Scotland’s leading nature conservation charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, has announced that a Scots pine at one of its most popular wildlife reserves has won the prestigious Scottish Tree of The Year award.
The winning tree is home to the famous osprey, affectionately known by many as ‘Lady’, which has returned to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Reserve for the last 24 years.
During this period, the bird has laid an astonishing 71 eggs and fledged 50 chicks, making her possibly the most prolific osprey in the world.
Every year, the webcam on the nest attracts a global following from the moment she returns to the Loch of the Lowes. This year alone the ospreycam attracted well over a million views from 96 countries, including Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Trinidad and Tobago, and Kuwait.
The Scottish Tree of the Year competition was run by Woodland Trust Scotland and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Jonny Hughes, said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust is delighted that ‘Lady’s Tree’ has won the prestigious Scottish Tree of the Year award in our 50th Anniversary year.
“This iconic Scots pine at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Reserve is very much part of a wider conservation success story.
“Ospreys were extinct in Scotland but through dedicated conservation efforts such as the osprey protection programme undertaken at Loch of the Lowes every year, the population in Scotland is thriving once again.
“The Scottish Wildlife Trust would also like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting this competition and helping conservation charities like the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust to protect wildlife and wild places for future generations.”
Director of Woodland Trust Scotland, Carol Evans, said: “With the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Scottish Tree of the Year aims to find the nation’s best loved tree.
“I’d like to congratulate each of the finalists for carrying out heartfelt campaigns to encourage local people and supporters to publicly back their trees, which they clearly love and value. Each tree represents an important part of their natural heritage.
“Lady’s Tree supports a wide range of life, from lichens and wood ants to red squirrels and of course a very famous osprey and it has been at the heart of a conservation success story for nearly quarter of a century.”
Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Clara Govier, said: “Players will be delighted to know that their support is helping to protect some of Scotland’s favourite species, such as the osprey, Scots pine and the threatened red squirrel.”
Members of the public can view the tree from the hides at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre, which also offers the opportunity to view other much loved Scottish wildlife, including red squirrels and a wide variety of birds.
The century-old Scots pine will go on to compete against trees from 12 countries from around Europe in European Tree of the Year 2015, organised by the Environmental Partnership Association, with voting taking place in February.