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Conservation pioneers honoured at RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards

Last modified: 31 October 2013

Nature of Scotland Awards logo

Image: The RSPB

Pioneers in Scottish nature conservation were honoured Wednesday night at the second annual RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards.

Held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh, and hosted by comedian and talk show host Fred MacAulay and broadcaster Sally Magnusson, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, innovation and outstanding achievement in nature conservation.

The event brought together a range of industry professionals, public sector organisations, community groups, politicians, charities and conservationists, all of whom have an interest in safeguarding and conserving Scotland’s greatest asset - its natural heritage.

After tough deliberations sifting through over seventy high quality entries, the judges managed to narrow it down to nine winners, each taking home the top prize in their category.

There was local success for The Ecology Centre, a Fife-based project which transformed a landfill site into an environmental education and volunteering centre at Kinghorn Loch. The Centre took home top prize in the Community Initiative category.

Caithness and Sutherland MSP Rob Gibson, picked up the Politician of the Year Award for his contribution towards a sustainable, natural Scotland.

It was a unique project to protect the iconic Scottish wildcat that won the Innovation Award.  The Cairngorms Wildcat project impressed the judges with their work to bring land managers and conservationists together to gather vital information to better understand the species and raise awareness of their plight.

Edinburgh-based print distribution company, EAE, scooped the top prize in the Sustainable Development category for their specially developed biodiversity garden that creates valuable greenspace in an industrial setting.

Dedicated conservationist Nick Riddiford of the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative was honoured with the Marine Conservation Award for his years of work campaigning for integrated marine resource management of the seas around Fair Isle, as well as for his efforts to preserve traditional values and practices.

Students and staff at Larbert High School in Falkirk took home the top prize in the Youth and Education category for their unique project to transform a neglected site at Carron Dams and the Lade into a wildlife haven.

Alan Watson Featherstone, founder of conservation charity Trees for Life, was selected as the winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award for his work to protect and restore Scotland’s native Caledonian woodland.

A project to protect Common terns in the West of Scotland earned Clive Craik and the South Shian Tern Rafts the RSPB Species Champion Award.  Clive devised a system using discarded mussel rafts to give breeding terns a safe place to raise young, out of reach of their two main predators – mink and otter.

The final accolade of the evening, the Lifetime Achievement Award, was given to Professor Aubrey Manning OBE - an acclaimed zoologist who has dedicated his life’s work to the understanding and promotion of wildlife and conservation.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “With the Year of Natural Scotland coming to a close, the Nature of Scotland Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the very best in Scottish conservation and honour the leading lights in the field. Congratulations to the very worthy winners.  We hope the standard set today will encourage many others across the whole Country to take action for wildlife, so that Scotland can continue to offer a fantastic home for nature.”

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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