ENTRIES are now open for RSPB Scotland's Nature of Scotland Awards.

The awards, co-sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage, are a celebration of people, projects, and organisations who have had 'wonderful achievements' in conservation.

RSPB Scotland director Anne McCall, said: “It is heartening to hear how people, projects and organisations across Scotland are working determinedly to save nature from the many threats it faces. These awards are a celebration of amazing achievements. Help us recognise our conservation champions by submitting an application or nomination today.”

SNH chief executive Francesca Oswoska, will sit on the panel of judges alongside Ms McCall, who will chair the judging panel, Mr McIlwraith, Scottish Seabird Centre chief executive Susan Davis, and a representative from the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Ms Osowska said: “SNH is delighted to again co-sponsor the Nature of Scotland Awards, an event which is all about celebrating the unsung heroes working hard right across Scotland to protect our precious natural environment. This year we are also pleased to be sponsoring the business award in recognition of the crucial role that businesses play in safeguarding our natural capital for the future.

"I’m looking forward to discovering this year’s outstanding nature champions and I have no doubt we will all be inspired by all that they are doing helping more people enjoy and benefit from nature.”

This year the awards will be hosted by Scottish filmmaker and presenter Gordon Buchanan, who said: “I’m incredibly lucky to have opportunities to film wildlife all across the world but, for me, filming at home in Scotland stands out amongst the rest. From the breath-taking scenery to iconic species like osprey, otters and my favourite, the golden eagle, Scotland’s nature is truly something special. I’m delighted to be hosting the Nature of Scotland Awards 2019 which will recognise and celebrate the people working tirelessly to protect our natural heritage.

"With our wildlife and unique habitats under threat, I’m looking forward to hearing more about their dedication and commitment to nature conservation and how it’s helping to ensure that our landscapes and wildlife are protected for future generations.”

Mr Buchanan will host alongside BBC presenter Euan McIlwraith, at a black-tie dinner on December 4 in Edinburgh.

The Nature of Scotland Awards are now in their eighth year, and now with nine categories including two new awards; the Conservation Science Award and Coasts and Waters Award. Last year’s winners included Cairngorms Nature Young Ambassador Xander Johnston and Countryside Ranger Kathleen McMillan who were recognised in celebration of the Year of Young People 2018. Other winners included a gardening for wellbeing project, and a scheme connecting young people with nature at the ancient woodlands at Rossie.

This year’s awards are open for entries until Tuesday June 4. The shortlist will be revealed at a Scottish Parliament reception in September.