Scottish Badgers now has a Species Champion!
In Scottish Badgers we passed another landmark recently, when we gained our own Species Champion from amongst MSPs, and the new wave of Champions was celebrated at a launch event at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 10th November 2016!
The Champion for badgers is Colin Smyth, a regional list MSP from South of Scotland. Colin’s office is in Dumfries, he belongs to various wildlife groups, and he is an experienced Councillor in Dumfries and Galloway. He will stay with us until the next election. Scottish Environment LINK commenced this scheme in the last Parliament, and in the new Parliament has now signed up 70 MSPs out of the total of 129, really good progress. LINK has an intern working on this scheme, reporting to the LINK Wildlife Group, and the work involves a ‘matching process’, where species, whether mammal, bird, fish, plant or moss etc. appear on a circulated list, and LINK members offer their favourites in a ‘trade’.
There is fierce competition for some species, and rivalry, but the serious intent is to offer support and publicity for maybe forgotten species. The Westminster Parliament has now followed suit with a similar scheme (imitation the sincerest form of flattery?).
The launch event at Holyrood was an enjoyable occasion, when Scottish Badgers managed to field both of our workers, Emily and Elaine, and six of us from the Advisory Group. It was a good opportunity for Colin to talk to all of us, and find out more about what we do.
Photo: Colin Smyth MSP with repesentatives from Scottish Badgers at the Species Champions launch event at the Scottish Parliament.
So, what is the scheme about, and what do Species Champions do?
Well, we’ll keep Colin informed of events, such as our Annual Conference, and any other special events such as the recent Autumn lecture at Chatelherault. Colin can be very useful to us both by way of research into parliamentary business, and also by asking questions in Parliament, a real boost for us. You will all be aware that we are still a long way from wildlife crime being swiftly and efficiently investigated, so we will remain on this case.
I have asked both Elaine and Emily to keep him informed about especially ‘good news’, from their work. To prevent Colin being inundated with information or messages, I’d ask the rest of members to approach Colin through a member of the Advisory Group, and please do this by whichever way works, that is e-mail, phone, text etc.
Let’s look forward to a long and happy relationship with our very own Species Champion for badgers!