NAFC Marine Centre UHI secures National Lottery Support

NAFC Marine Centre UHI has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to establish a, ‘Shetland Community Wildlife Group’. This exciting citizen science project will focus on creating a community led group of volunteers interested in Shetland’s varied wildlife.

The project will enable local people to get involved in nature, learn new skills, speak to like-minded people and collect meaningful scientific data. The volunteers will have the chance to take part in surveys and monitoring to answer specific science questions, and will be able to participate in a wide variety of training courses. Data will be used locally to fill knowledge gaps and inform marine and land-based planning decisions as well as feed into national data sets. The project is being launched virtually to allow people to participate within current social distancing guidelines.

Through our website and social media we will be giving people the opportunity to learn and monitor nature in their own patch. With spring (hopefully) just around the corner, we would love people to take the time to count and record nature they see in their garden or on their daily walk and for those of you near the coast, there are many marine and coastal projects that you can get involved in. Bumblebees and butterflies are easy to record from gardens and walks, and as important pollinators, recording the different species found in Shetland and how they are changing (for instance due to climate change) is very important. We are also keen to hear from people who are fortunate enough to be able to see and count cetaceans from their house or on their daily walk, especially porpoises.

Commenting on the award, project manager Kathryn Allan said “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support the Shetland community in becoming more involved in the monitoring of the islands amazing natural heritage”

If you are interested in getting involved in the project please get in touch with Kathryn at or visit You can also find us on Facebook, just search ‘Shetland Community Wildlife’

Shetland’s natural heritage is an important part of the islands identity as well as economic value through industries such as fishing and aquaculture, tourism and recreation. Many of the species and habitats are locally, nationally and even internationally important. Monitoring and investigation of these species and habitats is important if they are to be protected whilst still allowing the marine economy in Shetland to thrive.

Once the restrictions have been relaxed we will officially launch the group and take on larger scale projects such as Shetland wide porpoise surveys to gather information on seasonal area hotspot and working with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) to learn how to undertake a cetacean Shorewatch. Activities will be varied and will be spread around locations covering most of Shetland. They will also be aimed at all abilities; we will advertise each activity with a description of the level of physical ability required. We will also be working with Ability Shetland to be able to offer all terrain wheel chairs to create greater accessibility for all.

The three-year project has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. is being co-ordinated by the Marine Spatial Planning section of the NAFC Marine Centre UHI with advice and support from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Shetland Amenity Trusts’ Biological Records Centre.