Highland newt expert shortlisted for Young Scot Environment Award

Trust-nominated finalist Callum Ullman-Smith recognised in red-carpet celebration

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Thirteen-year-old Callum Ullman-Smith, from Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire trod the Edinburgh International Conference Centre red carpet in late April - as a Young Scot Awards* finalist for the environment.

Callum, who achieved his John Muir Conserver Award in 2015, was nominated by the John Muir Trust in recognition of his passion, commitment and enthusiasm for biodiversity conservation.

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This specially commissioned two-minute film (click on the picture above) showcases how Callum spends his spare time helping to enhance the coastal environment around his Highland home. It highlights his ground-breaking research of newt populations unusually found in brackish and salty water, and his connections with the Highland Seashore Surveyors Group, and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

Although Callum didn’t win the Young Scot Environment Award he was thrilled with the whole experience, especially being referred to as Scotland’s young David Attenborough in front of a packed Conference Centre.

“I’ve had an interest in wild places and wildlife all my life, but especially newts. Perhaps it’s because I associate them with dragons that I imagined as a boy. Tonight’s been amazing and thanks to the John Muir Trust for the nomination. I‘m going to continue my research so who knows, I could be nominated again in the future.”

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John Muir Award Scotland Manager Toby Clark (pictured above with Callum) said: “It’s great that Callum’s nature volunteering has been recognised at such a prestigious event. His enthusiasm to share nature’s awe and wonder encourages others to care for it.

“All the finalists in all the categories told amazing stories. It’s inspiring, and it shows how much young people are contributing to life in Scotland today – notwithstanding their potential to influence Scotland tomorrow.”

* Now in its 10th year, the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards celebrate the inspirational contributions of thousands of young Scots who have made a real difference to communities across Scotland. The Awards are hosted by Young Scot, the national information and citizenship organisation supported by the Scottish Government for young people aged 11-26 in Scotland.