The Royal Highland Show
The Working for Waders project made its first public appearance last weekend the Royal Highland Show thanks to support from the National Sheep Association Scotland. The project partners worked together to staff a small stand in the NSA Scotland tent throughout the Show, chatting to farmers and members of the public about the decline of threatened and iconic farmland waders like curlews, lapwings and oystercatchers.
Many of the farmers we spoke to were well aware that wading birds are in trouble, and we heard some devastating stories of loss and decline. An Ayrshire shepherd described curlew calls as “the sound of my childhood”, then explained how the birds steadily dwindled to a final collapse on his hill farm in 2012. There have been no curlew breeding attempts on his land in over five years, and this story rings true for several wading bird species across Scotland.
Even in the midst of decline and loss, there was an encouraging feeling of optimism that Working for Waders represented a new approach. Several farmers expressed their frustration at always being blamed for the decline of wildlife and biodiversity, and many were encouraged that Working for Waders is involving a wide range of stakeholders from the outset.
Collaboration is a key strength of the Working for Waders project, and we’re looking forward to building on this in the coming months.