URRAS Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) has welcomed funding of £35,000 – secured through the LEADER programme, Scottish Natural Heritage’s Community Action Fund and RSPB – which will be used for the installation of a nature observatory at Loch Stiapabhat Local Nature Reserve.
Loch Stiapabhat is the largest eutrophic loch in Lewis and is situated on the main flyway from and to the Arctic. It attracts migrant, and vagrant, bird species. It is the first fresh water found by bird migrating from Iceland and Greenland in autumn, for washing, drinking and feeding, and the last for those returning in Spring. It attracts a remarkably diverse range of birdlife
This new project has been put together with considerable input from local users of the reserve, working in partnership with the John Muir Trust and the RSPB.
The Trust have played a key role in the project development and have taken on responsibility for the management of the project, which aims to not only revitalise community interest in the Local Nature Reserve, but will provide a high quality eco-tourism facility at the north end of Lewis.
Lisa Maclean, Commercial Development Manager at Galson Estate Trust commented: “We want to encourage visitors to spend time in this part of the island, but we also want to support the community to enjoy what is on their doorstep.
“We have worked in partnership with the local John Muir Trust officer, the local RSPB Conservation Officer and a small group of local users to get the project to this stage and we very much look forward to the new observatory being in place.”
She added: “We are keen to expand our existing events programme to make full use of the new facility and to provide opportunities for people to learn about, and care for, the loch and its wildlife.”
The new nature observatory will boast a range of high quality and innovative interpretation media, all of which will be aimed at helping people find out more about the loch.
Advice has been sought on design from the RSPB and The John Muir Trust and initial designs and project plans will be shared with the community. It is anticipated that work will start on the new nature observatory will commence in August 2013.
The Trust business centre in conjunction with the RSPB will host a Sea Eagle Talk on Thursday 9th May at 7.30pm in the business centre at Galson. This event will give the community and visitors a chance to discuss the project and see the initial designs.
For more information on the project, events and work of Galson Estate Trust please visit www.galsontrust,com or call the office on 01851 850393.