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Outstanding commitment to the environment

The winners of this years Shetland Environmental Awards (from left to right): Magnus Gear, Foula Community Electricity Trust; Peter Tait, DITT: Connor Dickson, Sandwick Junior High School; Colin Dickie Northmavine Community Development Company; Laughton Johnston, with Jill Blackadder, on behalf of the Field Studies Group; Kiera Munro & Steven Garriock, Dunrossness Primary School; Rosa Steppanova, Lea Gardens and Jonathan Wills, Seabirds and Seals - Photo: Austin Taylor

TWO LOCAL schools, a building firm, a community development group and an innovative electricity scheme on a remote island are among the winners of this year’s Shetland Environmental Awards.

Other winners were a wildlife tour operator, a conservation group and the owner and creator of a large garden that is home to around 1,500 botanical species.

The awards, presented by Shetland Amenity Trust, were handed out by Laughton Johnston during a ceremony at the Shetland Museum and Archives on Wednesday.

Brian Gregson, chairman of the Shetland Environment Group which judges the awards,  paid tribute to the dedication of the eight winners in demonstrating sustainability, innovation and best practice.

“The awards have always attracted nominations for a wide variety of projects from all sectors of the community, and this year was no exception.  The award winners have again shown an outstanding commitment to our environment,” he said.

The winners of the 2011 Shetland Environmental Awards are:

  • Dunrossness primary school for transforming areas of wasteland in their school grounds into outdoor learning areas, including woodland, a nature garden with pond, a polytunnel and raised beds. 

  • Sandwick junior high school’s project ‘Alive n Chicken’, which allows pupils to experience keeping hens, from feeding and cleaning out their house to collecting and selling eggs. 

  • DITT Construction Ltd, which has been recognised for improving its environmental management system. The company is the only construction firm in the Shetland have gained certification in both ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004. 

  • Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC), whose innovative scheme to create community polytunnels from redundant salmon cages is allowing more than 60 people in the area to grow their own food, many for the first time.

  • Foula Community Electricity Scheme, who are using solar, hydro and wind power to provide 24 hour off-grid electricity to the small island community for the first time in a scheme completed this year.

  • Wildlife tour operator Seabirds and Seals, run by Dr Jonathan Wills, which has been acknowledged for giving a unique view of the ecology and geology above and below the water and the interaction between them. 

  • Shetland Field Studies Group, which has been given the award for 30 years of making a significant contribution to the understanding Shetland’s environment, including undertaking activities such as organising talks, lectures workshops and guided walks.

  • Owner of Lea Gardens, Rosa Steppanova, who has been recognised for 32 years of dedication towards transforming two acres of croftland in Tresta into a stunning garden that encompasses shelterbelts, a wetland and pond area, wild flower meadows, mixed borders, and woodland.

The awards were again sponsored by SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage, Shetland Islands Council, the RSPB, Shetland Civic Society, VisitShetland and the amenity trust itself. The awards event was sponsored by the Total

The eight winning projects were presented with a plaque made by Cunningsburgh based Enviroglass.