National Trust for Scotland zeroes in on National Nature Reserves

The National Trust for Scotland is putting a special focus on its National Nature Reserves this summer and beyond, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Mar Lodge Estate is one of the nature reserves that will see more species monitoring, habitat restoration work, and regeneration efforts.
Mar Lodge Estate is one of the nature reserves that will see more species monitoring, habitat restoration work, and regeneration efforts.

The conservation charity’s eight National Nature Reserves - St Abbs Head, St Kilda, Ben Lawers, Glencoe, Staffa, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Mar Lodge Estate, and Beinn Eighe (Torridon) - will see more species monitoring, habitat restoration work, and regeneration efforts as part of the charity’s conservation and sustainability measures set out in its new ten-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, including an ambitious goal to become carbon negative by 2031/32.

Support for this work comes from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Since 2012, they have raised over £1.7million, awarded by Postcode Earth Trust, to help the conservation charity to carry out vital work to protect Scotland’s heritage.

This year’s generous support has enabled the delivery of a new biosecurity project.

Heading up the project is Ellie Owen, who joins the Trust in the newly created role of Senior Seabird Officer.

The role is supported by Tim and Kim Allan, members of the Trust’s Patrons’ Club, a generous group of donors who support the charity.

Ellie is a top seabird scientist who has specialised in puffins, seabird tracking, citizen science, and offshore windfarm impacts on seabirds.

The Biosecurity Project is part of the charity’s ‘Love for Nature’ strategy that safeguards Scotland’s natural heritage by preventing plants and animals that are not usually part of sensitive island ecosystems from reaching them.

Ellie’s work will coordinate existing and new efforts to keep islands stowaway free and set up a rapid response team to be in place should issues arise.

Ellie will play a vital role across the three coastal and island National Nature Reserves within the Trust’s care, which are home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds each summer.

Ellie Owen, Seabird Senior Officer for the National Trust for Scotland, said: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Seabird Senior Officer for a charity that values conservation and nature.

"Across the country, there are people who love to visit our sites and want to see seabirds thrive in their natural environment.

"It’s our job to help monitor and conserve these seabirds and the islands and coastlines they inhabit.

“From guillemots and razorbills at St Abb’s Head, to puffins and fulmars on Unst, I look forward to working with the brilliant rangers and site managers on site-specific activities so that we can help to protect fragile seabird populations.”

Philip Long OBE, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said: “In our ten-year strategy, we set out bold ambitions in caring for and preserving not only Scotland’s built heritage, but also its vast natural landscapes.

“There is so much more to the Trust than many people may be aware of, with hundreds of thousands of seabird habitats in our care, almost every type of flora and fauna, and abundant and varied sea life; so much of thiscan be found within our National Nature Reserves.

"By focusing more of our conservation efforts in these special locations, we’re both improving habitats and biodiversity and taking further steps in our charity’s efforts to address the climate crisis and its affect on nature and biodiversity.

“National nature reserves are important for people too in the way that they provide very special places to enjoy the outdoors and the richness of nature.

"We are very grateful indeed to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for all they do to support nature, beauty and heritage.”

Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Laura Chow, said: “Scotland’s seabird colonies are globally important but are facing unprecedented challenges, so we are delighted that funds raised by our players are being used to support this vital work.

"People’s Postcode Lottery was created to provide long-term support to charities, and we are proud the National Trust for Scotland has already received more than £1.7 million. In fact, by playing together and winning together, our players across Britain have now raised a total of more than £900 million for over 9,000 good causes.

"Protecting wildlife and safeguarding the natural environment are two of our priorities, and we look forward to hearing more about the impact of this project in the years ahead.”

Caring for more than 100 sites, over the last 90 years the Trust has pioneered public access to and shared ownership of some of the most magnificent buildings, collections, and landscapes in Scotland.

In March 2022 the National Trust for Scotland launched Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, its ten-year strategy which sets out the ambitions of the charity over the coming decade.

From speaking up for Scotland’s heritage which doesn’t have a voice, to improving the lives and wellbeing of people across the country, and responding to the climate and biodiversity crisis, the Trust will build on its work in recent years to grow its impact and conserve and restore more of Scotland’s heritage, as it moves towards its centenary in 2031.

Since announcing its new ten-year strategy, the Trust has begun to outline the numerous ways it will achieve its ambitious plans to protect and preserve Scotland’s rich natural and built heritage.

For more information on the National Trust for Scotland or the National Nature Reserves in its care, visit www.nts.org.uk.