Razorbill | The RSPB

The judges

Chaired by the Director, RSPB Scotland Anne McCall, learn more about the Nature of Scotland Awards judging panel.

Anne McCall, MA, MSc, MRTPI

Anne McCall was appointed as the RSPB Scotland Director in May 2017. With the support of the Scottish Leadership Team she oversees the work of around 300 staff across Scotland covering a wide range of activities including; operational delivery, policy development and advocacy, communications, volunteering, conservation science, learning and membership.

Prior to taking on this role Anne was the Regional Director for the RSPB in South and West Scotland for almost 9 years, stretching from Argyll and Bute to The Scottish Borders. She moved into this position following 10 years as Head of Planning and Development for RSPB Scotland working on individual planning applications and policy development. Anne has also worked for North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

With a strong interest in partnership working Anne in involved with the delivery of  a number of different landscape scale projects and is currently also a member of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital, and the RSPB UK Ethics Advisory Committee.

Francesca Osowska OBE

Francesca joined NatureScot as CEO on 1 October 2017.

Prior to this, she spent over 20 years working for the civil service, initially as an economist.  Francesca moved to Edinburgh in 1997 and has held a range of posts, including: Head of Sport at the Scottish Executive / Government; Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, MP; Director for Culture, External Affairs and Tourism; and Director for Housing, Regeneration and the Commonwealth Games.  In 2012, Francesca was appointed as Director for the Commonwealth Games and Sport to oversee the delivery of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, for which she subsequently received an OBE.  Francesca then led the Scotland Office of the UK Government from January 2015 until her appointment to NatureScot in 2017.

Francesca studied at Cambridge University where she obtained an MA in economics.  She also received an MA in European economics from the College of Europe in Bruges.

Outside of work Francesca enjoys triathlon and has completed four ironmans.  Whilst she now takes a more relaxed approach to her training, Francesca still occasionally combines swim, bike and run.

Dougie Vipond

For over 20 years, Dougie has been one of the most ‘weel kent’ faces on television in Scotland. His broadcast career has spread across many genres from Sport to Rural Affairs and much more besides.

A lover of all things outdoors, Dougie became the main presenter of BBC Scotland’s award-winning rural affairs magazine show, Landward in 2009. Never one to shirk a challenge, Dougie has kayaked the Caledonian Canal, raced around the British Isles and spent 24 hours on a bike, all in aid of Sport Relief.

In 2016, he took part in an event, said to be one of the UK’s toughest, The Braveheart Triathlon – a 1.2-mile open water swim, 56 miles on a bike then a half marathon up and down Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. The whole journey, from standing start to stuttering finish, was documented by The Adventure Show, a programme Dougie has presented for a dozen years.

In between all of that, he still finds time to indulge in his passion…music! Dougie is also the drummer and founding member of Deacon Blue. With worldwide sales now in excess of seven million albums – including six albums in the UK Top Five and 17 singles in the UK Top 40 – the band is back with another reason to believe. In 2020, they released their 10th studio album, City Of Love, which went straight into the UK Album Charts at number 4.

Dougie Vipond standing in a field

Susan Davies

Susan Davies became the Chief Executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, a conservation and education charity, in January 2019.

Immediately prior to this she was Director of Conservation with the Scottish Wildlife Trust. This followed a 25-year career in the public sector where she held senior roles with the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Scottish Natural Heritage working on a wide range of environmental policy and projects at EU, UK and Scottish levels.

Susan is a zoology and environmental science graduate of the Universities of St. Andrews and Aberdeen respectively. She is Chair of the Venture Trust charity, a non-executive Board member of the James Hutton Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Sara Thiam

Scotland’s journey to net zero and improving our biodiversity offer huge opportunities for economic renewal. As Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), Sara works with her members across the public, private and third sectors to build a better economy for Scotland. A former Director for the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland, Sara is a Board Member on the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and a former member of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland.

Sara’s career in economic development includes the Glasgow Edinburgh Collaboration Initiative and EU knowledge transfer projects designed to stimulate Scottish innovation.  Her early career in international education include the setting up of the Eurodesk youth information service subsequently replicated throughout the EU.

Sara holds a BA (Hons) in modern languages from the University of Stirling and is passionate about exploring Scotland’s outdoors and enjoying nature by bike and on foot.