RSPB Scotland searches for top conservation heroes

Western Isles residents enjoy some of the best of Scotland's wildlife - including sea eagles like this - so who deserves to be recognised for helping island nature stay wild?
Western Isles residents enjoy some of the best of Scotland's wildlife - including sea eagles like this - so who deserves to be recognised for helping island nature stay wild?
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A national competition to crown the leading lights in the world of Scottish nature conservation gets under way this week.

The RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards is inviting entries from individuals and organisations across the country that go the extra mile to protect Scotland’s wildlife and the natural environment.

With fascinating species like red squirrel, golden eagle, basking sharks, great-yellow bumblebee, Caledonian pine and twinflower, Scotland is internationally renowned for its abundant wildlife and exhilarating wild places.

The annual event, organized by RSPB Scotland, aims to recognize national projects and local heroes, who demonstrate an innovative approach and work hard to protect and enhance the nation’s natural heritage.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “Every year, I am truly inspired by the number of high-quality entries we receive for the Nature of Scotland Awards.

“There are a tremendous number of individuals and organisations working hard to promote and protect our wildlife and natural environment, and we look forward to honouring them at this year’s awards.”

He continued: “Whether you are a volunteer, a member of a community group, involved in a conservation organisation or a public sector initiative, we invite you to enter the Nature of Scotland Awards and look forward to learning more about your work.

“We hope to inspire everyone to give nature a home in Scotland.”

Species and habitats as diverse as dolphins, wildcats, terns, machair and pine forests were the subjects of award-winning projects in previous years.

In 2014 the expert judging panel will be looking for the very best across eight categories including: Marine Conservation; Sustainable Development; Politician of the Year; Youth and Education; Community Initiative; RSPB Species Champion; Innovation, and Outstanding Contribution.

The closing date for entries is Friday 30 May 2014.

To find out more or submit an entry to the Nature of Scotland Awards, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/natureofscotland

The shortlist will be announced in August at a reception, sponsored by the Crown Estate, at the Scottish Parliament.

Winners will receive their trophies at a black-tie gala on November 20th at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh in front of 350 supporters.