The awards are designed to celebrate excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement in nature conservation. In my welcome speech, I took the chance to highlight two of the categories that particularly interested me.
The first was the award for marine conservation. This is a significant time for our seas, and so much is ongoing to better enhance and protect our marine ecosystems, habitats, and species. The Environment, Climate Change, Land Reform had a fact finding trip to the Isle of Mull this summer, and on a marine tourism boat trip we were very lucky to spot Minke whales, porpoises, and sea eagles. Marine Protected Areas are vital, and that day reminded me how there is to celebrate in the contribution of organisations and volunteers.
The other category close to my heart is the Youth and Education Award. The commitment of teachers and youth workers, and the passion of young people, is an inspiration to us all.
I was of course delighted to be nominated myself for Political Advocate of the Year – this was such a surprise and honour!
It is also very exciting to see some nominees from South Scotland; the Clyde Valley Orchard Co-operative and Whitmuir Organic Farm are both well deserving nominees.
Congratulations to all nominees, which you can view here: