Vicky is the Communications Coordinator for Scottish Wildcat Action. She has a background in third sector communications and marketing and is based at the Scottish Wildlife Trust office in Edinburgh.
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Today is the first day of Volunteers’ Week. Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy.
British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Barrie Williams, has begun volunteering as a Communications Assistant for the conservation project Scottish Wildcat Action. As a freelance filmmaker, former TV researcher for the BBC, and an award-winning photographer, Barrie is hoping to use his skills to help raise awareness of the endangered Scottish wildcat.
He said “Before I became a volunteer, I worked on some exciting projects - producing educational videos for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, writing articles for photography magazines, and snorkelling with Dougie Vipond and Doug Allan for BBC Scotland’s Landward – and I am very excited about what I can do to help Scottish Wildcat Action.”
Barrie joined as a ProjectScotland volunteer in May, and is hosted by one of the partners who have signed up to help deliver Scottish Wildcat Action’s ambitious plan, the National Trust for Scotland. He wanted to use his skills to help the wildlife he loves to photograph and learn how to use social media more effectively.
“Having photographed and filmed wildlife in Scotland for a few years now, I’ve increasingly wanted to do my bit to assist conservation efforts in Britain. Fortunately for me, I have been offered the opportunity to help the biggest conservation effort for the Scottish wildcat. At Scottish Wildcat Action I am learning about conservation communications: analysing trends on social media and website traffic, identifying popular items, and producing content that encourages engagement. I’ll then use this new knowledge to help raise awareness of the iconic Scottish wildcat, recruiting new volunteers in wildcat priority areas, increasing followers of the project, and encouraging visitors to report sightings of wild-living cats.”
Scottish wildcats are a native species and endangered mainly because of disease and cross-breeding with domestic cats, particularly those feral domestic cats that are living wild in the countryside.
“I’ll also be sharing my filming expertise with the team and producing short videos about their work. I’m very excited about this as it means I’ll get to visit the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park and meet some Scottish wildcats. I’m also looking forward to getting out on location and meeting the staff and volunteers on the frontline. I’ll be helping to share the fascinating stories about their work to save this species.”
After the three month ProjectScotland placement, Barrie hopes to return to running his own business.
“Hopefully by the end of my volunteering, I will have made a big difference to conserving the highly endangered Scottish wildcat and picked up some useful tips on using social media for my own photography and filmmaking business.”
Photo credit: Graham Richardson/Scottish Wildcat Action
Scottish Wildcat Action is the first national project to save the highly endangered Scottish wildcat from extinction. It is a partnership involving over 20 organisations, including, Scottish Natural Heritage, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Cairngorms National Park Authority, Forestry Commission Scotland, National Museums Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Government, as well as its partners.
See www.scottishwildcataction.org for more information.
This content was made possible by our Partners & Funders at National Trust for Scotland