Species Ambassadors

The Species Champion Initiative launched by Scottish Environment LINK asks Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to lend political support to the protection of Scotland’s threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions.’ This is a great scheme that mean that nature, and specific species are represented at the Scottish Parliament.

As part of becoming an Ullapool Sea Saver, the kids choose a species of interest and go and research it and put together a 'fact file' to share what they discover with others. By doing so they become an 'Ambassador' for their species. We try to find mentors within groups and organisations that they can speak to and even specialists who can advise on the importance of their chosen species and help with understanding how to help promote and protect.

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Choose a species

Identify a species that the sea saver is interested in.

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Research

Sea Saver researches the species of interests to find out more information about the speicies.

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Species Fact File

Based on the research the Sea Saver will create a Species Fact File to share what they discover with others

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Species Amassador

Sea Saver becomes an Ambassador for their species.

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Species Mentors

We find mentors within groups and organsiations that they can speak to and even specialists who can advise on the importance of their chosen species and help with understanding how to help promote and protect.

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We have also tried to link the USS Ambassadors with their counterpart Species Champions at Holyrood. This has led to some great support from MSPs when it comes to campaigning, such as Maree Todd MSP and Minister for Children and Young People (who is also from Ullapool which helped!) becoming the Flameshell Species Champion and working closely with Caillin who is Falemshell Ambassador for USS. This resulted in a lot of correspondence over our Marine Protected Area that includes Flameshells as one of the protected species, and also saw Maree support calls for Loch Carron to be given Protect Status following a dredger causing serious damage to an extensive Flameshell bed there. On the day Loch Carron was designated an MPA, Maree joined Caillin and other groups who had been campaigning to protect this important area and snorkelled the loch with us.
Similarly, Gail Ross MSP for our region, took on the role of Seagrass Species Champion and helped USS campaign against plans to allow Mechanical Kelp Extraction (Dredging!) to be given the go ahead in Scotland. USS not only campaigned to highlight the threat this posed to our seas and marine life, but actually travelled to Holyrood on the day of Mark Ruskell MSP's Bill to stop the proposals and met up with Mark, Gail, Claudia Beamish MSP and others, then sat in the chambers and listen as the historic bill went through to stop the plan. (pics of kids with politicians at Holyrood)

Our Otter Ambassador Poppy was quite upset to discover than although one of Scotland's iconic animals (they are even on our bank notes!), Otters had no Species Champion. She approached Kate Forbes MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Finance and asked if she would become a spokesperson for Otters. In conjunction with the Living Seas Project and Scottish Wildlife Trust, Kate agreed, we joined her in Skye to visit their International Otter Survival Foundation headquarters and even met some orphaned otters to celebrate Kate's new role - the first time we know of a kid helping gain a new Species Champion.  

Other great interactions have included Brian Whittle MSP (and former European and Olympic Athlete!) giving Arwen a dive sign for Sea Turtles - the species they both represent.
We love to be able to try to make this link between the kids and politicians as feel it creates more of a bond between what they do on the ground locally and what can be achieved politically if needed.  Not only do the politicians back our calls for help but we are able to feed into their understanding of what is needed to help protect the amazing wildlife we have and love on our coasts. 

More details of the Species Champion Scheme and a list of all the politicians who are involved and might be able to help if you are campaigning can be found here: https://www.scotlink.org/link-campaigns/species-champions/
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Ullapool Sea Savers,
Quercus, Riverside Terrace,
Ullapool, IV26 2TE

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