It’s already a wonderful attraction. And now its reputation is set to soar even higher.
The RSPB has officially reopened a visitor centre at a north-east conservation site, which has been described as a “jewel in Scotland’s natural crown”.
The Loch of Strathbeg near Crimond is home to 20% of the world’s pink-footed geese every autumn as well as hundreds of other species of plants and animals.
And now, RSPB Scotland, the group which manages the facility, has thanked the various groups who were pivotal in refurbishing and relaunching the centre.
Representatives from the Coastal Communities Fund, the Friends of Strathbeg and Aberdeen and District’s RSPB branch, as well as local volunteers gathered at the loch yesterday morning for a ribbon cutting.
Martin Auld, regional director for RSPB Scotland, said: “It’s an honour to be at this special event today to be able to say thank you to all of the funders, supporters and volunteers, who help us care for the reserve here at Loch of Strathbeg.
“We’re very proud the reserve is such an important place for nature – providing homes for rare plants, breeding terns and welcoming nearly 20% of the world’s pink-footed geese – but none of it would be possible without financial and practical support from many partners and individuals.”
The organisation was awarded almost £60,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund for the improvements at the loch. That cash paid to move the office next to the visitor centre to free up space to accommodate more volunteers.
The project has doubled the number of places available for the residential volunteering scheme at the reserve.
And as many as 30 extra volunteering opportunities will be created every year.
Last night, environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham praised Britain’s largest dune loch, by stating: “The Loch of Strathbeg is a jewel in Scotland’s natural crown.
“The improved visitor centre will ensure this internationally important wetland can be enjoyed by even more people, bringing significant economic benefits to the local area.”
She added that the refurbished volunteer accommodation would help “conserve this spectacular habitat for generations to come”.
Bill Craigie from Friends of Strathbeg said: “I am sure all the many supporters who bought bird food and nest boxes from us will be delighted to see the excellent new facilities that the profits were spent on.”