The shortlist for the prestigious Nature of Scotland Awards was unveiled yesterday evening (6th September) at a Scottish Parliament reception hosted by Mark Ruskell MSP.
Now in their fifth year the awards celebrate the people, projects and organisations across the country working to protect our internationally renowned precious wildlife and habitats.
Award judges were overwhelmed by the number of entries and faced some tough decisions as they finalised the shortlist across eight awards, including two new categories for this year: Food and Farming Award and the Corporate Award.
The shortlist spans the length and breadth of Scotland and recognises the diversity of ongoing efforts to protect our natural environment from charities, businesses, community trusts, the public sector, partnerships and individuals.
Mull of Galloway Trust is shortlisted for two awards: Community Initiative and Nature Tourism.
The most southeast point of Scotland is owned by the local community through the Trust which is proactively involved with local schools and also oversees the three holiday cottages at the iconic site.
Shortlisted in the Food and Farming category is Rainton Farm in Castle Douglas.
Having converted to an organic farm in 2001 the farm continues to work to further improve biodiversity, animal welfare and soil health.
South Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish is shortlisted for Politician of the Year for her commitment to environmental justice and conservation.
The winners will be revealed at a black tie presentation dinner on 24th November 2016, at a new venue for the awards, the beautiful Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
Wildlife TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham will host this celebratory event for Scotland’s conservation heroes, with over 300 guests, including key decision makers.
and supporters from industry.
Chris Packham said: “I’m really looking forward to hosting RSPB Scotland’s Nature of Scotland Awards this year, and celebrating the efforts of those working hard to safeguard Scottish nature. As this shortlist shows there are people, projects and organisations across Scotland dedicated to protecting its wildlife and wild places, and the presentation dinner will be a fantastic event to mark all their achievements.”
This year’s awards are supported by ScottishPower, GreenPower, Turcan Connell, The Ardmore and The James Hutton Institute. For 2016 the judging panel chaired by Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, welcomed Ross Martin from the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Ian Jardine from Scottish Natural Heritage, BBC Scotland’s Euan McIlwraith and the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Susan Davies.
Stuart Housden said: “On behalf of the judges I’d like to thank everyone who entered this year’s awards and congratulate those who have made it onto the shortlist. These awards shine a spotlight on the outstanding work taking place across Scotland to conserve our natural heritage. The dedication and commitment from everyone who entered, and of course our shortlisted projects, is truly inspiring and demonstrates just how much people care about our wonderful wildlife. As ever the quality and sheer variety of entries made the judging task a challenging one. Congratulations to all those shortlisted and we’re looking forward to celebrating all your achievements at our awards ceremony in November.”