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20 Sept 2022

Vital support for our National Nature Reserves

A woman wearing a red helmet and red floatation jacket stands on a rocky ledge beside a sea inlet. Large rock stacks stand just off shore behind her.
Dr Ellie Owen, our new Senior Seabird Officer, will lead a new biosecurity project.
Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has enabled us to carry out important conservation work at our National Nature Reserves.

We look after eight National Nature Reserves (NNRs) – St Abb’s Head, St Kilda, Ben Lawers, Glencoe, Staffa, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Mar Lodge Estate and Beinn Eighe (Torridon) – and we are excited to be able to carry out more conservation work at these places, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This work will include more species monitoring, habitat restoration and regeneration efforts, all part of our charity’s conservation and sustainability measures set out in our new ten-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone.

Since 2012, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised over £1.7 million (awarded by the Postcode Earth Trust) to help us carry out vital work to protect Scotland’s heritage. This year’s generous support has enabled the delivery of a new biosecurity project. Heading up the project is Dr Ellie Owen, who joins the Trust in the newly created role of Senior Seabird Officer. The role has also been supported by Tim and Kim Allan, members of the Trust’s Patrons’ Club.

Ellie is a top seabird scientist who specialises in puffins, seabird tracking, citizen science and offshore windfarm impacts on seabirds. The biosecurity project is part of our ‘Love for Nature’ project that aims to safeguard 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 both existing and new efforts to protect our islands. She will also set up a rapid response team in case any issues arise.

Ellie will play a vital role across our three coastal and island NNRs – Staffa, St Kilda and St Abb’s Head – which are home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds each summer. However, a host of other important sites will also benefit, including Fair Isle, Canna, Mingulay, Berneray & Pabbay, parts of Unst & Yell, Burg on Mull, and the Murray Isles in the Solway Firth.

Ellie said: ‘I am delighted to be taking on the role of Senior Seabird 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.’

“I look forward to working with the brilliant rangers and site managers on site-specific activities so we can help to protect fragile seabird populations, from guillemots and razorbills at St Abb’s Head to puffins and fulmars on Unst.”
Dr Ellie Owen
Senior Seabird Officer, National Trust for Scotland

Philip Long OBE, 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 this can 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.’

Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Laura Chow, said:

‘Scotland’s seabird colonies are globally important but are facing unprecedented challenges, so we are delighted that funds raised by our players are being used to support this vital work. People’s Postcode Lottery was created to provide long-term support to charities, and we are proud the National Trust for Scotland has already received more than £1.7 million. In fact, by playing together and winning together, our players across Britain have now raised a total of more than £900 million for over 9,000 good causes. Protecting wildlife and safeguarding the natural environment are two of our priorities, and we look forward to hearing more about the impact of this project in the years ahead.’

Over the last 90 years, the Trust has pioneered public access to and shared ownership of some of the most magnificent buildings, collections and landscapes in Scotland.

Find out more about our ambitious plans to protect and preserve Scotland’s rich natural and built heritage

Our Strategy

Our new strategy – Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone – provides a framework for the future of the National Trust for Scotland as we look towards our centenary in 2031.