Red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris, in woodland, Formby NT reserve, Merseyside

Award categories

Find out more about the different areas of conservation the Nature of Scotland Awards celebrate.

Award categories

Celebrating the inspiring people, projects and organisations across different aspects of nature conservation in Scotland, the Nature of Scotland Awards 2019 saw the return of the RSPB Species Champion Award and the introduction of two new categories. Ahead of the launch of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 we celebrated those supporting marine nature with the Coasts and Waters Award, and we also launched the Conservation Science award, recognising and celebrating scientists whose research supports nature conservation in Scotland.

Learn more about the nine award categories below.

Application forms

SNH Business Award

SNH Business Award sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage
This award will recognise and celebrate businesses, large and small, that can clearly demonstrate what they have done for the benefit of nature in Scotland. Applications will be judged based on the impact delivered in proportion to the size of business and available resource.

Perhaps you have created a ground-breaking partnership that enables your business to make a significant direct contribution to help nature and habitats or maybe your work helps assist the conservation sector to save threatened Scottish species. Alternatively, you may have developed exemplary and innovative sustainable practices that allow your business to lower its carbon footprint, reduce its emissions or you are carrying out steps towards climate adaptation.


Coasts and Waters Award

Sponsored by Scottish Water

Scotland’s rivers, lochs and seas are special places and bring to mind some of our most cherished wildlife experiences from leaping salmon and playful otters to basking seals and diving seabirds. To mark the upcoming Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, this special award will recognise outstanding contributions that are helping nature thrive in Scottish marine and freshwater habitats. Whether it’s an innovative project that has had real impact or someone who is connecting people with the aquatic world we want to hear from you.

Conservation Science Award

Sponsored by SAGES    

This award will recognise and celebrate an individual or group of scientists whose published peer-reviewed research has either had a demonstrable impact in support of nature conservation in Scotland, or can show exceptional promise of such impact in the future.

Important scientific contributions to nature conservation can take many forms, from directly informing the management of species, habitats, physical environments and ecosystems to influencing policy, scientific thinking or innovation in methods. We welcome applications from or nominations of scientists in any field whose work has made an outstanding contribution in these respects.


Community Initiative Award

Sponsored by GreenPower

This award will go to an outstanding community-based initiative that clearly demonstrates what they have done for the benefit of nature. The project should be developed and led by the people it serves, acting as an inspiration to others and offering real value to the whole community.

RSPB Species Champion Award

Sponsored by The Ardmore 

The nominee will have achieved something extraordinary to conserve a vulnerable and threatened species, providing a catalyst for positive change through hard work and dedication.

This could be through implementing policy, intervening to prevent habitat destruction or helping to create a valuable ecosystem which has then helped a struggling species.

Food and Farming Award

Sponsored by The James Hutton Institute

Food has a big environmental footprint; from how we grow it, to the amount we waste. But some individuals, businesses and organisations are doing things differently; taking steps to reduce their own environmental impact and helping consumers make good food choices. Whether that's wildlife-friendly farmers or farm shops, cafes and caterers carefully sourcing ingredients and reducing food waste, this award celebrates our sustainable food champions.

Innovation Award

Sponsored by Balfour Beatty

Awarded to the most innovative project, initiative, practice, or technique (management or otherwise) that has aided nature conservation. Entries for this award need to stand out as being different – perhaps you have pioneered a project that is the first of its kind or you have approached something that has been done before in a new way.

Political Advocate of the Year Award

Do you know a politician, campaigner or individual who has made a difference or significant impact on public policy for nature and wildlife? This award is to recognise and celebrate the movers and shakers who go beyond the day-to-day to ensure our natural heritage is not only protected but enhanced for all and future generations.

They might be a politician, be it Councillor, MSP, MP or MEP; a campaigner from an environmental NGO; a dedicated public servant or an extraordinary active individual who cares. This is our chance to thank them for what they do and motivate them to keep aiming higher and greener!

Youth and Education Award

Youth and Education Award sponsored by Scottish Power

This award honours schools and youth groups which can demonstrate how they have made a real difference to the conservation and sustainability of Scotland’s wildlife and habitats. These projects need to show through evidence and outcomes what they have done in nature, through nature, about nature and for nature.

This could be through fundraising for a conservation-related project, partnership working, best practice in hands-on delivery of learning for sustainability or connecting young people to the natural world. If you are an Eco School or a member of the Green Flag scheme, your application must show how the platform has been used to deliver additional activities to those expected as part of this scheme.

Tell us why your group is head and shoulders above the rest and spread the word on the results you have achieved!

With thanks also to Turcan Connell for supporting the creation of our trophies and National Trust for Scotland for project sponsorship.