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      General News

Three Western Isles projects were recognised at the Nature of Scotland awards at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre yesterday (Wednesday 22 November).

Work to protect biodiversity, restore landscape and explore protective measures for wildlife in the islands featured among the winners and some of those highly commended on the night.

Winner of the coasts and waters award was Biosecurity for LIFE, which works on the protection of seabirds from invasive predators like black rats and mice on islands including St Kilda, the Shiants, the Flannan Isles, Mingulay and Sula Sgeir.

Judges said “Their work has been groundbreaking in protecting Scotland's seabird islands.”

NatureScot’s PeatlandACTION project, which has been working on peatland restoration in areas including South Lochs and the Carloway Estate, was highly commended in the landscape restoration category.

And highly commended in the food and farming category was an experimental fenceless grazing project to keep cattle from areas used as nesting sites by corncrakes.

Corncrake calling – fenceless grazing for corncrakes and crofters, was trialled on the North Dell croft of Donald ‘Sweeny’ MacSween, and involved Highland cattle wearing ‘no-fence’ collars and grazing areas of crofts that weren’t being grazed due to lack of fencing.

The RSPB team from the Outer Hebrides were well represented at the awards ceremony. RSPB islands manager Thomas Churchyard accepted the award for the Biosecurity for LIFE project, having worked on the project before joining the Outer Hebrides team earlier this year.

Shona Morrison and Tara Proud received the highly commended award on behalf of the Corncrake Calling project.

Fantastic to see the work the team have been doing in the Outer Hebrides getting recognition in the various categories.

Pictures show the winning announcement for the seabird protection project, Sweeny’s shortlisted fenceless grazing project and the RSPB Outer Hebrides team collecting the awards (RSPB/Nature of Scotland awards).