Empowering people to help save our oceans

Empowering people to help save our oceans

People whale watching
2020 is Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters. Never has it been more essential to raise awareness of the critical importance of our marine landscapes.

Our oceans are under terrible threat, from warming and acidification to pollution and intensive fishing.

Everyone has a role to play in the future sustainability of the marine world – and everyone can make a difference.

Two things have to happen first, says Dr Hermione Cockburn, Scientific Director, Dynamic Earth. She says:

“We need to inspire people from all walks of life with our incredible oceans and the wonder and diversity of the life they sustain.

"We also need to empower them with knowledge of the science underpinning our understanding of the threats they face.”

National Lottery funding is helping to inspire and empower people across Scotland, with five amazing projects above and below the waves.

Diving deep

Getting close to cold water corals


Edinburgh’s science centre Dynamic Earth is to plunge thousands of visitors into an immersive exhibition about our deep-sea marine life. The £443,000 Discovering the Deep will explore Scotland’s fragile coral reefs, and tell the story of pioneering 19th-century oceanographer Charles Wyville Thompson.


Two hands holding oysters
Native oysters


Scotland’s first community-driven maritime rewilding project is to grow up to one million native oysters over five years in a loch on the mid-Argyll coast.

These little molluscs can each clean up to 200litres of water every day – and act as a vital store for carbon.

This £216,400 project will help everyone from schoolchildren and students to local businesses to get involved.

Otters in the green

People standing in shallow water
The Plock of Kyle. Credit: James Merryweather


Otters and other wild creatures are to benefit from the £196,100 restoration of the Plock parkland near the Skye Bridge and a green space for the wellbeing of the community. Volunteers will take part in grassland conservation, wildflower planting and clearing ditches so that otters can move more freely.  

Island of Gigha

The tiny Hebridean Island of Gigha was bought in 2002 by the community. Today, its precious habitats are being damaged by increasing numbers of visitors. A £228,100 project will help the community encourage people to tread more lightly, developing foot and cycle access across the island.

On the whale’s tail

A dolphin leaping near Tobermory
A dolphin leaping in Tobermory port. Credit: Karen Denoon


Those embarking on the Hebridean Whale Trail – which links 33 sites across the west coast of Scotland – will have a warmer welcome thanks to the redevelopment of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust Centre. Thanks to £250,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Gateway in Tobermory will tell the story of our precious marine environment in both English and Gaelic.

And in the North East of England…

Father and child on the beach
Exploring the coast


The first-ever Marine Landscape Partnership to be supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund will help people fall in love with the often overlooked stretch of coastline from South Shields to Teesmouth.

The £2.78m project will see people tackle the problem of marine plastic along a shoreline known to host Little Terns, one of Britain’s rarest sea birds.

Get funding for your project

Funding landscapes and nature is one of our key strategic funding priorities until 2024.

We are currently updating our Environmental Sustainability guidance to reflect the environmental and ecological emergencies. This is our latest advice for projects.

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