The Scottish Environment LINK, an organisation that brings together groups in Scotland to protect and enhance wildlife, landscape and the marine environment, has announced its MSP Nature Champion of the Year.
The award has been shared this year by Jenni Minto is the MSP Nature Champion for Scotland’s Rainforest (working with Woodland Trust Scotland and Plantlife Scotland), and Beatrice Wishart, the MSP Nature Champion for Orca, working with us at Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
The award celebrates a Member of the Scottish Parliament who has made a notable contribution over the year to the protection and recovery of a species or habitat. It is given based on their public awareness-raising efforts, and their broader advocacy impact.
Having completed WDC’s Shorewatch training programme, Beatrice is now a citizen science volunteer trained to carry out regular ten-minute whale and dolphin surveys and log her sightings on the Shorewatch database. This data then helps with marine conservation planning, influencing policy and development decisions to ensure better protection for whales and dolphins in the future. In the past, this work has helped create marine protected areas in the seas around Scotland.
Alongside her championing of orca, Beatrice has also demonstrated a commitment to the wider protection and recovery of Scotland’s marine environment. Earlier this year, she secured a debate in parliament which highlighted the need to protect marine life during the removal of unexploded underwater munitions, and raised awareness of the threat to whales and dolphins from current methods used to detonate these devices. Beatrice has also raised awareness of these issues and the threats to orca among her constituency through her column in the the Shetland Times.