New awards showcase Scottish nature

An exciting new RSPB award scheme to celebrate very best achievements in Scottish Nature Conservation has opened for entries.

Scotland is renowned worldwide for its outstanding natural beauty and diverse wildlife. The new awards will honour exceptional achievement, excellence and innovation from those who work hard to overcome challenges and threats, and preserve our precious natural heritage, habitats and species.

Entries can be submitted under six different categories, including: the Marine Conservation Award; the Sustainable Development Award; the Politician of the Year Award; the Innovation Award; the Outstanding Contribution Award and the Species Champion Award.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “The challenges involved in protecting and nurturing Scotland’s special places and iconic species are ever more pressing. So many individuals, businesses and the public sector make a hugely valuable contribution to looking after our incredible natural heritage, and we feel the time is right to start celebrating such efforts.”

After the awards close on 26th August 2011, teams of internal and external experts specific to the category will compare the entries and in October submit a shortlist to the judging panel. The judging panel will include Stuart Housden OBE, BBC TV and radio presenter and wildlife expert Euan McIlwraith, respected naturalist, conservationist and author Sir John Lister-Kaye OBE and Dr Ian Jardine, Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Natural Heritage, who will then decide on the finalists, who will be presented with their awards at an even in early March 2012.

Stuart added: “We are delighted to be hosting these new awards, which will recognise the very best efforts made for the benefit of nature conservation in Scotland. My fellow panel judges and I are very much looking forward to hearing of these great success stories, and helping to bring them the recognition they deserve.”

Official sponsors of the awards include The Scotsman newspaper, The Black Grouse whisky and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

It is easy and free to enter, and nominations can be made at www.rspb.org.uk/natureofscotland where more information is available and entry forms can be downloaded.