Focus on maintaining Scotland's natural resources
The National Trust for Scotland is putting a special focus on its National Nature Reserves this summer with support from the People’s Postcode Lottery.
The conservation charity’s eight National Nature Reserves - St Abbs Head, St Kilda, Ben Lawers, Glencoe, Staffa, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Mar Lodge Estate, and Beinn Eighe (Torridon) - will see more species monitoring, habitat restoration work, and regeneration efforts as part of the charity’s conservation and sustainability measures set out in its new ten-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, including an ambitious goal to become carbon negative by 2031/32.
This year’s support has enabled the delivery of a new biosecurity project. Heading up the project is Ellie Owen (pictured), who joins the Trust in the newly created role of Senior Seabird Officer. The role is supported by Tim and Kim Allan, members of the Trust’s Patrons’ Club, a generous group of donors who support the charity.
Ellie is a top seabird scientist who has specialised in puffins, seabird tracking, citizen science, and offshore windfarm impacts on seabirds.
The Biosecurity Project is part of the charity’s ‘Love for Nature’ strategy that safeguards Scotland’s natural heritage by preventing plants and animals that are not usually part of sensitive island ecosystems from reaching them. Ellie’s work will coordinate existing and new efforts to keep islands stowaway free and set up a rapid response team to be in place should issues arise.
Ellie will play a vital role across the three coastal and island National Nature Reserves within the Trust’s care, which are home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds each summer – Staffa, St Kilda, St Abb’s Head, as well as a host of other important sites including Fair Isle, Canna, Mingulay, Pabbay, Bernerey, Parts of Unst and Yell, Burg on Mull, and the Murray Isles in the Solway Firth.
Ellie Owen, seabird senior officer for the National Trust for Scotland, said: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Seabird Senior Officer for a charity that values conservation and nature. Across the country, there are people who love to visit our sites and want to see seabirds thrive in their natural environment. It’s our job to help monitor and conserve these seabirds and the islands and coastlines they inhabit.
“From guillemots and razorbills at St Abb’s Head, to puffins and fulmars on Unst, I look forward to working with the brilliant rangers and site managers on site-specific activities so that we can help to protect fragile seabird populations.”
Philip Long , chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said: “In our ten-year strategy, we set out bold ambitions in caring for and preserving not only Scotland’s built heritage, but also its vast natural landscapes.
“There is so much more to the Trust than many people may be aware of, with hundreds of thousands of seabird habitats in our care, almost every type of flora and fauna, and abundant and varied sea life; so much of thiscan be found within our National Nature Reserves.
"By focusing more of our conservation efforts in these special locations, we’re both improving habitats and biodiversity and taking further steps in our charity’s efforts to address the climate crisis and its affect on nature and biodiversity.
“National nature reserves are important for people too in the way that they provide very special places to enjoy the outdoors and the richness of nature. We are very grateful indeed to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for all they do to support nature, beauty and heritage.”