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13 May 2024

10 years of positive impact on nature conservation

Written by Paul Williams
A woman stands on a cliff with another cliff and the sea in the background.
Fair Isle DR MPA Project Officer Katie Cubbon on the remote island.
The Trust is celebrating the 10th anniversary of funding support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Our charity is celebrating the 10th anniversary of funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and its profound and lasting impact on nature conservation at the special places in our care.

Last year, we were fortunate to benefit from £900,000 in funding, a testament to the unwavering support of People’s Postcode Lottery players. Their collective efforts have raised an impressive £3.4 million since 2014. Further funding has been confirmed for 2024/25 through the Postcode Earth Trust. This funding will be instrumental in supporting our conservation work across a diverse range of habitats, including coastal and marine areas, peatlands, wetlands, woodland and eight National Nature Reserves.

Players’ funding has supported the Love Our Nature project since 2022. This unique initiative is dedicated to protecting and promoting the wildlife, nature and landscapes in our care. One of the projects to benefit this year is the Fair Isle Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area (DR MPA), a pioneering endeavour in partnership with other environmental NGOs and government agencies. This funding has enabled us to conduct research as part of the country’s first-ever community-led project of its kind, coordinated by Project Officer Katie Cubbon from NatureScot.

Working on the Fair Isle DR MPA, which aims to better understand the island’s natural heritage by observing and measuring the health of its marine environment, was the perfect opportunity for Katie to continue her love affair with island life, having grown up on the Isle of Man and subsequently setting up home in the Orkney islands. Fair Isle DR MPA research will help to establish impactful conservation measures to safeguard Fair Isle’s aquatic habitats, their species, and the sustainability of the island’s community.

A woman in a snorkel swims though rusty steel submerged underwater.
Fair Isle DR MPA Project officer Katie snorkelling at Bidong island in Malaysia during a coral reef survey trip with Heriot-Watt University.

Katie said: ‘My role involves spending time on Fair Isle working with the community and other stakeholders to develop and oversee new and current research projects that will help us learn more about the island’s marine environment. Some of the current and ongoing projects that have taken place so far, thanks to the support provided by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the National Trust for Scotland’s Love Our Nature project, include the Fair Isle inshore fish survey, benthic habitat and species distribution modelling, and cetacean and seabird monitoring projects.

‘These projects contribute to a greater understanding of the distribution and health of species and habitats within the Fair Isle DR MPA. While it is too soon to draw any definitive conclusions from the early stages of baseline data collection, the initial research findings highlight the need for more, longer-term species monitoring work to be carried out. Further research fieldwork will take place this summer with the technology used to monitor species and habitats on the seabed alongside tagging seabird species to observe their behaviour.

‘The valuable contribution by players of People’s Postcode Lottery to support these research projects will help us to ensure the longevity and sustainability of these marine environments for the future. This research contributes to the wider conservation work the National Trust for Scotland carries out to care for, protect and share Scotland’s rich natural heritage for everyone.’

A woman stands behind a telescope on a cliff edge with the sea in the background.
A wide range of nature conservation projects have been supported, including seabird monitoring on St Kilda.

Some of the other projects to receive a funding boost this year include species and habitat monitoring projects as part of the Trust’s Plan for Nature, montane willow regeneration at Grey Mare’s Tail, re-establishing wetlands in Aberdeenshire, work to control invasive non-native species in Arran, new interpretation at Corrieshalloch Gorge, Glencoe and Glen Rosa, and employing seasonal staff at Grey Mare’s Tail, Killiecrankie and Ben Lawers.

A group of highland cows stand on a grassy hill next to a wooden sign that reads 'Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve'
Cattle conservation grazing at Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve to improve habitat biodiversity and encourage regeneration of mountain woodland and scrub.

Ali MacLeod, the Trust’s Head of Fundraising, said: ‘Love our Nature is a diverse programme of core and new activity and projects across the Trust’s wild places and National Nature Reserves, which has increased our capacity to deliver our conservation and engagement objectives, meaning we can do more for people, nature and the special places in our care. The invaluable support of People’s Postcode Lottery players has allowed us to trial new approaches, learn, build knowledge, create momentum, and expand conservation projects to other nature sites. Funding for the new season, alongside the continued generosity of our members and supporters, will enable our charity to enrich these places of extraordinary beauty and support our work to protect and enhance these important natural assets to provide access to nature, beauty and heritage for everyone, now and in the future.’

To mark the 10th anniversary of the valuable contribution made by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Trust has highlighted the impact the support for our Love our Nature project has made. Since 2022 alone, this has included:

  • Expansion of engagement activity across the wild places and National Nature Reserves in our care by supporting the employment of 17 staff members, including nine rangers at the reserves, who engage with visitors about conservation practices to protect various species and habitats while ensuring responsible and sustainable access.
  • Conservation grazing at Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve with cattle used to improve the habitat and biodiversity at the reserve by grazing and churning up the soil to encourage seed dispersal to promote natural regeneration of mountain woodland and scrub.
  • Access improvements, with the construction of new footpaths and interpretation at Corrieshalloch Gorge Gateway to Nature, near Ullapool.
  • Opportunities to test new approaches, learn and build knowledge which have enabled us to leverage funding from other stakeholders and supporters including a new boat at St Abb’s Head to assist with seabird and seal monitoring during the breeding season at the important seabird colony.
  • Supporting the Scottish Landscape Alliance, an advocacy group raising awareness of the importance of Scotland’s landscapes to climate resilience, biodiversity, economic performance, and public health and wellbeing.
A person in high vis, wearing a helmet and gloves, cuts back rhododendron.
Project Wipeout tackled over 40 hectares of non-native invasive plant species across Trust places.

The impact made by historical projects supported by People’s Postcode Lottery includes tackling over 40 hectares of non-native invasive plant species across Trust places; regenerating over 2,028 hectares of Scotland’s native habitats, including Caledonian pinewoods and protecting rare species of flora, including green shield moss, twinflower and montane willow at Mar Lodge Estate, near Braemar; planting over 40,000 trees to regenerate 27 hectares of native upland birch woodland at the foot of Goatfell on Arran; improving access and creating new all-ability trails and play parks at Culzean Castle in South Ayrshire; and creating opportunities to learn traditional skills like carpentry and construction for young offenders, school children, community groups and volunteers by building a nature hide in the grounds of Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Laura Chow, said: ‘It’s amazing to see the scale of the impact made by our players to support important conservation work being carried out by organisations like the National Trust for Scotland to help protect our important habitats and wildlife. By playing together and winning together, People’s Postcode Lottery players are having a positive impact on Scotland’s breathtaking landscapes and the nature that call them home, for the benefit of everyone.’

A woman in the driver's seat of a land rover leans out of the open window with a child in the back seat. A mountain is in the background.
Engagement Ranger Lindsay Warner at Glencoe, whose role is supported by funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Love Our Nature project supports the Trust’s vision to care for, protect and share Scotland’s nature, beauty and heritage for everyone, as outlined in our 10-year strategy, launched in 2022.

Two logos side by side. One reading: People's Postcode Lottery and the other: Postcode Earth Trust

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