Trust awards £20k to ten Highlands and Islands communities

The John Muir Trust last year doubled the amount it awards to local community groups for conservation and nature based projects.

The John Muir Trust last year doubled the amount it awards to local community groups for conservation and nature based projects. The £20,000 will help support the creation of bird hides for wildlife recording equipment to mountain festivals and staff funding, the John The West Sutherland Fisheries Trust, the Assynt Foundation, the Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape project, and a group of Ullapool High School students were among eleven groups to have receive funding for conservation projects last year from the John Muir Trust.

The largest award – of £5,000 – was used to complete the funding of a tree nursery outreach worker, coordinates a range of activities from the Coighach-Assynt Living Landscape project, including school visits and conservation work parties

A further £2,500 helped the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust run a schools project in the Lochinver area to raise awareness of the plight of the Scottish freshwater pearl mussel. A total of 66 children from five primary schools were involved over four days – with one day spent in the classroom followed by a three-day field trip learning about river ecology.

Shona Marshall of the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust said: “This area is one of the main refuges for the pearl mussel so this introduction has been great for both the children and the mussel. And as well as learning a lot about the mussel and its environment, the children also had great fun.”

A grant of £1,000 allowed the Assynt Foundation to build specially designed, visually sensitive hides to allow wild life photographers to get close to the habitats of red and black-throated divers.

A funding package of £500 supported a memorable trip to Tanera Mor, the largest of the Summer Isles, for sixteen S1 pupils and three members of staff at Ullapool High School working towards a John Muir Award. Activities included orienteering, painting, rowing swimming, studying habitats, tree-planting and map-making.

Mike Daniels, Head of land and Science for the John Muir Trust, said: “Our Conservation Land Fund was established to help community projects on land that is either managed by the Trust or by community landowners that we work in partnership with.

“All of the applications last year were of a high standard. We’re delighted to be able to support such a diverse and imaginative range of projects that will help to strengthen the historic link between people and nature in one of the wildest and most beautiful coastal regions in Europe.”

The full of list of ten projects, along with funding details, is listed on a separate attachment.