Lifetime Achievement Award
Winners - Philip and Mrytle Ashmole
Philip and Myrtle Ashmole are perhaps best known in Scotland today as the leading lights behind the Carrifran Wildwood project of Borders Forest Trust.
They are also modest and would want to stress that establishment of the Wildwood involves an incredible communal effort by volunteers and contributors. This visionary ecological restoration initiative, eight miles northeast of Moffat, is transforming a heavily grazed upland glen into a carefully - but actively - restored patchwork of wooded wild land.
Myrtle and Philip have been supporters of the RSPB since their school days in the 1950s.
An expedition to Ascension Island marked the beginning of their work on global seabird biology, applied to real environmental issues. The island studies extended further as their research, discoveries and publications moved to the fascinating field of island endemics – especially birds and the arthropods of lava flows and volcanic caves – including uncovering evidence of lost island species on some of the world’s most remote oceanic islands.
Rarely have a couple achieved so much for ecology and conservation with such a fantastic level of energy and productivity.
Winners - Mike and Val Peacock
Mike Peacock retired this year after an incredibly successful and devoted 31 years with the RSPB, none of which would have been as incredible or successful without the complete support and devotion of his wife, Val.
A lifetime of wardening, monitoring, habitat creation and management on the spectacular edges of the UK, Mike and Val's passion for wild places has taken them on an amazing island odyssey that has included Bardsey, Fair Isle, Fetlar, Islay and Oronsay.
Mike's keen attention to ecological detail has delivered optimal habitat management for waders, red-necked phalarope, corncrake, chough, mining bees and Irish ladies tresses and his wetland creation at Loch Gruinart is now the largest roost site for Greenland white-fronted geese in the UK.
Throughout all, Val has been there to provide the logistics, organisation, admin, guest service, catering and back room support.
Together they have been an unstoppable force for nature conservation, inspiring all who have had the pleasure to meet, work with them or witness what they have achieved.