Gledpark Deer Park at Borgue provided the perfect setting on ‘International Day for Biological Diversity’ to be the latest business in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere to be awarded the Biosphere Certification Mark.
Eight businesses from a cross section of industries ranging from food, tourism, forestry, horticulture and publishing have now been recognised for supporting sustainability and biodiversity in the Biosphere.
Chris Miles, recently retired Regional Manager for SNH and former chair of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Natural Heritage group made the awards yesterday (Wednesday 22 May) alongside Emma Harper, MSP South Scotland.
He commented “It’s fantastic to see businesses in the region recognising the opportunities that the UNESCO Biosphere presents by promoting and enhancing their sustainability credentials and particularly apt to be making these awards on International Biodiversity Day when we should all be looking at how we can change our actions to benefit the natural world. The Biosphere vision is all about benefiting people and nature.”
Emma Harper MSP said, “I was pleased to have been invited to attend and present the awards for the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere event. I congratulate the eight businesses from the Dumfries & Galloway and South Ayrshire area who have been awarded the Biosphere Certification Mark, the only part of the UK to have a developed quality mark.
“I am familiar with a number of the businesses receiving this award – including Rupert Shaw, who I have visited at his venison farm on numerous occasions – and understand the great passion there is among businesses to ensure sustainability for both their business and the environment which surrounds them.
“I look forward to arranging visits with all eight businesses to receive this award and to learn more about how their actions are benefiting and contributing to the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.”
The event host Rupert Shaw, Regional Chair of NFU Scotland and owner of Gledpark, runs 70 breeding hinds alongside a beef herd and renewable energy production. He received the Biosphere Certification Mark for his venison and said: “Receiving my Biosphere certification on National Biodiversity Day simply reinforces my belief that commercial farming and delivering for the environment do go hand in hand. I take great pride in my venison production and I am proud of where I live and farm in Kirkcudbright – in the heart of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.
“I have a customer base for my venison that includes cookery schools, hotels and restaurants and having this valuable certification provides them with further reassurance on the high standards of venison production and environmental protection that we deliver on our farm.”
The newly certified businesses also included Land Energy Girvan, Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Freelance Ranger, Galloway Flowers, Brookford B & B, Curly Tale Books, Nithbank Country Estate who along with Rupert Shaw celebrated by having a locally prepared Gledpark venison dish from a recipe produced by Ayrshire College Professional Cookery students specially for International Biological Diversity Day.
Joan Mitchell Chair of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership said “UNESCO’s Biospheres are the world’s only globally recognised designation for regions demonstrating excellence in sustainable development. Our Biosphere can bring real value to our rural businesses and communities by leveraging the powerful UNESCO brand. The Biosphere Certification Mark which is for both services and product labelling is a great recognition to those businesses supporting sustainability.”