Wildlife festival planned for Outer Hebrides

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RSPB Scotland is planning to host a Wildlife Festival for the Outer Hebrides.

The charity is seeking tenders for a £10,000 contract to carry out a feasibility study into the proposed project.

Jamie Boyle, RSPB Scotland’s Uist Reserve Manager, said: “”We have been looking into starting a wildlife festival in the Outer Hebrides in line with the Orkney and Shetland festivals.

“The area has stunning wildlife and we would like more people to be involved and enjoy the stunning spectacles that are on offer.

“We are looking for a real local focus although there will be a tourist element.”

© RSPB Scotland
Machair flowers in the Outer Hebrides

The charity has sent a questionnaire to residents seeking their views on developing a plan for a festival, starting in either 2021 or 2022.

Mr Boyle said they have already had an “overwhelming response” and were now seeking someone to carry out a feasibility study to further the case.

He added: “The concept is to develop a local wildlife festival similar to the successful annual wildlife festivals held on Orkney and Shetland.

“The principle aim of the festival is to increase wildlife/environment awareness and engagement in the local population of the Outer Hebrides.

“Our initial thoughts are that the festival should be predominantly aimed at the local population and foster a pride and ownership in the outstanding wildlife around the islands.”

The charity also wants to “increase tourism revenue to the islands and reinforce the natural asset message and lead to better conservation outcomes on the islands”.

The event will aim to also showcase the islands wildlife to a wider audience including tourists and national media.

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Six spot burnet would be another attraction“The festival would be made up of smaller ‘events’ designed to showcase the wildlife across the islands.”

The questionnaire has asked residents for their views on when they believe the festival should be held and for how long?

In Shetland, it’s annual Nature Festival covers all aspects of the island’s unique natural heritage, and with everything from guided walks to family days out and evening talks.

The event showcases everything flowers and fossils, to seabirds and seals, aimed “to inform, entertain and excite as you explore the unique natural heritage of the Shetland Islands”.

Since 2010, the festival has been run in partnership with ‘European Geoparks Week’, during which the 75 European Geoparks – including the six other British members of the Network – actively work together to conserve and promote geological heritage through education and geo-tourism.

The Orkney festival is also an annual celebration of nature developed by RSPB Scotland, which manages 13 nature reserves across the islands.



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