John Muir Trust ambassador scoops top youth award

Trust nominated young film-maker and bushcraft leader’s commitment to wild places recognised by top Young Scot environment award

Young scot awards 2017 zeki ian jardine 1 detail

Zeki Basan, a 17-year-old from Morayshire, was judged Young Scot of the Year 2017 in the Environment category.

The annual Young Scot Awards – billed as Scotland’s biggest celebration of young people – took place in Glasgow at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Clyde Auditorium at the end of April.

Zeki had been nominated by the John Muir Trust for his commitments to sharing the value of wild places with others. [He is pictured below with 'John Muir' aka John Muir Award Scotland Manager Toby Clark who was there to congratulate him on his award.]

Young Scot Awards 2017 - Zeki with Toby

Early commitment

The Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger scheme helped set Zeki on a path to achieve all three levels of the John Muir Award, and a place at the School of Adventure Studies on Skye – where the teenager lived in a tipi for a year. Zeki honed is bushcraft skills helping deliver outdoor personal development sessions to disadvantaged young people, and developed his eye for film-making following in Muir’s footsteps in Yosemite, and closer to home along the John Muir Way.

Zeki also joined adventurer, author, filmmaker and blogger Alastair Humphreys presenting at the John Muir Trust’s Spirit of John Muir 2016 event. He is currently planning a trip to Alaska to complete the final film of his John Muir trilogy.

Good for the planet

Zeki accepted his award at the nature-themed green carpeted ceremony saying: “I’m dyslexic, so school wasn’t great. The natural environment for me was my education, somewhere I could be myself and achieve. Now, I want to reach out to young people – who are the future. I want to encourage understanding about nature, how it is good for people, and how this is good for the planet.”

“Thanks to the John Muir Trust for all the support I’ve received, and of course for nominating me for the Young Scot Award – I’m delighted to have been chosen, especially given the other amazing people who were shortlisted.”

Other notable winners included British record holder and gold medal winning athlete Laura Muir (Sport Award), and up-and-coming young talented actor Lewis MacDougall who has already received rave reviews for his performances in movies ‘Pan’ and ‘A Monster Calls’.

Dedication recognised

Ian Jardine, Chief Executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, attended the Young Scot Awards event, and congratulated Zeki [both pictured at the top of the page]: “I’m delighted that Zeki’s dedication to our natural world has been recognised by this Young Scot Environment Award tonight. He is clearly a talented young man who has been inspired by John Muir."

“The message that wild places should be enjoyed and valued by everyone in Scotland is so much stronger coming from a young person. Well done Zeki.”

Through a funding partnership, Scottish Natural Heritage supports the John Muir Trust to manage the John Muir Award across Scotland.

  • Find out more about Zeki in this short film that was showcased at the Young Scot Awards ceremony.
  • Zeki is currently looking for sponsors and supporters to help realise his third and final film expedition following in Muir’s footsteps to Alaska. You can contact Zeki via his website.