The Nature Champions initiative encourages Members of the Scottish Parliament to champion threatened and iconic species and habitats, raising awareness and promoting action to protect and restore Scotland’s environment.

Image of Liam McArthur MSP, Nature Champion for the Scottish Primrose.

Liam McArthur MSP, Nature Champion for the Scottish Primrose, meeting his species in 2017. Image courtesy of Liam McArthur MSP.

The Nature Champions initiative has been developed by Scottish Environment LINK to encourage Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to champion Scotland’s threatened and iconic species and habitats.

By becoming a Nature Champion, each MSP champions one or two species or habitats for the duration of that Parliamentary session. These species or habitats are usually present within an MSPs constituency or region, or they may simply have a particular interest in the conservation of that species or habitat!

Nature Champions are supported by relevant Scottish Environment LINK member organisations to get to know their species or habitat and the key issues affecting them. Many Nature Champions become a voice for their chosen species or habitat in the Scottish Parliament, and highlight them in debates, or through Parliamentary motions and questions.



Brian Whittle MSP with Marine Conservation Society staff in Parliament

Brian Whittle MSP, Nature Champion for the Leatherback Turtle, pictured with Calum Duncan from Marine Conservation Society in Parliament making the diving signal for ‘turtle’. © Catherine Gemmell / MCS.


Since its launch in 2013, the initiative has gone from strength to strength. As of July 2023, some 173 different MSPS have become Nature Champions over three Parliamentary sessions!

The initiative has inspired similar programmes in WalesNorthern Ireland and England as well as Scottish local authorities.





Emma Harper MSP, Nature Champion for Natterjack Toad

“I look forward to continue to promote the Natterjack Toad as a Nature Champion and in May I highlighted this special, rare species on Endangered Species Day by raising a motion in parliament to garner political support for its protection.

I am proud to represent the South Scotland region which is home to the Natterjack Toad – Dumfries & Galloway – the only place in Scotland where you will find this species. During the last parliamentary session, I took an active role in promoting the region’s biodiversity and unique environment, supporting the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and hosting the Nature of Scotland Awards at the Scottish Parliament as well as inviting and hosting many ministers to visit the region.

The population in the Solway Firth has seen an impressive increase in numbers of Natterjack Toads thanks to the  fantastic habitat management put in place at RSPB Mersehead.”


View all of the current Nature Champions of this Parliamentary session here


For all Nature Champions enquiries, please contact Andrew Marks, Nature Champions Coordinator, at andrew@scotlink.org

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