COAST nominated for nature champion of the decade award

COAST community members celebrate the establishment of the Arran Marine Protected Area.

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The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) has been nominees for the nature champions of the decade award in the RSPB Scotland’s 10th anniversary Nature of Scotland Awards.

The awards, co-sponsored by NatureScot, will recognise the individuals and organisations making a difference in their local communities to support Scotland’s wildlife and special places.

A total of 52 initiatives from across Scotland have been shortlisted across nine categories and COAST has been nominated in a special 10th anniversary accolade for nature champions of the decade, which will be decided by a public vote from a selection of previous winners from the last 10 years.

Over the last 25 years, COAST has accomplished a number of conservation achievements that have been recognised locally and celebrated globally. Among these achievements are establishing the UK’s first community-led No Take Zone and the South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA). These, according to research, have resulted in an increase of approximately 80 per cent of marine life abundance in the seas around Arran.

This success has led to Arran and Scotland being regarded as international leaders in community-led marine conservation efforts, including co-founder Howard Wood winning the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015. COAST continues to promote and advocate for coastal community voices, and has opened the UK’s first community-based MPA Discovery Centre to help further promote this cause.

Members of the public are encouraged to vote for their favourite cause and the winners of all of the categories will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday November 17, when the nature champions of the decade will also be announced.

Jenny Crockett, COAST’s outreach and communications manger said: ‘We are truly humbled to be shortlisted. COAST and the local community have worked tirelessly over the last 25 years to prove to others that local communities can demand and effect change to protect their environment – this hard-work is recognised in receipt of this incredible nomination. We are up against some other fantastic projects, including some of who we work with in the marine world; every vote really does count so please, take two minutes to support community marine conservation.’

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland said: ‘The last 18 months have reignited many people’s love for nature, highlighting its importance to all aspects of our lives – be it our health, the economy, or wellbeing.

‘This is reflected in the exceptionally high standard of entries for our 10th anniversary Nature of Scotland Awards, and I would urge everyone to vote for their Nature Champions of the Decade!’

You can vote for COAST by visiting the RSBP Nature of Scotland Awards website and following the links to nature champions of the decade. Voters have until midnight on Sunday October 3 to cast their votes.

Photographs: COAST

COAST community members celebrate the establishment of the Arran Marine Protected Area back in 2016. No_B39Coast01

A UK first, the community led COAST Discovery Centre in Lamlash. No_B39Coast02