Scottish Scouts initiative to safeguard the future of Golden Eagles hailed a success

16, May 2019

The first ever Scouts Golden Eagle Champions initiative to safeguard the future of Golden Eagles in the UK has been hailed a success by project founders and the volunteers and Cub Scouts from the Scottish Borders who piloted the initiative.

The project, led by the groundbreaking South of Scotland Golden Eagle project, features on BBC Scotland’s Landward this week (Thursday 16th May on BBC Scotland at 2030 and Friday 17th May on BBC1 Scotland at 1930).

Working closely with the Project team, The Scottish Borders Innerleithen Scout Group became the UK’s first ever Golden Eagle Champions, learning from experts and meeting one of the iconic birds for themselves.

Lady wearing a gauntlet on her arm, with a golden eagle perched on it.
South Scotland Golden Eagle Project - Traquair House.
Click for a full description

©South Scotland Golden Eagle Project.


Henry Happer (10) from the Borders’ Scouts group also designed a special badge for each of the group members to earn as part of their work on this project.


Child in a Scouts uniform holding a 'golden eagle champion' badge.
South Scotland Golden Eagle Project - Traquair House - golden eagle champion badge.
Click for a full description

©South Scotland Golden Eagle Project.

Speaking as the first Cub Scouts were presented with their badges in the grounds of Traquair House in Innerleithen, following a day of tree climbing and eyrie (nest) building on the estate with Wild Tree Adventures, Philip Munro, Community Outreach Officer for the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project said:

“It was fantastic to work on the UK’s first ever Golden Eagle Champions initiative with the Scottish Borders Innerleithen Scouts Group and their inspiring volunteers. The future of conservation depends on initiatives like this that encourage young people to get involved and make a difference. Volunteers with the Scottish Borders Scouts make a huge contribution to helping to safeguarding the future of iconic species like the Golden Eagle in the south of Scotland and beyond. We would encourage anyone interested in supporting their local community and conservation initiatives to get involved with the Scouts. It is an incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile cause. 

“There will also be some opportunities to volunteer with the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project and we would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.”


Volunteer helping 4 scouts build a replica golden eagles’ nest with twigs, branches and grass.
South Scotland Golden Eagle Project - Traquair House – scouts building a replica golden eagles’ nest.
Click for a full description

©South Scotland Golden Eagle Project.

Chris Kennedy, a volunteer with Scouts Scotland, currently leading their Innerleithen Scout Group, added: “We are really excited to be part of this incredible project to help protect Scotland’s Golden Eagles. This has been a fantastic opportunity for our Scouts to take a hands-on approach, working together with other people across our community as well as some of the country’s leading wildlife and raptor experts on such a hugely important issue. The young people involved will impact on our natural heritage for generations to come. It is a real example of how Scouts can make a difference in the communities they live in.

“It was also a great opportunity for our adult volunteers at our Innerleithen Group to get involved in the project. If this sounds like something you would like to help with then we’d love to hear from you.”

“Learning about the Golden Eagles has been an honour,” said Jeigha McCulloch-Graham, a 10 year old Cub Scout from Innerleithen. “It’s been a big opportunity for Innerleithen Scouts to actually get to meet a Golden Eagle, and it’s been so much fun.”

Also speaking about the project Steve Backshall, BAFTA-winning naturalist, writer and television presenter, and Scouts Ambassador said:  “This is an amazing opportunity for Scouts in the Scottish Borders to be a part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. They will be playing a vital role in the continued protection of many unique and important species, such as Scotland’s Golden Eagles.”

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot’s Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to Innerleithen Scout Group for being the UK’s first-ever Golden Eagle Champions! This is a wonderful programme. It was fantastic to hear that the children really relished seeing and learning about these magnificent birds right in the Borders. We’re delighted that the golden eagles are doing so well in South Scotland, and thrilled to help them return to places where they were once an important part of our wildlife.”

The pioneering South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has been set up to address low numbers of Golden Eagles in the South of Scotland. Project partners RSPB Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Forestry Scotland, NatureScot, and the Southern Uplands Partnership, have been working together for more than eleven years to bring it to fruition. Funded by The National Lottery, project partners, the Scottish Government and local LEADER Programmes, the initiative is a key project under the Scottish Government’s 2020 Challenge for Scottish Biodiversity (which sets out a route map to protect and restore Scotland’s biodiversity).

The Scouts and Cubs Golden Eagle Champion:
• learn about Golden Eagles from wildlife professionals at the South of Scotland Golden Eagles Project.
• got out and about in the countryside discovering first-hand how these magnificent birds of prey live and survive, including tree climbing and eyrie (nest) building with Scottish Borders based, Wild Tree Adventures.
• Built their knowledge of the local environment and the abundance of wildlife on their doorstep.  
For the latest news on the project visit:


Further information and contacts:

For more information about Innerleithen Scouts plus our other thirteen groups across the Borders, visit

For further information contact:
Kirsty Innes, tel 07790 910 646, email [email protected]
Janis McCulloch Media and Public Affairs Officer, Scouts Scotland on 07498997586 or by email [email protected]

Free to use images to accompany this story can be downloaded here:
More available on request.


Issued by the South Scotland Golden Eagle Partnership