Nature of Scotland Award categories

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Celebrating the inspiring people, projects, businesses and partnerships working hard to protect Scotland’s precious natural heritage, entries are now closed for the 2024 Nature of Scotland Awards. Judging is underway and we are looking forward to announcing the awards shortlist on the 24 September at the Scottish Parliament.    

Find out more about the ten award categories below. 

Business for Nature Award 

Sponsored by NatureScot 

Businesses have a critical role to play in fighting the nature and climate emergencies. We want to recognise those who can demonstrate a whole business approach to helping nature in Scotland.   

As a business, the decisions you make can have a positive impact for Scotland’s habitats and wildlife – business can benefit nature. This award celebrates companies which grasp the opportunity with both hands and go beyond token gestures towards saving nature. We want to hear from businesses in all sectors and of all sizes – from the small businesses using their knowledge of local wildlife to the sector leaders – making real changes for nature.    

Tell us what you've achieved for nature, and how this fitted with your corporate objectives.  We’re looking for evidence of nature having truly benefitted, not just offsetting. Explain how your business has taken steps to tackle biodiversity loss, actively reduced its environmental footprint or gone above and beyond normal business practice to benefit nature. Applications will be judged based on the impact achieved in proportion to the size of business and available resource. 

Coasts and Waters Award 

Sponsored by Scottish Water 

From leaping Salmon and playful Otters, to industrious Beavers and internationally important seabirds, Scotland’s seas, lochs and rivers are home to some of our most iconic animals. And beneath the surface our waters teem with lesser known, but no less important species, including deepwater corals, colourful anemones and even Basking Sharks. But many of these special species are under threat and need our help.   

That’s why we want to hear from you if you’re involved with research, partnerships or schemes that help support or protect nature in Scottish waters, whether marine or freshwater.  Apply now so your project can get the recognition it deserves.    

This award celebrates the outstanding contributions that are helping restore nature and letting it thrive in Scottish marine and freshwater habitats. Whether it’s an innovative project that has had real impact or someone who is connecting people with marine or freshwater habitats, we want to hear from you.

Community Initiative Award

Sponsored by GreenPower 

Whether they offer a peaceful spot to relax or somewhere for the kids to let off steam, green spaces can play a really important part in the lives of people local to them. But all too often nature is being pushed out of our neighbourhoods. This award will go to an outstanding community-based initiative that has taken clear, positive steps to make wildlife welcome. The project should be developed and led by the people it serves, acting as an inspiration to others and offering real value to the whole community.   

If your community has united to take action for nature in your local area, we encourage you to share your story. Tell us all about how you brought your community together, developed innovative ideas and made a positive impact both for nature and local people.  

Farming with Nature Award

The way we produce food, both here in Scotland and across the world, has a huge impact on nature. Evidence shows that the loss of traditional farming practices and the move towards more intensive ways of producing food has led to a decline in wildlife, as well as higher greenhouse gas emissions. Since agriculture covers around 70% of the land in Scotland, the way we farm can transform the fortunes of nature for better or worse. By switching to a more nature-friendly approach, farming can help to reverse the declines in wildlife and protect the life-support systems we all rely on, like clean air and water.   

Scotland’s farmers and crofters have a crucial role to play, not only in producing food but also in protecting our climate, soils and wildlife. If you’re a land manager, or work for a business or organisation that’s doing things differently, the Farming with Nature Award is for you. By applying for this award, you’ll be able to highlight your efforts to support nature and the climate within a profitable farming business. Remember to let us know what nature- and climate-friendly practices you’ve adopted to reduce your environmental impact.   

Health and Wellbeing Award

Nature is vital for our wellbeing. Connecting to nature has been shown to improve mood, reduce feelings of stress, help people to feel more relaxed and improve physical health too. Developing this connection and experiencing the health benefits it brings can blossom into a life-long love of nature and spur people into taking action to protect the natural world.   

This award celebrates initiatives that encourage people to engage with nature for their mental and/or physical health and promote this important reciprocal relationship with nature. We welcome entries from individuals, communities or organisations whose work can demonstrate both the positive impact of nature on human health and how this inspires people to take more action for nature and the planet.   

In particular, we’re keen to hear about projects that focus on inclusion and reach people who face additional barriers to engaging with nature, whether that’s through digital projects or outdoor adventure schemes. We're also looking for entrants to show how they've involved beneficiaries, local people and communities in developing and overseeing the work.  

Innovation Award 

Sponsored by The James Hutton Institute 

Nature is in crisis: one in nine species in Scotland are at risk of national extinction, and we are running out of time to save them. Now is the moment for trailblazers to step up and channel their skills to turn the tide in nature’s favour.    

Have you pioneered a first-of-its-kind project focused on saving nature? Did you take a new approach to conservation? Has your initiative or partnership broken new ground in the fight to protect habitats? If so, you’re just what we’re looking for! 

This award is a salute to the innovators on nature’s side. Whether you’re involved in a campaign, study, habitat restoration project or other initiative, take pride in being different from the rest and make sure you get your application in. We want to celebrate and champion innovators so they can inspire others to protect Scottish nature.  

Nature and Climate Action Award

Sponsored by Scottish Power Renewables

The climate crisis isn’t a far-off, future problem – we’re seeing and feeling its effects already and it poses the single greatest threat to nature. Yet nature can be a key ally in our fight against climate change.  

This award focuses on “nature-based solutions” that help us reduce emissions and adapt to climate change whilst also restoring biodiversity. If they are restored and managed positively for nature, some habitats and landscapes, such as peatlands, woodlands, saltmarshes and even urban greenspaces, can lock away vast quantities of carbon and increase our resilience to the extreme weather events that are set to become more common.  

We’re looking for individuals, projects or organisations who are harnessing the power of nature to tackle or adapt to climate change. It could be through harnessing innovative technology, research or a restoration project.   

Nature Tourism Award

Sponsored by VisitScotland

Tourism offers people the opportunity to discover the awe-inspiring beauty of nature and to experience unforgettable encounters with wildlife.

This award seeks to recognise tourism businesses and initiatives that are going beyond simply reducing their negative impact on the environment and are making a positive difference for nature. Whatever the size of your business, we want to hear from you if you are a champion of responsible tourism, if you are supporting Scotland develop as a sustainable destination and have implemented nature-based solutions that protect, restore or create thriving natural habitats.  

Projects can be achieved by a single business or in collaboration with other sector or community partners. All applications will be judged based on what you’ve achieved in relation to the size and scale of your business. Smaller initiatives might involve growing pollinator-friendly plants, for example, while larger ones might be supporting the restoration of some of Scotland’s iconic habitats. Whatever the scale of your project, we’re keen to find out how you’re taking action for nature.  

RSPB Species Champion Award

Sponsored by The Ardmore 

One person’s passion for the natural world can be the catalyst for huge positive change for wildlife. That’s why we’re on the lookout for an exceptional individual who has dedicated themselves to improving the fortunes of vulnerable Scottish species. Could that be you? Or perhaps you’d like to nominate an unsung hero who is overdue recognition for their brilliant work?  

When submitting your application, remember to highlight how you or your nominee have made a difference for nature, whether that’s through conservation and research, or a knack for inspiring others. Help us understand what makes them so special and why they deserve the Species Champion crown.  

Youth Action Award 

Sponsored by SSEN

For many conservationists, their fiery passion for saving nature was ignited at a young age. If you're aware of a group of budding wildlife enthusiasts who are delivering real benefits for nature, we want to hear about what they’ve achieved!   

This award honours groups of children and young people (up to 25 years old) who are making a difference to Scotland’s wildlife and habitats. Perhaps they’ve got hands-on by making their green spaces better for wildlife, influenced others to make more nature-friendly choices, or conducted a citizen science project that helped nature or their community?  

Give your application the best chance of scooping the top spot by telling us how the young people involved acted for the benefit of nature and give us examples of what they did to protect wildlife or habitats. Eco-Schools and Green Flag members need to show they have gone beyond the scheme requirements.