The National Trust for Scotland and the University of Highlands and Islands have joined forces to establish a new educational award for students of land management in the Year of Young People.
The Dick Balharry Prize has been created in memory of one of Scotland’s most acclaimed naturalists. This £3,000 travel bursary aims to provide young people who are studying in a wide range of land management subjects, including estate management, forestry and agriculture, with the chance to travel to further their experience, studies and employability.
Dick Balharry had worked as a gamekeeper, stalker, ecologist and land manager throughout his career, before going on to serve as Chair of the John Muir Trust and the National Trust for Scotland. He spoke of the importance of a trip to the US in influencing his own views on land management, access and conservation.
The prize is open to students registered to attend the University of Highlands and Islands’ Integrated Land Use Conference – Future of the Uplands – in March 2018. Stage one applications must be submitted by 29 January.
Stuart Brooks, Head of Natural Heritage Policy at the National Trust for Scotland said:
“Dick was committed to Scotland, involving people in the future of its land and its wildlife, and was a passionate advocate on these topics all through his life, educating and enthusing many young people along the way. We know he would be pleased to be honoured in this way, encouraging more young people to become involved in the work to protect Scotland’s unique natural heritage. It is especially fitting that the theme of this year’s conference is uplands, as Dick was passionate about our mountains and the many species that can be found there.”
Dr Sue Engstrand, subject network leader for science, technology and the environment at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “We are delighted to see the launch of the Dick Balharry prize. The ethos of the Integrated Land Use Conference, which has been running since 2012, is to encourage those with different interests in land use and management to learn about each other and from each other, and to identify opportunities to work together to get the most from our land.
“This prize will enable its recipients to really extend that learning by travelling and exploring how things are done in other parts of the world – a wonderful opportunity. Dick spoke at the University of the Highlands and Islands 2013 Annual Lecture about the importance of the Highlands and Islands’ natural resources and how they can be maintained and managed to benefit all who live or work in the area. We are pleased that this prize will help our future land managers to play their part in this task, shaping a landscape for all.”
Dick Balharry served as Chair of the National Trust for Scotland from 2009–10. After his death in April 2015, the charity announced plans to create an education programme as a memorial to his contribution to conservation in Scotland and beyond.