Scotland’s champions of nature honoured at RSPB awards

Rare butterflies, ancient peatlands and seabirds are just some of the natural wonders at the heart of inspiring Scottish wildlife projects honoured at a special ceremony in Edinburgh last night.

The Isle of May National Nature Reserve won a nature tourism award. Picture: RSPB

Winners of the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards, which are now in their fourth year, include a community trust, a school, a marine litter initiative and the country’s largest wind farm

In total, there were nine winners across eight categories, with a new nature tourism category for the first time this year.

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Also recognised were two husband-and-wife duos, who received Lifetime Achievement awards for their outstanding commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation.

Schemes to protect seabirds and rare butterflies won prizes. Picture: Peter Eeles

The event, hosted by TV presenter Iolo Williams, was attended by more than 200 industry professionals, community groups, politicians and conservationists.

Congratulating the winners, Scottish minister for the environment Dr Aileen McLeod said: “Scotland is renowned for its great diversity of wonderful landscapes, habitats and wildlife, which have helped to shape Scotland’s identity throughout the world.

“It is therefore fitting that we recognise the efforts of those who have made an outstanding contribution to nature conservation in Scotland through their inspiration, motivation and dedication.”

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, commended the energy and enthusiasm put into the projects.

“From the bottom of our seas to the tops of our mountains, indeed in every corner of Scotland, nature needs our help and these are the people dedicated to doing just that,” he said.

Williams said: “Scotland is a country I love and visit regularly, so it’s fantastic to see such passionate people dedicated to protecting its wildlife and wild places. That’s exactly what these awards are about – recognising and celebrating the efforts of those working hard to safeguard nature for future generations.”

RSPB Nature Of Scotland award winners

Community Initiative: Castle Loch Lochmaben Community Trust, Dumfries and Galloway.

Innovation: Cairngorms Peatland Restoration, Cairngorms.

Marine Conservation: KIMO UK’s Fishing for Litter Scotland, Aberdeenshire.

RSPB Species Champion: Advice on conserving the marsh fritillary in Scotland.

Youth and Education: Belhaven Hill School Conservation Club, East Lothian.

Nature Tourism: Isle of May National Nature Reserve visitor centre, Firth of Forth.

Sustainable Development: Peatland Restoration, Scottish Power Renewables, Blacklaw and Whitelee wind farms, Glasgow.

Politician of the Year: Martha Wardrop, Scottish Green councillor for Glasgow Hillhead, and Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP for South Scotland.

Lifetime Achievement: Dr Philip and Myrtle Ashmole, Borders, and Mike and Val Peacock, Isle of Oronsay.