Midlothian woman puts her focus on nature tourism

Pictured from left to right are Jonathan Peters, Joel Saunders, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon, overall winner Gregory Vaux, Katie McDowall and Catriona Spaven-Donn.
Pictured from left to right are Jonathan Peters, Joel Saunders, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon, overall winner Gregory Vaux, Katie McDowall and Catriona Spaven-Donn.

A Midlothian woman is among the winners of a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) competition for young creatives.

SNH and the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital launched the ‘Why invest in nature’ competition earlier this year, seeking entries that would encourage businesses to see the benefits of the natural world.

Catriona Spaven-Donn (27) from Gladhouse, won the tourism category with her film ‘Scotland’s nature awaits’.

She said: “While working in the tourism industry and living in Canada and South America over the past few years, Scotland’s natural beauty has always called me home.

“In entering the tourism category of the competition, I hoped to represent my own favourite coastal views on film as well as showcasing the country to those who have never visited before.

“The film encourages visitors and Scots alike to get outdoors, go for walks or boat rides and make the most of Scotland’s unique right to roam. I hope that the film will be used as a reminder that, in being able to hike and explore the Scottish landscape without restriction, we can all pursue more eco-friendly adventures close to home.”

The five winners were unveiled by Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon, who said: “It’s great to be here to celebrate the creative talent of our young people. Each of the filmmakers has done a fantastic job of capturing why investing in our natural world is so important and I hope that their work will encourage more businesses to think sustainably, both for their own future and Scotland’s nature.”

SNH chief executive Francesca Osowska said: “When we launched this competition we were looking for young filmmakers who could make a powerful case to encourage businesses to see the benefits of the natural world.

“At a time when we know we must all do more to improve nature and tackle our climate emergency, these messages are more important than ever before.

“The judges were very impressed with the quality of the entries we received and it was very difficult to pick our winners so congratulations to all.”

David Wood, SFNC deputy chairman and senior policy director at ICAS, said: “The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital is pleased to support this competition. The short films have been excellent in highlighting different perspectives on nature and the natural environment, and the impacts and dependencies that business and society have on nature’s resources.”

Karen Ramoo, policy adviser for Scottish Land & Estates, said: “We’ve been really impressed by not only the standard of films but also the understanding that the next generation demonstrate on issues to do with nature and natural capital.

“Young people expressing their opinions on nature is crucial in influencing policymakers and industry to address the environmental issues we face today.

“The videos will form part of SNH and SFNC’s ongoing dialogue with businesses and we offer our congratulations to those who created such engaging and impactful films.”

A cash prize of £1,000 was presented to overall winner Gregory Vaux (26) from Dunblane, with prizes of £500 for the top entry in each category.