News and Views
Derek Mooney presented with UCC Honorary Doctorate
University College Cork (UCC) has today presented RTÉ journalist, producer, and presenter Derek Mooney with an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Science in recognition of his immense contribution in the field of natural history broadcasting.
In a career spanning five decades, Derek Mooney has led the development of natural history broadcasting in Ireland, working with his team to shine a light on crucial environmental topics, such as climate change, plastic pollution, and habitat destruction.
A pioneer in broadcasting on environmental issues, Derek’s work in the natural history field includes Habitats, The Nature Line, Nature Trails and Mooney Goes Wild, all for RTÉ Radio 1, BioBlitz Live and Wildtrack and Nestwatch 2006 for RTÉ television, Nature Detectives for BBC television and Nature's Great Invaders for BBC Radio 4.
In his role as RTÉ’s Executive Producer for Nature Programming, he has produced and presented the ever-popular Mooney Goes Wild, the landmark annual broadcast event that is now the International Dawn Chorus, and a myriad of wildlife documentaries.
In delivering the citation at today’s Honorary Conferring, Prof. Emer Rogan of UCC’s School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences highlighted the numerous international awards won by Derek and his team, and how the trail-blazing ‘Mooney Goes Wild’ celebrated 27 years on air last May.
“Derek’s work and life’s mission chime with our sustainability efforts at UCC, as we strive to find innovative and holistic solutions to the challenge of climate change while protecting the biodiversity of our precious natural environment,” Prof Rogan said.
“Against this background, it is my honour to present Derek Mooney for an honorary doctoral degree in Science as a fitting recognition of his immense contribution in the field of natural history broadcasting,” she said.
Derek Mooney said he was delighted to accept the honour “both personally and on behalf of the Mooney Goes Wild team of Éanna Ní Lamhna, Richard Collins, Terry Flanagan and Niall Hatch, along with the contributors, listeners and viewers, without whom there would be no need for nature programmes.”
“I also want to acknowledge all of the scientists who have contributed their knowledge so willingly and who have helped us better understand the natural world. Their generosity in sharing their time, their expertise and their passion is remarkable.
“The research work of Prof. John O'Halloran and his colleagues at University College Cork has featured heavily in our output through the years, encompassing everything from DNA sampling of Dipper feathers to the winter migration of Whooper Swans from Iceland to Ireland. John may be best known today as the President of the University, but we should never forget that he is also one of our nation's most eminent ornithologists and a brilliant advocate for learning, conservation and the wonders of nature.
“I would also wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to my colleagues in RTÉ for their continued support and commitment to nature programming across all platforms.
“Cork has a special place in my heart. It’s here that I saw my first Little Egret, where I first learned about the importance of ringing Black-tailed Godwits and where we first broadcast the live dawn chorus from Ireland to the world.
“Receiving this honour in Cork means the world to me and my family,” he said.
UCC President Prof. John O’Halloran said:
“Derek Mooney is the voice of Nature and Wildlife in Ireland. He has been a powerful voice for wildlife and wildlife researchers and citizen scientist who contribute to data collection on our birds, butterflies, bees and plants across the Nation and has inspired generations of wildlife biologists.
“His impact extends beyond Ireland to Europe and North Africa as part of his extraordinary Dawn Chorus Marathon – involving citizens, scientist, multiple broadcasting teams and managing to do this live in the wild.
“He is an incredible professional seeking excellence in not just science, but in broadcast quality and probably one of the best listeners I have ever encountered. UCC Is proud to honour him today for his extraordinary contribution to nature and wildlife.”
Prof. Sarah Culloty, Head, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, UCC commented:
"Congratulations to Derek Mooney on receiving this Honorary Doctoral Degree in Science. It is fitting that Derek's work and life's mission complement our sustainability efforts at UCC, as we strive to find innovative and holistic solutions to the challenge of climate change while protecting the biodiversity of our precious natural environment".