Red squirrel with winter coat, on log in pinewood.

2018 winners and shortlist

The shortlist for the 2018 awards represent a cross-section of businesses, charities, the public sector and individuals working towards conserving the country’s unique wildlife and natural environment.

The Nature of Scotland Awards 2018

Thank you to everyone who entered the awards in their seventh year and congratulations to our shortlist and winners!

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, supporters and volunteers who facilitated the awards in what was another record breaking year. It was with your support that the celebratory event was such a great success.

Over 370 guests attended the Awards Presentation Dinner at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in November with 48 finalists celebrated across nine categories.

Details of the award winners and highly commended entries can be found below.

Business Award

Winner: Barratts provides new homes for people and wildlife in Aberdeen

Barratt Homes has helped to provide a home for nature at the centre of its Riverside Quarter Development in Aberdeen. Opening up a previously culverted stretch of Bucks Burn, remediating and enhancing its banks and building an artificial otter holt have increased habitat quality for otters, a protected species.

Community Initiative Award

Winner: Ninewells Community Garden therapeutic gardening for all

Ninewells Community Garden lies in the beautiful woodland of Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Their mission is to promote wellbeing through therapeutic gardening; a place where people as well as plants can flourish. The one-acre garden is maintained and developed by volunteers and is always open for picnics, walks and play.

Highly Commended: Tiree Great Yellow Bumblebee Project

This project gets Tiree residents and visitors involved with great yellow bumblebee (GYB) conservation on the island by enhancing forage, raising awareness and monitoring GYB numbers throughout the summer. Through the endeavours of local people it is well on its way to securing the future of this species on Tiree.

Highly Commended: Water of Leith – 30 years

Working to "conserve and enhance the Water of Leith as a haven for wildlife and an education and recreation resource for all" for the last 30 years, volunteers have given over 8,800 hours of service to the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, delivering 150 river clean-ups/workdays annually and outdoor learning sessions to schools and community groups.

Food & Farming Award

Winner: Common Farm

John Dalziel and his family have farmed in East Ayrshire since the 1950s. Farming in this area presents numerous challenges and the region’s internationally-important wildlife also faces threats. John has integrated wildlife conservation into his successful farming system - working with partners to restore peatlands, create wetlands and conserve curlews.

Highly Commended: 50 years of farming and conservation at Mersehead

When the RSPB acquired Mersehead Farm in 1994, Eric Neilson had already been farming this site for 26 years. A skilled 360-degree digger operator and ploughman, Eric has transformed this arable farm into a wildlife-rich coastal wetland, restoring water courses and pools, installing sluices, clearing ditches and removing scrub.

Innovation Award

Winner: CuanTec

CuanTec are a Scottish-based blue biotech company making compostable, antimicrobial bioplastic from waste from the fisheries industry, providing an environmentally-responsible alternative to polluting packaging and reducing the burden of food waste in landfill at the same time.

Highly Commended: The Peatland Code – an innovative funding mechanism for peatland restoration

Established by the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, the Peatland Code is an innovative mechanism to facilitate private investment in peatland restoration. Important in fighting climate change, the Code requires peatland restoration projects to prove the climate benefits they will provide, giving businesses and individuals the confidence to invest.

Highly Commended: CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones

ATLAS Arts is working with Cooking Sections on CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones, a long-term project challenging us to think about what we eat and promoting ingredients that naturally protect and regenerate the marine environment and new ecological challenges in Scottish waters.

Nature Tourism Award

Winner: The Argaty Red Kite Project

The Argaty Red Kite Project is central Scotland's only red kite feeding station. For 22 years, Argaty has provided a safe haven for kites, feeding the birds, monitoring their growing population and telling visitors their story: from persecution and extinction in the 19th century, to their amazing reintroductions across the UK since 1989.

Political Advocate of the Year Award

Winner: Dr Tom Dargie

Chairman of Not Coul, Tom has sacrificed time on his own contracts and research projects to campaign against the proposed Coul Links golf development for no financial reward. His ecological surveying, presentation and political expertise are invaluable and he has countered the developer’s arguments with both clear evidence and tenacity.

Highly Commended: Mairi Gougeon MSP

As the Species Champion for the hen harrier in Scotland, Mairi has shown a real commitment and enthusiasm to learning about this species, the issues it faces and exploring the various options that might help it to prosper. In doing so, Mairi has brought the hen harrier and its conservation needs to the attention of the wider Scottish Parliament.

RSPB Young Nature Champion Award

Winner: Xander Johnston

Xander has been nominated for his outstanding dedication to conservation in the Cairngorms National Park. As Cairngorms Nature Young Ambassador and a regular volunteer for the Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms project, Xander has contributed significantly to the conservation of invertebrates through active recording and promotion of rare species.

Winner: Kathleen McMillan

Kathleen started volunteering with the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park in 2013 and what started as a hobby has turned into a real passion. Now working as a Countryside Ranger and Chair of a local conservation group, she spends her time in work and outside it promoting wildlife and its conservation for future generations.

Sustainable Development Award

Winner: European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre Scientific Research Programme

Believed to be the largest environmental research programme of its kind and hosted at Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Windfarm, the €3million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will help inform future development in the sector and help strengthen Scotland’s international lead in wind farm research and innovation.

Highly Commended: Easterhouse Fossorial Water Vole Relocations

AECOM, working on behalf of Glasgow City Council, successfully relocated more than 150 fossorial (burrowing) water voles from five sites in the Easterhouse area, where affordable housing and green infrastructure developments are planned. The project is an example of sustainable development, protecting nature conservation interests and enabling social and economic regeneration.

SNH Youth & Education Award

Winner: Reviving Rossie - Awakening a Secret Wood

A project to awaken hundreds of young people’s understanding, participation and appreciation of wildlife, biodiversity, flora and fauna to be found within the beautiful ancient woodlands at Rossie near Montrose in North East Scotland.

Highly Commended: Sunnyside Primary: The Glasgow school leading the charge against plastics

Sunnyside Primary School has been described as a "force of nature" because of their commitment to conservation of Scotland’s wildlife. Their powerful flagship campaign, #NaeStrawAtAw, encourages businesses and organisations around Scotland to ban straws and other disposable plastics, aiding the protection of our oceans and waterways.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Sir John Lister Kaye

In a 40+ year career, Sir John Lister-Kaye was the first Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage for the Highlands & Islands and President of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. He served RSPB Council for twelve years and is a Vice President of the Society. In 1986 he won the World Wilderness Foundation’s gold award for environmental education; he has received honorary doctorates from St Andrews and Stirling Universities and in 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation.

As one of Scotland’s best-known naturalists and conservationists, Sir John Lister-Kaye lives at the House of Aigas, near Beauly, where he is director of the internationally acclaimed Aigas Field Centre founded by him in 1976. In this time over 25,000 adults and 150,000 children have passed through the doors of the Centre.

He has also run a very effective ranger training programme; lectured on wildlife and conservation on three continents; led wildlife expeditions; and he is a Guardian columnist and the author of ten books on nature and wildlife including his best-selling non-fiction ‘Song of the Rolling Earth’.

Our shortlist

Business Award

  • Arran Trust
  • Barratts provides new homes for people and wildlife in Aberdeen
  • Scottish Water - leaving a sustainable and thriving natural legacy
  • Wild Planet Explorers - inspiring future biologists and conservationists!

Community Initiative Award

  • CCI - Clydesdale Community Initiatives
  • Friends of Happy Valley
  • Greening our Street – promoting biodiversity in the urban landscape!
  • Inverclydebuzz: Pollinator Corridor Project
  • Ninewells Community Garden: therapeutic gardening for all
  • Tiree Great Yellow Bumblebee Project
  • Water of Leith – 30 years

Food & Farming Award

  • 50 years of farming and conservation at Mersehead
  • Common Farm
  • Knock Farm and Eco- Agri-Tech, Huntly – inspiring others on sustainable farming
  • Nature Friendly Farming Network
  • The Argaty Red Kite Project

Innovation Award

  • Allan Water Improvement Project
  • CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones
  • CuanTec
  • The Peatland Code – an innovative funding mechanism for peatland restoration
  • The SBIF Review: Re-imagining the Biological Recording Infrastructure in Scotland

Nature Tourism Award

  • Knapdale, Scotland’s Natural Treasure Chest
  • Nature Scotland - Ethically sustainable wildlife experiences, contributing towards conservation and education
  • Hebrides Cruises - unforgettable close encounters aboard specialist wildlife cruises in the Hebrides
  • The Argaty Red Kite Project
  • Williamwood Farm

Political Advocate of the Year Award

  • Kate Forbes MSP
  • Lewis McDonald MSP
  • Mairi Gougeon MSP 
  • Dr Ruth Tingay
  • Dr Tom Dargie

RSPB Young Nature Champion Award

  • Alasdair Lemon 
  • Kathleen McMillan
  • Robert Walsh
  • Ross McIlwrath 
  • Xander Johnston 

Sustainable Development Award

  • Barratts provides new homes for people and wildlife in Aberdeen
  • Easterhouse Fossorial Water Vole Relocations
  • European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre Scientific Research Programme
  • Scottish Water - leaving a sustainable and thriving natural legacy 

SNH Youth & Education Award

  • Curriculum Outdoors Attainment Challenge (COACh) East Ayrshire school’s
  • Lambhill Stables
  • Our Lady’s Primary Schools #WildBottleSighting Campaign Success!
  • Reviving Rossie - Awakening a Secret Wood
  • SOC/Isle of May Bird Observatory Young Birders’ Training Course
  • Sunnyside Primary: The Glasgow school leading the charge against plastics
  • The Shieling Project – off-grid learning centre connecting heritage, nature, sustainability
  • ‘Wild about Scotland’ an outreach programme connecting people with Scotland’s amazing biodiversity