(Issued on behalf of Tayside Biodiversity Partnership) The Perth and Kinross Ponds for Puddocks Project has been shortlisted in the Community Initiative Award at the RSPB's prestigious Nature of Scotland Awards. It was announced as a finalist at a recent reception held at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by Colin Smyth MSP and sponsored by Beam Suntory.
Nature-lovers will have a chance to choose their winner of the Community Initiative Award - which includes the Ponds for Puddocks Project. Further details of the shortlist and how to vote for your favourite is available online at the RSPB website - https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/at-home-and-abroad/scotland/nature-of-scotland-awards/community-initiative-award. The closing date for votes is Wednesday 11 October 2023.
Ponds for Puddocks has been a multi-stranded project involving volunteers from local communities and businesses, as well as schools across Perth and Kinross in improving ponds and SuDS (sustainable urban drainage ponds) for wetland wildlife.
Working with TayARG (the Tayside Amphibian & Reptile Group) the project has seen clearing work on ponds to remove invasive weeds, creating habitat connections for pollinators and providing simple places for amphibians to hibernate over the winter. Perth and Kinross Council's Biodiversity Ambassadors have also been involved in helping to improve the North Inch pond in Perth.
Volunteers have also been involved in surveying roadside gullies and creating safe exit routes for wildlife, especially amphibians, from the drains by making specialised amphibian ladders. This year alone, as part of the project, over 60 such ladders were made and installed in road gullies near Guildtown and Wolfhill.
Many local people have been involved in the project which has included ponds in Murthly, Blairgowrie, Perth and Guildtown, as well as support from local housing developers and Perth and Kinross Council staff.
Catherine Lloyd, Tayside Biodiversity Co-ordinator, said: "This project has proven that partnership working really does work. Without Trevor Rose's amphibian ladder invention in the first place, we would never have been able to safeguard so many amphibians.
"Working with Perth and Kinross Council to embed planning conditions to install wildlife kerbs at very little extra cost to the developer has been an important legacy. There has been a great deal of goodwill over the years where the different facets of the project have been concerned and it will be ongoing as we find more funding to expand the project and work even more with local communities."
Councillor Richard Watters, Perth and Kinross Council's Convener of Climate Change and Sustainability commented: "This has been a real community effort and all credit is due to everyone who has worked to improve conditions for wetland wildlife in Perth and Kinross. I wish Ponds for Puddocks every success in the Nature of Scotland Awards and encourage residents to cast their vote for the project which has been making an important contribution to local biodiversity."
Finalists across all 10 categories in the Awards will gather in Edinburgh on 22 November 2023 for the announcement of the winners.
Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland said: "The Nature of Scotland Awards celebrates people and projects who really make a difference for nature in their local communities and across the country.
"Being at the head of the judging panel is a wonderful part of my job, as I get an unrivalled opportunity to hear about inspiring actions and the incredible things that can happen when people work together. - we can't tackle the nature and climate crisis alone.
"I am so looking forward to seeing everyone at the awards in November and would like to thank all of our applicants for sharing their tremendous work with us."
Colin Galbraith, Chair of Awards co-sponsor NatureScot, said: "Our natural world is at the heart of the nation's well-being, and this year's shortlisted Nature of Scotland Awards nominees are shining examples of vital, nature-based solutions from people, communities, businesses and organisations across the country.
"As co-sponsor of the awards, we celebrate the inspiring efforts each and every nominee has contributed to Scotland's mission to tackle biodiversity loss and the nature-climate crisis."