My evening with Iolo (and Sandy the Squirrel)

Amy Styles and red squirrel mascot at Nature of Scotland Awards ceremony

OPAL partners TCV Scotland were Highly Commended for their Winter Woodlands Greenability Programme in the RSPB's Nature of Scotland Awards this week. OPAL Community Scientist, Amy Styles, was lucky enough to attend the glittering awards ceremony...

It was a privilege to be a part of a fantastic evening celebrating all the hard work that is going on across Scotland to protect Scotland's precious natural heritage.

Not only was it great to hear about and see all the fantastic projects happening all over Scotland but it was also fantastic to have two of our own projects chosen as finalists in the Community Initiative and Innovation categories.

The black tie event was hosted by wildlife TV presenter and BBC Springwatch star, Iolo Williams, who kept us highly entertained throughout the night with nature watching stories and anecdotes, including one about spotting his first Capercaillie whilst relieving himself in the woods! 

Volunteers and staff from our two projects, Space to Grow and Winter Woodland Greenability Programme were sat together for a lovely meal in anticipation of the results from the awards ceremony.

After the meal was the awards ceremony and we were delighted to receive a Highly Commended award for our Winter Woodlands Greenability Programme. 

Iolo Williams and Amy Styles at the RPSB's Nature of Scotland Awards ceremony

Winter Woodlands Greenability Programme was nominated under the Innovation category. This project worked with a wide range of people with disabilities, getting outside and closer to nature and wildlife.

We worked with a wide range of organisations and partners to bring people with disabilities outside in woodlands, to work together and to discover their local greenspaces and wildlife on their doorstep. The project showed a wonderful level of willingness and enthusiasm from the range of organisations to bring people with disabilities closer to nature. 

Child participating in Winter Woodlands Greenability activity

The Space to Grow project was nominated under the Community Initiative category. TCV Scotland's director Debbie Adams said: "Our Space to Grow programme was also nominated which was a great recognition of the work with residents in Glasgow transforming two underused courtyards into attractive colourful spaces for growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and wildflowers.

Unfortunately this was a hotly contested category and the group did not win on the night. I think the experience of being at the award ceremony was prize enough for the group and it was lovely to meet such an enthusiastic bunch".

The event was a great experience not only for myself but for the volunteers who were able to attend also!

- Amy Styles

Follow TCV Scotland on Twitter: @TCVScotland

Find out more