Community groups across Scotland are to share almost £150,000 to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in style.

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To mark World Oceans Day 2020 (June 8) Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has announced that 24 projects have secured awards through its Plunge In! Coasts and Waters Community Fund launched earlier this year.

From river rangers to ocean-inspired artwork, saltmarsh stories to sea safaris, Gaelic song and orca watching, the successful projects will ensure Scotland’s celebratory themed year leaves a lasting legacy in dozens of communities.

Reflecting the amazing reach and diversity of our shorelines and waterways, they include revamped shelters for nature reserves in Glasgow, a celebration of Eigg’s landscape and wildlife, a new song on the history and biodiversity of the Water of Leith and help for young people to discover the North Harris Snorkel Trail.

While many projects have inevitably had to delay their plans until next year as a result of coronavirus restrictions, others are ready to get underway with innovative solutions including online talks and events, art parcels for local residents and even virtual song sessions!

Girl at Saltcoats Beach in Ayrshire © Becky Duncan Photography

The fund seeks to engage and connect more people with our seas, coasts, lochs, rivers, streams and wetlands, as well as their unique wildlife, and to leave a legacy from the year, for example through improved skills and knowledge or the creation of a community resource.

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “We had an amazing response to this fund and the breadth and variety of our 24 successful projects really goes to show just how much there is to celebrate about our coastlines and waterways, their landscapes, biodiversity and wildlife.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably impacted on the ability of some projects to get underway this summer, but we look forward to supporting them to deliver their activities into 2021. Meanwhile it’s fantastic that some projects have found a way to use technology to get started and plunge right in!

“I’m really looking forward to seeing all of these projects progress and am sure that through their creativity and enthusiasm they will secure a real and lasting legacy for the year, connecting more people with our coasts and waters in communities up and down the country.”

 
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