The 2019 winners and shortlist

The Nature of Scotland Awards 2019

Thank you to everyone who entered the awards in their eighth 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 December with 44 finalists celebrated across nine categories.

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

SNH Business Award

Winner: Comrie Croft

Comrie Croft is a community of nature-based enterprises including: a regenerative agriculture fruit, vegetable and flower farm; a bike trails centre; farm wedding venue; eco-camping; farm-to-fork café and more. In addition, over 200 acres of land is in the process of being rewilded.

Highly commended: CalMac

CalMac, the UK’s largest ferry operator, has launched its own Marine Awareness Programme and in doing so has delivered a world first in biodiversity monitoring with its partners. Simultaneously, they are using their unique position on Scotland’s seas to raise awareness of the marine environment and marine conservation.

Coasts and Waters Award

Winner: Seasearch

Seasearch celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018 by making it the busiest ever year in Scotland. Seasearch is a proven UK and Ireland-wide project, involving co-ordinators training citizen science divers to identify and form an evidence base for underwater places worthy of protection, including six inshore Marine Protected Areas in 2014 and Loch Carron in 2019.

Highly Commended: Letting the fish find their own way – Howden Rock Ramp

The Rock Ramp is a biodiversity enhancing solution to a weir blocking the river. By building a natural looking rock ramp in the channel, migratory fish can ascend the weir to complete their life cycle and habitat is created for a myriad of insects, fish, birds and mammals.

Community Initiative Award

Winner: Back from the Brink: Saving our Small Blue

Coastal communities in Angus have enthusiastically worked together since 2012 to understand and halt the sharp decline of one of our most iconic coastal species – the small blue butterfly. This engaging project, celebrated by the community, demonstrates how working together may provide a future to a species on the brink.

Highly Commended: The Children’s Wood and Meadow Outdoor Community Centre

The Children’s Wood is a magical oasis of nature in the heart of Glasgow, which throngs daily with children, adults and young people playing, growing, relaxing and taking time with nature in a regenerated birch woodland and meadow. The community successfully campaigned to save this special place from development.

Conservation Science Award

Winner: Understanding and conserving Scottish cold-water coral reefs and deep-sea habitats

The Changing Oceans group at the University of Edinburgh highlight the importance of Scottish deep-sea habitats and the biodiversity they support, how they will be impacted by future climate change, and how collaboration with policymakers, managers and industry is crucial to conserve these vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Highly Commended: Large scale participatory control of invasive mink in Scotland

A team of researchers, partner organisations and citizen conservationists designed, implemented and refined a new way to manage invasive non-native species that damage Scotland’s biodiversity but are now too widespread to be eradicated. They removed American mink from a third of Scotland and water voles again thrive.

Highly Commended: Scottish Rare Plants Programme

The Rare Plants Programme at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is securing the future of some of Scotland’s rarest and most threatened plants and their habitats by studying their requirements for growth and reproduction. Plants are grown in the safety of the nursery before being reintroduced into carefully-managed wild sites.

Food and Farming Award

Winner: Lynbreck Croft

Lynbreck Croft is located in the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland. Lynn and Sandra purchased the croft in 2016 with the intention of raising their own animals for food production and conservation. They have since become leading lights in sustainable food production.

Highly commended: Transition Turriefield – organic ambassadors for a healthy future

Transition Turriefield is an innovative community growing project based in the far west of Shetland. It srives to make fresh produce available locally to address issues of health, sustainability and food security in a challenging natural environment. The project runs a veg box scheme and provides volunteering and training opportunities.

Innovation Award

Winner: TCV Natural Talent programme – Closing the ecological skills gap

TCV’s Natural Talent programme started in 2006 to fill an identified ecological skills gap across Scotland. Natural Talent Trainees aimed to conserve and raise awareness of under-represented species and habitats. 65 trainees have been through the programme with 98% going on to employment or further education within the conservation sector.

Highly commended: Badgers in the Landscape – community building for wildlife conservation

Through the National Lottery funded ‘Badgers in the Landscape’ project, Scottish Badgers embarked on a ground-breaking mission in South Lanarkshire to break a cultural cycle of cruelty to badgers by mobilising communities and educating, inspiring and empowering young people.

Highly commended: Innovative marine science reveals Scotland’s deep-water ecosystems

The deep-sea is the world’s largest but least known ecosystem. Marine Scotland Science used its research vessel MRV Scotia to reveal deep-water species and habitats that were previously unknown in Scottish waters. The key to discovery was the innovative use of different survey and sampling techniques including seabed mapping, bespoke camera systems, nets, cores and sensors.

Political Advocate of the Year Award

Winner: Roseanna Cunningham MSP

Roseanna Cunningham MSP has been a crucial figure in the reintroduction of beavers to Scotland after an absence of over 400 years. As Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, she has been a key advocate of the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of the reintroduction both within government and to external stakeholders.

Highly commended: Holly Gillibrand

Fourteen-year-old Holly was one of the first Scottish #FridaysForFuture activists. As a vocal advocate for the environment she’s attended several high-profile events and travelled to Westminster to meet party leaders with Greta Thunberg. She is an avid nature writer, active campaigner for OneKind and an Ambassador for Scotland: The Big Picture.

RSPB Species Champion Award

Winner: Stewart Taylor’s Amazing Aspen

Stewart Taylor is a champion for a whole host of overlooked species from the tiny green shield moss, tooth fungi, scare and threatened lichens and invertebrates. He has dedicated a lifetime working and volunteering to conserve wildlife in the Cairngorms National Park. In recent years his focus has been aspen, making a huge contribution to its conservation and raising the profile of this iconic tree.

Winner: Championing the return of beavers to Scotland

Championing the return of beavers to Scotland has been the entire focus of the Scottish Beavers partnership for more than a decade. It’s led to the first mammal reintroduction in the UK; a ground-breaking scientific trial; a landmark decision by the Scottish Government; and legal protection as a native species.

Youth and Education Award

Winner: Sunnyside Primary – how small ripples bring about tides of change

Sunnyside School of Conservation changed its curriculum in 2014 at the request and inspiration of the children who created the Nae Straw At Aw Campaign and became Ocean Defenders. The school has gone on to inspire other children and groups around Scotland.

Highly commended: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park - Young Volunteer Pathways

‘Young Volunteer Pathways’ emerged from multiple requests for help from young people within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, to identify ways in which they could develop nature-based skills, make new friends and enjoy time in the outdoors away from their formal school or college setting.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Simon Pepper OBE

Simon was founder Director of WWF Scotland, a post he held from 1985 to 2005.  Initially he was the sole employee, but such was his impact that he developed the charity into an environmental powerhouse.  Indeed, during his tenure he was instrumental in establishing the Millennium Forest for Scotland, and secured almost £30 million for its creation. 

Simon relished his leadership of WWF Scotland, and his charismatic influence resulted in the formation of Scottish Environment LINK – a fantastically effective alliance of what is now 35 environmental organisations.

Appointed an OBE for services to sustainable development in 2000, Simon served on the boards of many government bodies, including Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Deer Commission for Scotland. 

Simon was a champion for nature, whose campaigning personality was characterised by intelligent charm, humorous warmth, determination and understated leadership, Simon’s legacy is rooted in the newly emerging environmentalism of Scotland.

Our shortlist

Coasts and Waters Award

  • Letting the fish find their own way – Howden Rock Ramp
  • RSPB Skinflats Managed Realignment project
  • Seasearch – 30 years of underwater citizen science
  • The establishment of the Coastal Communities Network, Scotland

Community Initiative Award

  • #ImBackCaring – Clean the River
  • Back from the Brink: Saving our Small Blue
  • Doune Ponds – accessible nature on the doorstep
  • Leithers Don’t Litter. Or do they?
  • The Children’s Wood and Meadow Outdoor Community Centre
  • Wild Planet Explorer’s 3P Pledge Champion Award

Conservation Science Award

  • Conservation genetic support for the restoration of wildcat in Scotland
  • Discovery and conservation of Scotland’s deep-water ecosystems
  • Evidence based conservation strategy for red-billed choughs in Scotland:
  • Identifying ecological and genetic constraints on population persistence
  • Large scale participatory control of invasive American mink in Scotland
  • Scottish Rare Plants Programme
  • The Flow Country Research Hub (FCRH)
  • Understanding, conserving and managing Scottish cold-water coral reefs and deep-sea habitats

Food and Farming Award

  • Lynbreck Croft, Grantown-on-Spey, Highland
  • Newmiln Farm – organic ambassadors for a healthy future
  • Transition Turriefield – growing fresh local food for a sustainable future

Innovation Award

  • Badgers in the Landscape – community building for wildlife conservation
  • Innovative marine science reveals Scotland’s deep-water ecosystems
  • John Muir Pollinator Way
  • TCV Natural Talent Programme – Closing the ecological skills gap

Political Advocate of the Year Award

  • Andy Wightman MSP
  • Gail Ross MSP
  • Holly Gillibrand
  • Roseanna Cunningham MSP

RSPB Species Champion Award

  • Bog Squad
  • Buglife Scotland: Marvellous Mud Snails
  • Cairngorms Amazing Aspen – Stewart Taylor’s contribution to conserving this iconic species
  • Championing the return of beavers to Scotland
  • Natacha Frachon – champion of the alpine blue-sowthistle (Cicerbita alpine)
  • Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms

SNH Business Award

  • CalMac raises awareness of the marine environment and marine conservation
  • Comrie Croft Eco Farm – Positive solutions for people and nature
  • Team at Tamdhu deliver for North Atlantic Salmon
  • The Eco Larder – Edinburgh’s first dedicated zero waste supermarket

Youth and Education Award

  • Bubbles Beats Balloons Campaign
  • Concrete Garden – Grow Wild at The Back Garden
  • Polli:Nation – enabling children and young people to save pollinating insects
  • Sunnyside Primary – how small ripples bring about tides of change
  • Ullapool Sea Savers
  • Young Volunteer Pathways