Isle of May visitor centre named in RSPB awards shortlist

Isle of May National Nature Reserve Visitor Centre has been included in the shortlist
Isle of May National Nature Reserve Visitor Centre has been included in the shortlist

A Fife based project has been unveiled as a finalist in RSPB Scotland’s Nature of Scotland Awards 2015 which will be hosted by wildlife expert and TV presenter Iolo Williams.

The Isle of May National Nature Reserve Visitor Centre is in the running for the Nature Tourism Award. The centre was built by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to encourage people to understand the wildlife found on the island and to make connections between the seabirds and the health of the marine environment.

The finalists for the awards were revealed at a reception at the Scottish Parliament last night (September 10) hosted by Sarah Boyack MSP.

Projects on capercaillie, peatland restoration, natural play, and shellfish research were some of those to also make it onto the 2015 shortlist.

The awards celebrate the work done by so many people, projects and organisations across the country to conserve Scotland’s wonderful nature.

The judges were overwhelmed by the number of entries received this year and faced some tough decisions as they whittled them down to the list of finalists for the eight top prizes, including a new category this year for nature tourism.

The shortlist represents the diversity of those working to protect Scotland’s wonderful natural environment from charities, businesses, community trusts, the public sector, partnerships and individuals.

Euan McIlwraith, BBC TV and radio presenter and wildlife expert, Susan Davies, CEO of Scottish Natural Heritage and Sir John Lister-Kaye OBE, respected naturalist, conservationist and author are on the judging panel chaired by RSPB Scotland’s director Stuart Housden.

The winners will be announced at a black tie presentation dinner on November 19 in Edinburgh with Iolo Williams hosting the evening’s proceedings.

Iolo said: “I am absolutely delighted to be hosting RSPB Scotland’s Nature of Scotland Awards this year.

“Scotland is a wonderful country for wildlife and I have visited at least once a year for the past 12 years.

“It’s fantastic to see such a wide range of projects dedicated to conserving Scotland’s nature being shortlisted – the judges will certainly have a tough time choosing the eventual winners.

“I’m looking forward to the awards ceremony to meet old friends and to learn more about the wide range of projects that have been shortlisted this year, while celebrating their achievements.”

Now in their fourth year, the RSPB Scotland organised awards recognise and celebrate excellence, innovation and outstanding achievement in Scottish nature conservation. The awards are funded through support from a range of industry partners, and last night’s event was sponsored by Scottish Power.

Phil Henderson, head of UK government affairs at Scottish Power, said: “Scottish Power is delighted to continue to sponsor these awards which reward the outstanding achievements of those who preserve and enhance Scotland’s incomparable natural heritage.

“We are particularly pleased that the awards highlight the many ways that responsible development and nature conservation can go hand-in-hand, to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for the whole of Scotland.”