New species conservation programme, Species on the Edge, launches their activity in the north coast

11 May 2023

Species on the Edge, a new multi-species conservation programme, will kick off its activity in the north coast of Scotland with a launch event on Sunday 21 May at Dunnet Community Forest from 11am until 2pm.

Plantlife, the international conservation charity working to secure a world rich in wild plants and fungi, are leading the north coast programme of activity. Activity in the north coast area will primarily focus on supporting Scottish Primrose, Oyster Plant, Purple Oxytropis, Great Yellow Bumblebee and Small Blue Butterfly, as well as investigating whether Medicinal Leech and Plantain Leaf Beetle are present here.

Species on the Edge is a new bold and ambitious partnership programme of eight conservation organisations, all dedicated to improving the fortunes of 37 priority species found along Scotland's coast and islands. Programme activity is spread over seven project areas: the Inner Hebrides and Argyll; Solway; East Coast; North Coast; Orkney; Shetland; and the Outer Hebrides. 

The Species on the Edge partnership consists of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, The Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, NatureScot, Plantlife and RSPB Scotland. Together the eight organisations will be delivering a four-and-a-half-year programme of action, working closely with local communities to help them tackle the impacts of environmental change on wildlife, to benefit both nature & people. The programme has a cost of over £6.5 million, with £4m of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Throughout the four-and-a-half-year programme, Species on the Edge Project Officers will be connecting with communities, land managers, organisations, and charities to help protect our unique local wildlife. The programme will be offering local people opportunities to gain new skills and knowledge through workshops, training and volunteering.  

Sarah Bird, Senior Project Officer, says “The north coast is home to some of Scotland’s most beautiful and most vulnerable wildlife. Come along to our launch event to find out more about Species on the Edge on the north coast, and see how you can join in this exciting project to help our wonderful wildlife. Together, we can help protect fragile species that are found in this area.

On the day, people will have the chance to help us survey potential sites for a new butterfly bank and to take home some kidney vetch seed to grow to benefit local wildlife. There will be fun activities for children as well as plenty of cake!  So whoever you are, whether you’re an experienced biological recorder or completely new to conservation and just want to find out more, we’d love to see you.”

The four-year programme of conservation action will include community-based work that aims to creatively inspire and enthuse people about their natural environment and explore the values and concerns that communities hold in relation to conservation work on the north coast. Led by Louise Senior, People Engagement Officer, this aspect of the programme kicks off on the north coast with a series of ‘Watercolour Wellbeing Workshops’ delivered by Plantlife’s artist in residence, Iris Hill. Sessions are planned in Durness, Skerray and Castletown. To find out more, please contact [email protected]

Look out for the Species on the Edge national launch event in Logie Quarry, Tain, on Saturday 3 June.

Find out more about Species on the Edge on their website.

And follow along with the programme on Twitter (@SpeciesEdge) and on Facebook.