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National Park volunteers shortlisted for prestigious awards

Two volunteers from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority have been shortlisted for the National Park UK Volunteering Awards 2018.

The awards which are sponsored by Columbia Sportswear recognise the outstanding contribution that volunteers make in helping to care for the UK’s National Parks precious landscapes and inspiring others to safeguard them for future generations to experience and enjoy.

This year two dedicated volunteers from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority have made the shortlist for these national awards that celebrate the hard work of volunteers deemed to have gone above and beyond the usual expectations of volunteer service.

Cardross-based Emma White has been a Volunteer Ranger with the National Park since 2013 and has contributed over 100 days of her time. Emma has been shortlisted for the individual award.

Struan Burch lives in Dunblane and cycles to Balloch which is around a 68 mile round trip, to volunteer in the National Park. He has been shortlisted for the young person award (25 years or younger) and joined the National Park volunteer programme because he wanted to make use of his gap year.

Craig Walker, Volunteer Adviser from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, nominated both volunteers and said: “Emma applied to join the National Park as a Volunteer Ranger when she was unable to work due to depression. Since those brave first steps Emma has helped with a huge variety of projects and is a fantastic ambassador for the Park at local events. We are always confident that she can do any task she sets her mind to and trust her with guiding and mentoring our new volunteers to find their feet and take those tentative first steps she took those years ago.

Emma White who has been shortlisted for the individual award

“Struan’s love for wildlife motivated him to seek out opportunities to engage with nature and since volunteering with the National Park he has developed a true passion for surveying and recording wildlife. Each of the projects Struan is involved with relies heavily on volunteers to make the difference. His enthusiasm for helping to survey and monitoring elusive species, sometimes in very remote and inaccessible locations, has really helped to give a clearer picture of the critical population dynamics and fluctuations in the National Park.

“We appreciate all of our volunteers as they help to make the National Park a better place for people to live, work and visit and we wish Emma and Struan the best luck of luck with these awards.”

Struan Burch who has been shortlisted for the young person award

There are four categories of award: individuals, young people, groups and projects. The judging panel this year was made up of the volunteer coordinators from all of the National Parks and they said: “Judging these awards is a humbling experience as it gives us the opportunity to learn about so many people and projects that are making an the immense contribution to the 15 National Parks across the UK. It was a difficult choice this year as there were so many inspiring entries. We’d like to congratulate those who have been shortlisted and we would like to thank everyone who is volunteering to help our staff look after National Parks!”

The winners of each category will be announced at the Kendal Mountain Festival on 17th November 2018. All winners will receive prizes provided by Columbia Sportswear and £1,000 bursary is given to the group and project winners to help their volunteer work.

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