· The country's most inspiring wildlife champions were recognised at the RSPB's Nature of Scotland Awards last night (24 November 2016).
· Eight projects across eight categories took home a winner's trophy. Husband and wife duo Brian and Sandy Coppins also received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
· The Nature of Scotland Awards 2016 was hosted by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham at a ceremony in Edinburgh.
We know from this year's State of Nature Report (1) that wildlife is in trouble in Scotland. One in eleven Scottish species is at risk of becoming extinct and for some groups of species, such as butterflies and plants, that number is even higher.
This may seem disappointing, challenging even - but there is good news. Across the country people are working tirelessly to save, protect and conserve our precious wildlife and habitats for future generations.
The most inspiring and dedicated of these were recognised at RSPB Scotland's Nature of Scotland Awards last night (24 November). Eight projects across the same number of categories encompassing farming, innovation and education took home top prizes. They are:
· Food & Farming Award (sponsored by The James Hutton Institute): Future Farming Scotland
· Corporate Award: The Famous Grouse
· Innovation Award (sponsored by Vattenfall): Magic Margins
· Youth and Education Award: Leith Community Crops in Pots
· Community Initiative Award (sponsored by GreenPower): Concrete Garden, Growing Together
· RSPB Species Champion Award (sponsored by Ardmore Whisky): Craig Macadam - Buglife
· Nature Tourism Award (sponsored by Sustrans Scotland): Mull Eagle Watch
· Politician of the Year (sponsored by ScottishPower & ScottishPower Renewables): Sarah Boyack
The Nature of Scotland Awards is an annual event organised by RSPB Scotland, to discover and reward the most impressive people and projects working to conserve wildlife across the country. The 2016 ceremony was hosted by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham at the Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
Also recognised on the evening were husband and wife duo, Brian and Sandy Coppins, who collected the Lifetime Achievement Award for their work on lichen conservation in Scotland. All of the Nature of Scotland Award winners were presented with specially designed trophies created by Edinburgh silversmith Bryony Knox and sponsored by Turcan Connell.
Chris Packham said: "I am delighted to have been able to host the RSPB's Nature of Scotland Awards for a second year. It was an honour to meet all of the worthy winners and learn more about the people driving some of the most important species and habitat work across the country. The passion, dedication and enthusiasm they have for conservation is inspiring and these awards provide the perfect platform for all of their efforts to be recognised on a national scale."
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "The RSPB's Nature of Scotland Awards recognise the innovation, dedication and hard work of those striving to make a real difference to Scotland's wildlife and habitats. Clearly the delivery of conservation is critical to the preservation and quality of Scotland's biodiversity and I am grateful to those who were nominated for an award. I hope these nature awards will continue to encourage and inspire people and organisations up and down the country to think about how they too can support Scotland's wonderful natural heritage."
Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: "Congratulations to everyone who has taken home a Nature of Scotland Award this year - they were all well and truly deserved. It was a privilege to be able to showcase and thank those working hardest to protect the vulnerable wildlife and inspiring wild places we have here in Scotland. The role of volunteers improving their local areas, helping young people learn about the natural world, or monitoring declining species stands out, and it is uplifting to see what has been achieved. We need to offer more people the support and encouragement to take action to protect nature, and ensure our children grow up in a world richer in wildlife. I am confident that many of the individuals I met at the event last night will really inspire others to take on that challenge, so even more people across Scotland give nature a home."
For further information about RSPB Scotland's Nature of Scotland Awards please visit: www.rspb.org.uk/natureofscotland
1. The State of Nature 2016 report was released by a coalition of 50 wildlife and conservation organisations in Scotland in September this year (2016). The report is a stock take of the country's wildlife and shows one in 11 species (9%) recorded in Scotland is at risk of extinction. This figure is higher for some groups of butterflies (18%), dragonflies (15%) and plants (13%). You can view the report here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/StateOfNature2016_Scotland_1%20Sept%20pages_tcm9-424988.pdf
2. The Nature of Scotland Awards is supported by: The Ardmore Distillery, GreenPower; The James Hutton Institute; ScotRail; ScottishPower & ScottishPower Renewables; Turcan Connell; Sustrans Scotland; and Vattenfall.
3. The 2016 judging panel was chaired by Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, and included Ross Martin from the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Ian Jardine from Scottish Natural Heritage, BBC Scotland's Euan McIlwraith and Susan Davies from the Scottish Wildlife Trust.