at Girvan Academy

A celebration of youth action on climate change has taken place at Girvan Academy this week, which included the inaugural presentation of the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere Award for local young people who are inspiring a positive future for people and nature.

Girvan Academy has a dynamic Eco Group and this year’s joint winners were Alana Lucas and Sabene Morgan, who were recognised for their commitment to climate and community projects.  The award itself – a felted hare made from British Shetland wool and mounted on a FCS-certified sustainable wood plinth, was created by artist and Biosphere Proud Supporter Maryjean Govan, owner of Girvan-based Made With Fluff Fibrecrafts. Alana (pictured) and Sabene were presented with their award by Jenna Cains, GSAB’s Community and Education lead, who heads our programme of local and learning projects across the three local authority areas covered by the UNESCO designation.

There are currently more than 740 UNESCO Biospheres in 134 countries, all of which are considered places of international importance for their natural and cultural heritage and local opportunities for sustainable development.  Galloway and Southern Ayrshire was the first to be designated in Scotland and marked its 10th anniversary in 2022, when Girvan Academy’s Eco Group were invited to speak at the organisation’s AGM.  In the same year the Biosphere team partnered with teachers and pupils at Girvan Primary to create the Learning For Sustainability Toolkit which has now been distributed to schools right across the 9,700km² region.

UNESCO Biospheres all work to the ethos of ‘Think Global, Act Local’ through projects and partnerships that cover conservation, education, sustainability and climate resilience. Our work is supported by core funders including South of Scotland Enterprise and South Ayrshire Council. Guests at the evening ceremony on 14th September included Councillor Alec Clark who sits on the GSA Biosphere’s Partnership Board and is a champion of improving opportunities for Girvan’s youth.

Jenna Cains said, “It was such a privilege to be invited to create this award which now and in the future will celebrate the young people who spend such a significant amount of their free time hands-on with environmental and community projects in Girvan.  Many of these have been started by students themselves, based on their own learning and awareness of local need.  Our warmest congratulations to winners Alana and Sabene, and not forgetting the educators who make positive and inspiring action possible through their leadership and support.” Jenna is pictured here on the right with Cllr Clark, alongside Amy Logan and Sheona Johnson who run Girvan Academy’s Eco Group and many other projects.

Our team are proud to work in partnership with schools across the region within our rolling programme of lifelong learning which covers a range of topics from carbon literacy to sense of place. Take a look at our Learning for Sustainability Toolkit (it’s free to download) and click here to find out more about bookable learning workshops available for groups – there’s something for all ages. For direct enquiries about any of the above, contact us via


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