Amidst an ambitious but essential drive from the Scottish Government to protect 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030, RSPB Scotland is now accepting applications for this year’s prestigious conservation awards. They are a chance to honour individuals and organisations making a difference in their local communities, businesses and schools to support Scotland’s iconic wildlife and fantastic landscapes.
Nature champions, pioneering businesses and passionate community groups are being encouraged to enter for free, choosing from ten categories. Co-sponsored by NatureScot, the awards celebrate individuals and organisations across the country doing their bit to protect Scotland’s nature.
A brand-new category has been announced this year, the Landscape Restoration Award, open to applications from projects and partnerships working to tackle the nature and climate crises at scale, covering both land and sea. Categories returning from previous years include the Health and Wellbeing, Conservation Science and Community Initiative Awards, the latter of which will be open to a public vote in September.
The winner of last year’s Community Initiative Award was Ury Riverside Park in Aberdeenshire, a 60ha community park for people and wildlife to enjoy together. The Park is on the site of a former barley field, and is being developed by the community, for the community, to create somewhere special.
Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “I’m delighted that we hear of so many new projects each year, all playing their part to protect landscapes and species. Right across Scotland, businesses, schools, communities and individuals are recognising the importance of the wildlife we’re so lucky to share our country with.
The other judges and I are particularly looking forward to our new category for 2023, the Landscape Restoration Award. We know substantial efforts are needed to set Scotland up for the fight against the nature and climate emergency, so applicants for this award should inspire us with their conservation and environmental achievements, and the benefits to their communities.
If you’ve ever considered applying for the Nature of Scotland Awards before, or if this is your first time hearing about them, this could be your year to win. It’s time to fill in your application!”
NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “The Nature of Scotland Awards are a celebration of everything that is inspiring, rewarding and transformative about protecting and restoring Scotland’s biodiversity. People are at the heart of the movement to tackle climate change and reverse nature loss, and it has never been more important to see restoration of our precious habitats on a large scale. We are looking forward to the stories and ideas this year’s entrants will champion at this critical time for Scotland’s nature.”
The shortlist for the awards will be announced in September, and the awards night will be held on 22 November. Applications for the Nature of Scotland Awards are now open until 30 May. For more information on the categories and to access the digital application form, search for “Nature of Scotland Awards” on the RSPB website now.