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Orcadian Wildlife Tourist Business Shortlisted for Award

Orkney based wildlife tour operator, Orcadian Wildlife, has been shortlisted in the Business for Nature Award at RSPB Scotland’s prestigious Nature of Scotland Awards.

Steve Sankey with a group of tourists all with telescopes or binoculars
Steve Sankey Left with Orcadian Wildlife Group-Pierowall Image credit: Steve Dudley

Commenting Steve Sankey, owner and wildlife tour guide of Orcadian Wildlife said:

“I’m delighted to have been shortlisted for this award. We’ve made Orkney our family home for the last two decades and have enjoyed showing visitors our wildlife, culture and local communities.

“Orkney’s wildlife such as seabirds, raptors and cetaceans is truly spectacular and of international importance, and I’d like to think that the shortlisting recognises not just our hard work over the years but also the importance of Orkney’s wildlife in a Scottish and international perspective.”

Orcadian Wildlife is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary season of sharing Orkney’s amazing wildlife with its guests. Founded as a family business in 2004 it has been for many years the only wildlife tourism operator providing week-long tours resident in Orkney. From Hen harriers to Orcas to Scottish primroses, Orkney’s wildlife is unique!

Orcadian Wildlife is a family wildlife tourism business founded in 2004 when its naturalist owner-operator, Steve Sankey, partnered with local businesses, to build a small eco-tourism business with customer care and sustainability as its twin core attributes. All three family members have been active in the business over the last two decades.

Based on South Ronaldsay, Gerraquoy Organic Farm was first used as its base to show guests around the Orkney archipelago. After 8 seasons, an expansion phase led to the addition of a self-catering unit and the family-run 4* Sands Hotel in Burray being used as an accommodation partner.

Customer loyalty and repeat business is excellent and although the business is still centred in Orkney operations have expanded to other island archipelagos such as the Shetland Islands and Iceland. There are many biological and cultural links between the old Viking Earldom of Orkney; and Orkney’s birds such as Great-northern divers and Long-tailed duck; and marine mammals such as Orca as they move between these northern archipelagos each year.

Orcadian Wildlife was announced as a finalist in the Business for Nature Award last week at the Nature of Scotland Awards Shortlist Reception at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by Colin Smyth MSP and sponsored by Beam Suntory.

The 54 finalists will all gather at the EICC on the 22 November to enjoy a night of celebration, where the winners of all 10 categories will be announced.  

The awards ceremony, now in its 12th year and co-sponsored by NatureScot, will be hosted by zoologist, TV presenter and RSPB Ambassador Megan McCubbin and TV presenter and nature enthusiast JJ Chalmers.

They will recognise the individuals and organisations making a difference in their local communities, businesses and schools to support Scotland’s wildlife and special places.

Nature-lovers also have a chance to choose their winner of the Community Initiative Award, which celebrates projects developed and led by the people it serves.  You can see the shortlist and vote for your favourite here.

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “The Nature of Scotland Awards celebrates people and projects who really make a difference for nature in their local communities and across the country.

“Being at the head of the judging panel is a wonderful part of my job, as I get an unrivalled opportunity to hear about inspiring actions and the incredible things that can happen when people work together. – we can’t tackle the nature and climate crisis alone.

“I am so looking forward to seeing everyone at the awards in November, and would like to thank all of our applicants for sharing their tremendous work with us.”

Colin Galbraith, Chair of Awards co-sponsor NatureScot, added: “Our natural world is at the heart of the nation’s well-being, and this year’s shortlisted Nature of Scotland Awards nominees are shining examples of vital, nature-based solutions from people, communities, businesses and organisations across the country.

“As co-sponsor of the awards, we celebrate the inspiring efforts each and every nominee has contributed to Scotland’s mission to tackle biodiversity loss and the nature-climate crisis.”

Anyone with an interest in nature is welcome to attend the Awards, tickets are available at rspb.org.uk/natureofscotland

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