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

Award categories

Award categories

Celebrating the inspiring people, projects and organisations across different aspects of nature conservation in Scotland, the Nature of Scotland Awards 2020 saw the introduction of two new categories.

The Nature and Climate Action Award recognises the link between the challenges we face and the importance of the nature-based solutions being implemented to try to reverse the unprecedented loss in biodiversity and to assist with reversing the trend of rising global temperatures.

The Forest and Woodland Award recognises those who place nature and wildlife at the heart of their sustainable forest and woodland creation and management activities, bringing benefits for wildlife and people.

Learn more about the nine award categories below.

Nature of Scotland Awards 2020 | The RSPB

NatureScot Business Award

NatureScot logo | The RSPB
Sponsored by NatureScot
This award will recognise and celebrate businesses, large and small, that can clearly demonstrate that they are taking a whole business approach to benefit 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 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.

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.

Conservation Science Award

Sponsored by SAGES    

For 2020, the Nature of Scotland Awards Conservation Science category will recognise the achievements of Early Career Researchers. We welcome applications from/nominations of individuals whose exemplary, peer-reviewed research has had an important impact in support of nature conservation in Scotland or has exceptional promise of doing so in the future.
Important research contributions to 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, and so the award will consider applications from/nominations of scientists across the full range of Conservation Science disciplines.
Applicants are considered eligible if qualifying research was carried out as part of or within six years of having completed post-graduate study, and while applicants need not be based in Scotland, their research must have direct relevance to nature conservation here.


Forest and Woodland Award

Confor Logo cmyk new green.jpg

Sponsored by Confor

Our trees, woodlands and forests play a vital role in providing nature-based solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergencies. They store carbon, are homes to wildlife, provide timber, inspire art and are great places for recreation. This award celebrates our sustainable forestry and woodland champions and is open to applications from individuals, businesses, communities or organisations who are creating and/or managing woodlands. Whoever you are, you will be going above and beyond standard practice, and placing nature and wildlife at the heart of your activities. You might be a wildlife-friendly forester, a community making the most of your local woodlands or a farmer and other land manager exploring innovative new approaches which bring benefits for wildlife and people. Applicants with forests and woodlands of all types and scales will be considered, from small woodlands or urban planting schemes through to landscape-scale projects.

Innovation Award

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.

Nature and Climate Action Award


Sponsored by ScottishPower Renewables

We are facing a nature and climate emergency that cannot be ignored. The unprecedented loss in biodiversity and the persistent rise in global temperatures require us to take urgent action. This award recognises the link between the crises facing nature and the climate and Scottish nature-based solutions to them. Individuals, projects or organisations who are nominated should demonstrate clear, definitive steps that are both saving nature and mitigating or adapting to climate change.

Awards in this category will reflect the urgency to act, have impact in multiple sectors, and implement ideas or innovative technology to create a solution.

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.

Youth and Education Award

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.