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Cairngorms Project wins at UK National Parks Volunteer Awards

20th November 2019

The Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms (RIC) project has won a UK National Parks Volunteer Award. TV presenter and explorer Paul Rose presented project officer Gabrielle Flinn with the award at the weekend (Saturday 16 November). The Kendal Mountain Festival hosted the special ceremony, which was sponsored by Columbia Sportswear.

Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms is a partnership project (RSPB Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and Scottish Natural Heritage) which works to conserve six rare and poorly understood insect species in the Cairngorms National Park with a team of dedicated and passionate volunteers.

The project carries out surveys to locate the six species and then works with landowners to promote land management techniques that enable the species to thrive and spread.

The six species are: Kentish glory (Endromis versicolor), Dark-bordered beauty (Epione vespertaria), Northern silver-stiletto fly (Spiriverpa lunulata), Pine hoverfly (Blera fallax), Small scabious mining bee (Andrenamarginata) and Shining guest ant (Formicoxenus nitidulus).

The project was jointly nominated by Cairngorms LEADER, who are the primary funders the project, and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) who are one of the project partners.

Sarah Henshall, Cairngorms Nature Officer at the CNPA said, “One of the most incredible things about this project is its ability to reach and bring together such a wide variety of industries and individuals, and stir them into action. The result is a group of committed people working together to conserve essential habitats for these threatened species and thousands of others.”

Gabrielle Flinn, RIC Project Officer said: “We are delighted and grateful to have our efforts recognised by this award and our nominators. We really appreciate the support and hope to continue to inspire people across the National Park to stand up for nature at a time when it has never been more crucial.”

Mike Woolvin, Volunteer Co-ordinator at the CNPA said: “Volunteers get involved across the Cairngorms National Park in a huge variety of ways with lots of different groups and organisations. They make a really significant difference to conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area among many other things. It is wonderful to see the RIC project recognised in this way after all the time, energy and enthusiasm shared by the volunteers.

“Volunteering is a really rewarding way to get outside and give something back to our natural world. A great starting point for anyone keen to get involved is to look at for more information about opportunities with groups and organisations across the Cairngorms National Park.”

The National Parks UK Volunteer Awards recognise the outstanding contribution that volunteers make in helping to care for National Park landscapes and inspiring others to care for them. They are sponsored by Columbia Sportswear who provide clothing for staff and Rangers in all of the 15 UK National Parks. The RIC project received a £500 CLIF Bursary together with a selection of Clif Bars to help their volunteer work.