Top accolade for invasive species project

It was success for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative at RSPB Scotland’s Nature of Scotland Awards last week.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 8:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 8:05 am
School pupils helping to pull Himalayan balsam (Pic:Ewen Weatherspoon)

The Initiative won the Coasts and Waters Award amid a strong field of finalists.

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative, an ambitious partnership project, was recognised for its success in delivering an innovative community-based strategic approach to the management of Invasive Non-Native Species alongside rivers in northern Scotland. Invasive species are one of the top causes of biodiversity loss in the environment.

Scottish Invasive Species Initiative Project Manager Callum Sinclair was thrilled to hear the news.

Volunteers spraying giant hogweed

He said: “This is great recognition of our enthusiastic team and partners and, most important of all, of the commitment, dedication and motivation of our army of volunteers. We could not deliver our invasive plant and American mink control work without these volunteers and community groups and so this award recognises them above all else.

“We’d also like to congratulate the other winners and all the finalists – the standard of entries was outstanding. It was so inspiring to hear about all the amazing projects and conservation work happening across Scotland, especially that being done in schools.”

Co-sponsored by NatureScot, the awards recognise the very best in Scottish nature conservation, celebrating the inspirational people, projects, groups and schools working hard to protect Scotland’s precious natural heritage and making a difference in their local communities.

Ten winners were awarded in the virtual ceremony last Wednesday (November 17) which was hosted by BBC Landward’s Arlene Stuart.

Checking the mink monitoring raft for prints

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “The standard of entries for this year’s awards was excellent – especially when we consider how challenging the last two years have been for many.

“My fellow judges and I had a difficult job narrowing down our finalists to winners, as we saw some incredible examples of projects and initiatives from across the country – highlighting how much we value nature here in Scotland.

“I’d like to extend my congratulations to all of our winners, and a special congratulations to our Nature Champions of the Decade; Sunnyside Primary.

"The young people there have worked tirelessly over the years to introduce campaigns to support Scotland’s species and habitats. It is this attitude in our young people that will help support the conservation of Scotland’s nature for generations to come.”

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) is a five-year partnership project in northern Scotland led by NatureScot and involving many fishery boards and trusts and the University of Aberdeen. SISI is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and NatureScot.

The Trust / Board Partners include West Sutherland Fisheries Trust, Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust, Ness & Beauly Fisheries Trust, Findhorn Nairn & Lossie Fisheries Trust, Spey Fishery Board, Deveron Bogie & Isla Fishery Trust, River Dee Trust, Esks Rivers and Fisheries Trust and Tay District Salmon Fishery Board.