2023 Nature of Scotland Awards Winners and Shortlist

Thank you to everyone who entered the awards this year and congratulations to our shortlist and winners! 

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Business for Nature Award

Sponsored by NatureScot 

Winner: 20 Years of Sharing Orkney’s Amazing Wildlife: Orcadian Wildlife

Orcadian Wildlife is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary season of sharing Orkney’s amazing wildlife with its guests. Founded as a family business in 2004, it has been the only wildlife operator providing week-long tours in Orkney for many years. From Hen Harriers to Orcas to Scottish Primroses, Orkney’s wildlife is unique!

Highly Commended

The Alba Explorers Ltd

This award-winning family business provides high-quality outdoor education programmes in North-East Scotland. They offer tailored pupil development sessions, staff training, and projects. With over 1500 pupils and 230 staff trained, Alba Explorers focus on environmental education to create a sustainable impact on society’s attitudes towards the environment. They empower children to influence their families and communities, preparing future leaders for environmental challenges.

Coasts and Waters Award

Sponsored by  Scottish Water

Winner: Biosecurity for LIFE

Scotland’s predator-free off shore islands are internationally important for breeding seabirds. Some seabirds cannot coexist with predatory mammals and seabird islands need biosecurity to safeguard them from this threat. Biosecurity for LIFE has worked with island managers, communities, businesses and others who together have made Scotland’s seabird islands better protected.

Highly Commended

COAST – community-led marine conservation and restoration

COAST is a community-led marine conservation and restoration charity. In 2008, COAST established Scotland’s first ‘No Take Zone’, and later the South Arran Marine Protected Area, which has shown signs of recovery of marine life. This year, Research Vessel ‘COAST Explorer’ was launched to aid marine restoration research and educate.

Future Generations

Come Forth for Wildlife & Fife Living Water

The project engaged with over 175,000 people throughout the region – teaching new skills and empowering local communities to take action for wildlife. Over 200 new ponds were created, 35 ponds restored and over 170 terrestrial habitats were made for amphibians and reptiles.

SMEEF – harnessing private finance for marine recovery

The Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) is a unique and innovative new approach to harnessing green finance for marine recovery. Users of coast and sea invest in valuable projects to halt and reverse nature decline. Strong financial and ethical checks, and specialist advice all ensure robust governance and effective outcomes

Community Initiative Award

Sponsored by GreenPower

Winner: 50 Years of the Bailies of Bennachie

The Bailies of Bennachie have been a voice of this iconic Aberdeenshire hill range for 50 years. The charity is concerned with the landscape and wildlife, maintaining paths, collecting litter and investigating and promoting the history and culture of the area.

Conservation Science Award

Winner: Putting Scottish Peatlands “On The Map”

The James Hutt on Institute Peatland Research Team produces state of the art evidence of the extent of peatlands, their ecological and hydrological condition, the contributions they make to national territorial greenhouse gas emissions, and what net gains peatland rewetting activities can bring to a multitude of ecosystem services.

Highly Commended

Coralline Crisis: informing conservation of Scotland’s maerl beds

Out of sight, out of mind – yet vital for biodiversity. Maerl beds – complex seafloor structures like coral reefs – are one of the world’s most biodiverse and threatened habitats. Detailed modelling and genetic analyses around Scotland – Europe’s maerl stronghold – mapped climate threats to this understudied ecosystem, providing crucial evidence informing conservation.

Restoring Scotland’s Mountain Woodland

Uniquely and outstandingly for her generation, as a PhD student and large estate conservation manager, Sarah Watts is working to restore mountain woodland habitats across Scotland to address the nature-climate crisis on a national scale. Her research combines applied ecology, collaborative land management, citizen science and outreach to exemplify large-scale nature recovery in the uplands.

Food and Farming Award

Winner: The Southwest Scotland Regenerative Farming Network

The Southwest Scotland Regenerative Farming Network is a peer-to-peer knowledge exchange group offering farm walks, talks, webinars, and opportunities for connecting land-based enterprises for nature-positive collaborations. It is open to farmers, growers, and food producers across the region with a membership approaching 200 and increasing every month.

Highly Commended

Corncrake Calling – Fenceless Grazing for Corncrakes and Crofters

Working with crofters in the Isle of Lewis RSPB Scotland’s Calling Corncrake project has enabled unmanaged land to be grazed with cattle again by using NoFence collar technology. Grazing in autumn and winter improves habitat for Corncrakes returning from Africa in spring and reduces the graziers winter feed bill.

Flourishing Nature, Nourishing People

Nourish Scotland works for a fairer, greener, healthier food system and have been part of Scotland’s journey to becoming a Good Food Nation. They want to see a fundamental shift in food system purpose and design towards nourishing people, restoring nature and building partnerships while encouraging pioneers and influencing law and policy.

Health and Wellbeing Award

Sponsored by Buccleuch

Winner: Whispers from the Woods & Wilds

This is an inclusive, trauma-informed nature connection and wellbeing project for refugees and asylum seekers living in Glasgow. Through a programme of outdoor sessions, the project fosters a sense of ‘belonging’ to Scotland’s natural environment as a key (and largely overlooked) aspect of integration.

Highly Commended

Roots to Learning

This project was set up to promote positive health and wellbeing experiences through nature and for nature. Initially established as a pandemic response for young people aged 11- 24 to combat poor mental health and disengagement from learning, it has developed into a longer-term approach to nature recovery.

Innovation Award

Sponsored by  James Hutton Institute

Winner: Saving the Pine Hoverfly from Extinction

Preventing the extinction of Pine Hoverflies in Britain represents a progressive, herculean effort by a diverse group of partners with a big vision. Ambitious habitat restoration and innovative conservation breeding have pulled Pine Hoverflies back from the brink and continue to deliver a more secure future for the species.

Landscape Restoration Award

Sponsored by Scotland’s Landscape Alliance

Winner: Cairngorms Connect

This is a partnership of neighbouring land managers, committed to a bold and ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species, and ecological processes across a vast area within the Cairngorms National Park.

Highly Commended

Peatland ACTION – landscape-scale solutions for biodiversity and climate

Peatland ACTION has put Scotland at the forefront of landscape-scale peatland restoration in Europe. By not only providing 100% funding, but the on-the-ground support, innovative techniques and technical know-how that are needed to successfully restore our peatlands, it plays a vital part in tackling Scotland’s biodiversity and climate crises.

Nature and Climate Action Award

Sponsored by  ScottishPower Renewables

Winner: One Million Trees Campaign

The Campaign was launched to provide cooling shade on one of Scotland’s most vulnerable major rivers, save native species from local extinction, and help restore the freshwater ecosystem. It is inspiring huge public support. It even led to a change in national policy, helping all Scottish rivers.

Highly Commended

Falkirk’s Sustainable Greenspaces

This ambitious trial of sustainable greenspace management delivered enhancements and bold, new management across 35 Falkirk Council-owned sites. It transformed over 27 hectares of amenity grass into more natural habitat. The results – significantly improved CO₂ sequestration, enhanced climate change resilience, massively increased biodiversity and create vibrant, healthy places for local communities!

RSPB Species Champion Award

Sponsored by The Ardmore 

Winner: Roy Dennis MBE – a life conserving ospreys

Roy Dennis’s lifelong commitment to Osprey conservation began in 1960, when he helped protect the UK’s only breeding Ospreys at Loch Garten. Now into his seventh decade of Osprey conservation, Roy is a world-wide Osprey authority and has masterminded their successful recolonisation of many breeding grounds across the UK and Europe.

Highly Commended

Dr Róisín Campbell-Palmer

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer is the country’s leading expert in Beaver ecology, translocation, and mitigation. She has championed the species for over 15 years, working tirelessly to restore Beavers back into our landscapes, and bridging the gap between academics, conservationists, and landowners with balance and professionalism.


Business for Nature Award

Coasts and Waters Award

Conservation Science Award

Health and Wellbeing Award

Innovation Award

Landscape Restoration Award

RSPB Species Champion Award