Some remarkable teenagers from Shetland were in Glasgow last week for the 2017 Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards ceremony.
The RSPB Shetland Young Volunteers were one of three finalists in the Environment category of this year's awards. The environment category recognises young people who give their time to help protect the world for future generations covering areas from recycling and global sustainability to ecology.
Young Volunteers Freya Stout and Melody Duncan attended the ceremony at the Clyde auditorium preceded by a celebratory dinner in the Crowne Plaza Hotel and followed by an after party. Melody said afterwards: "I was actually pretty inspired after all that. I was proud that we were there amongst the other nominees. There were stories of people who had struggled in life and they still managed to do amazing things."
The Young Volunteers were nominated [note 1] for the work they have been doing with RSPB Scotland in Shetland to look after nature and to encourage others to get involved in conservation. They have undertaken beach cleans on some of the small, uninhabited islands, highlighting the dangers of microplastic on birds and wildlife along the way.
Freya Stout, one of the volunteers that attended the ceremony in Glasgow, said: "The reason I volunteer with RSPB Scotland is really because of growing up in Shetland and being surrounded by nature just walking out your front door. It's really important that young people are involved with groups like the RSPB because it's important for people to have an understanding of nature and the importance of protecting it."
The group also helped organise a bird race to raise money for storm petrels, or alamooties as they are called in Shetland. The event raised enough money to buy two tags to help ongoing research tracking the birds that nest on Mousa in order to discover where they are feeding to help protect them.
Karen MacKelvie is RSPB Scotland's Community Learning Officer in Shetland. She said: "These young people deserve recognition because they step up to every challenge I set them. They put their heart and soul into everything and they are laughing every step of the way. They care about nature and young people speaking about nature and doing activities to help nature really inspires their peers and the community".
The other finalists in the environment category were The Green Salon at Fife College, Dunfermline where students are taught a new and innovative "eco" approach to hairdressing and, the winner of the award, Zeki Basan. The 17-year old grew up in a remote house on the edge of the Cairngorms and is an off-grid teenager with a passion and skill for sharing the value of wild places with others. Find out more at https://youngscotawards.com.
This year's event was again hosted by Edith Bowman and the star-studded awards showcased the finest young talent Scotland has to offer and celebrated their outstanding achievements.
1. You can watch the full nomination video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iQcrJQ8wUU&list=PLVv1gphuoIQHnBdWFZxhiDGgl1GZen0qN&index=22
2. RSPB Scotland is part of the RSPB, the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.