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16 June, 2014

Volunteer wins recognition for work on nature reserves

An environmental volunteer has won an award for his work on three National Nature Reserves in Argyll.

32 -year-old Colin Reid has been named Individual Volunteer of the Year by Argyll Voluntary Action for his work on Taynish, Glasdrum and Moine Mhor National Nature Reserves (NNRs).

Colin is one of many volunteers around the country who are contributing to the management of Scotland’s NNRs. The volunteers enjoy the health benefits that come with being outside in some of the country’s most spectacular settings with the most fantastic wildlife.

Management of Scotland’s 47 NNRs is overseen by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Chairman, Ian Ross, is a former volunteer himself. He said the reserves are ideal places for people to learn new skills and gain valuable experience working with like-minded people, as well as helping to improve the environment.

Commenting on Colin’s award, he said: “I am delighted to hear that Colin has won this award. His commitment to these wonderful sites is commendable and he is an inspiration to us all. People who take part in environmental volunteering develop practical and social interpersonal skills. They gain a sense of achievement, self-confidence and self-esteem. These are all qualities that can help them make a massive contribution to society. This type of volunteering also helps young people build a connection with the natural world and sustain a life-long interest in its care.”

Colin Reid was the original member of the Argyll NNRs Thursday work parties. Since 2010, he has volunteered at Taynish, Moine Mhor and Glasdrum reserves, making a significant contribution to the preservation of Scotland’s nature.

This includes helping to improve habitat for the vulnerable marsh fritillary butterfly as well as controlling invasive plant species. Colin has attended workshops on invasive plant species control and has the necessary skills and knowledge to prevent regrowth of targeted plants.

He has also assisted with a variety of infrastructural maintenance and development projects. Two of these involved the stabilization and conversion of the Victorian Piggery and the Mill on Taynish NNR into open air exhibition venues.

Colin also volunteers at Auchindrain three days a week. He has taken the opportunity to be trained in the skill of dry stone walling and obtained his “Strimmer Licence”. Both of these skills have been extensively used by SNH, with Colin significantly contributing to the up keep and reconstruction of dry stone walls at Taynish. In summer his strimming skills are put to good use when unwanted vegetation regrowth along paths needs to be knocked back.

In autumn after all the leaves have dropped to the ground, Colin is instrumental in the clearing of drainage ditches and the removal of leaves from the reserves’ foot paths. In winter scrub clearance is the order of the day. Many of these tasks are carried out in less than pleasant weather conditions but this has never deterred Colin, who is always available and willingly comes in on Thursdays.

Colin knowing his way round the reserve and the logistics involved when certain tasks are undertaken, is a great help in welcoming new members to the team and organizing the tools and equipment required.

On winning the award Colin said:

"I am so happy to have won this award. I enjoy working with SNH because all the staff are so friendly and helpful and I really like being part of a team. I have learnt lots of new skills and made good friends over the years. Without the help of all these people and SNH supporting me I would never have won this award. My Mum & Dad took me out for a meal after the Award Ceremony, so we all had a great day."

In the past year SNH has supported around 90,000 environmental and wildlife volunteering opportunities, directly on NNRs or through grants to organisations such as the Trust for Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and Community Services Volunteers (CSV). Many of these volunteers are young people but the majority are aged between 45 and 74.

Much of the environmental volunteering that takes place involves taking part in practical tasks to help manage and improve sites. However, increasingly volunteers are also getting involved in collecting data and information. This is known as citizen science and studies have estimated that this work across the UK is worth more than £20 million a year.

SNH chairman, Ian Ross, added: “The hard work and commitment of environmental volunteers benefits communities, nature and landscape. The economy also benefits through the increased employability of volunteers and by reducing public costs for health services and environmental projects. Our vision is to see more people in Scotland taking positive actions for nature and wildlife and enjoying the many benefits to their quality of life and well-being as a result. There can be very few places better to do this than on one of Scotland’s spectacular national nature reserves.”


Contact information

Dominic Shann
Job Title
Media Relations Officer
01463 725157

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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Award winner Colin with proud parents: Award winner Colin with proud parents

Award winner Colin with proud parents

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