River Dee highlighted in local wildlife film
In the second of our monthly articles from the Dee Catchment Partnership, we hear about the River Dee’s starring role in a brand new film “The Wild North East – Scotland’s Natural Gem”, produced by fellow collaborative organisation, the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership.
The rivers of North East Scotland have been enjoying a high profile thanks to the launch of a stunning 8-minute film highlighting the region’s rich and spectacular biodiversity - and the importance of looking after it. Rivers across the region, including the Spey, the Dee and the North Esk, along with the variety of rare and protected wildlife they each support, all feature in “The Wild North East – Scotland’s Natural Gem”, which was commissioned by the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership and has had almost 100,000 views to date on social media.
“Rivers and in particular, the Dee, feature strongly in the film because they are home to such an abundance of rare and protected wildlife, from otters and water voles, to osprey and salmon, as well as the lesser known species such as the freshwater pearl mussel and the northern blue damselfly,” explains Manager for the Dee Catchment Partnership, Susan Cooksley. “This range has cemented the Dee’s status as a key conservation area and one which is rightly recognised under a whole raft of designations and protections.”
These rivers are attractive destinations for tourists as a result, with visitors flocking to the Dee in their thousands every year. “Knowing that you have a good chance of spotting a red squirrel or even a pine marten, or the first swallow skimming the surface of the river, makes the Dee extremely popular,” continues Susan, “and the case for looking after our rivers and catchments all the more important.”
As well as providing key wildlife habitats and attracting tourists, the rivers form the lifeblood of rural economies, as the film’s narrative describes: “Arteries that carry life from the Grampian mountains all the way to the sea, and on the way their pure, life-rich waters provide opportunities for people…as well as wildlife.” Agriculture, fishing and whisky distilleries, to name a few, depend on a healthy river and a healthy natural environment generally, as the film continues: “We might think…we don’t need nature, but we do. Our very existence relies on the many services that nature provides.”
Targeting locals and visitors, young and old, the Aberdeenshire Ranger Service is ensuring that a copy of the film reaches all schools throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Its aim is to increase awareness of north east Scotland’s spectacular landscapes and wildlife, and encourage people to ‘do their bit’ and act on some of the film’s closing suggestions, from creating a garden pond to picking up litter, as Susan explains: “The film concludes by explaining the value of wildlife, why we should care and what we can do. There are so many opportunities to learn how to spot and identify wildlife, such as through Ranger Service events across the North East. Reporting what you see is invaluable for our work and often directs conservation projects on species such as the red squirrel and water vole – you can report your sightings to the North East Scotland Biological Records Centre.”
Outreach Officer for the Dee Catchment Partnership, Marina Piper, who is also a member of the Biodiversity Partnership’s Awareness & Involvement Group, added: “Despite our different priorities, both organisations have several common interests and we always work together when we can. We are 100% behind the message at the heart of this beautiful film, that everyone is responsible - we all have a duty to safeguard the fantastic biodiversity we have right here on our doorstep, whether in our gardens or further afield. We hope the film will inspire people to take action locally, share their ideas and spread the word, so that the Dee and its catchment are looked after and enjoyed for generations to come.”
The film can be viewed here:
Suggested photo caption: The River Dee has a starring role in a new film highlighting North East Scotland’s wildlife and why we need to look after it.
Notes to Editors:
Link to Aberdeenshire Council’s Ranger Service Events:
Link to North East Scotland Biological Records Centre:
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