HIDEYA SCHOOLBOY from Dumfriesshire has won BASC’s first Young Shot Conservation Award after building a bird hide to show visitors how good moorland management benefits biodiversity.

James Farrer, 16, was working as part of the Making the Most of Moorlands Project on the Langholm grouse moor. James also set up a number of feeders and boxes for various bird species and helped raise funds for the project with a sponsored walk.

James won a shooting suit from Nomad, a year’s worth of Eley cartridges and a day’s driven grouse shooting.

James said: “I was delighted to win the award. I am interested in conservation and hope to have a future career in land management and conservation. I also wanted to increase the public’s understanding of moorland biodiversity and how gamekeepers look after the environment.”

Alastair MacPhearson, 20, from Cheshire, landed the runner’s up prize of a day’s airgun shooting or coaching for making and monitoring mallard nest tubes which were used successfully several times this year.

Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity, said: “The intention of this competition was to motivate young conservationists and was prompted by an idea from our Young Shot Ambassadors, so it is extremely gratifying to see it succeed. These youngsters, who are the future of conservation and shooting, should be congratulated for their hard work.”

Robin Marshall-Ball, a BASC council member and conservation champion, said: “Our inaugural Young Shot Conservation Award has been a great success. It’s encouraging to see young people putting their minds to making our environment a better place for wildlife.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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