Limerick girl receives personalised prize from Don Conroy

Emma O’Brien from Roxborough in Limerick was chosen as the winner of the Gas Networks Ireland’s Draw with Don competition and received a watercolour of a nesting Barn Owl couple painted by Don Conroy, as well as copy of his book “Sky Wings” and a personalised note.
Emma, who loves to paint pictures of animals and share them on her Instagram page, was one of hundreds who participated in a special 'Draw with Don' online event hosted by Gas Networks Ireland who recently teamed up with artist, activist and TV legend Don Conroy to celebrate the launch of its partnership with the Laois Barn Owl Project.
During the event Mr Conroy, who devotes much of his time to barn owl conservation, invited participants to draw along with him and enter their resulting pieces of artwork into a competition. 
Mr Conroy, who has spent many years merging his love of drawing and wildlife to highlight the importance of barn owl conservation said: 
“I have been fascinated with owls, especially barn owls, since I first encountered one at the age of six on my uncle’s farm in Laois. Barn owls are sadly in decline so any help we can give this iconic bird is great news.  I’ve drawn this bird hundreds of times, painted pictures, written children’s novels and poems about the barn owl.
It was wonderful to receive so many entries of such a high calibre to the Gas Networks Ireland’s Draw with Don competition and I enjoyed picking the winner. Many congratulations to Emma, the runners up and indeed all those who took part.” 
The runners up aged between seven and 13 from Cavan, Cork, Dublin, Meath, Wexford and Wicklow each received a signed copy of Don Conroy’s book “Sky Wings”. 
To help broaden awareness of Barn Owls, increase their conservation and grow their population locally, Gas Networks Ireland is funding 20 outdoor nesting boxes for the Laois Barn Owl Project.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Sustainability Manager, Anne Moore, said:
“We are delighted with the success of our launch of our partnership with the Laois Barn Owl Project, which is a is a wonderful community conservation initiative that forms part of our Biodiversity Action Plan. It was great to see so many enthusiastic and budding artists take part in our competition. Many congratulations to Emma for her winning artwork.”
Barry Nolan, Managing Director, Wildlife Management Services who runs the Laois Barn Owl Project said:
“Our new partnership with Gas Networks Ireland will make a big difference to the future of the Barn Owl population in Laois. These beautiful birds are an important part of local ecosystems and it is vital that we protect them for future generations”.
Supporting biodiversity is a key pillar of Gas Networks Ireland’s sustainability strategy. As guardians of Ireland’s gas infrastructure, Gas Networks Ireland aims to deliver its services in a sustainable manner that contributes to the protection of the environment while supporting the social and economic development of the communities it operates in, as well as the wider economy.
Last year, Gas Networks Ireland won both the Sustainable Energy Achievement Award and the Green Large Organisation of the Year Award, and more recently has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Community Support Award for exceptional customer service and support to communities as part of the 2021 CCA Excellence Awards.