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Expert to give lecture on Highlands and Islands’ natural resources

Tuesday 12 November 2013

An environmental expert is to give a free public lecture in Fort William this month. Richard Balharry MBE will speak about the importance of the Highlands and Islands’ natural resources and how they can be maintained and managed to benefit all who live or work in the area.

Mr Balharry will draw on experiences from his work on Highland estates and his roles at the Red Deer Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). He retired as SNH’s Badenoch and Strathspey, Moray and Nairn area manager in 1997 and has since chaired several environmental charities, including the John Muir Trust, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and the Access Forum for Cairngorm National Park. He was awarded an MBE in 1995 for services to nature conservation.

Mr Balharry has been asked to deliver the talk as this year’s University of the Highlands and Islands’ Annual Lecture. Entitled ‘Naturally Highlands and Islands of Scotland’, it is part of the University’s Foundation Day, an event to celebrate the achievements of the organisation’s students, staff and supporters which is being hosted in conjunction with West Highland College UHI.

Speaking about his forthcoming lecture, Mr Balharry said: “I plan to tell a story that will extol the virtues of the Highlands and Islands where I have had the privilege of having a career working for and in this incredible landscape. It will be about people and wildlife and I will ask questions relating to the natural resources we use and enjoy today.

“Natural and cultural heritage interests have always been at the forefront of my work, but the responsibility we all have for providing young people with the tools and experience to give them confidence for being the decision makers of the future is also paramount.”

James Fraser, University of the Highlands and Islands principal and vice-chancellor, said: “We are delighted that an expert with such a wealth of professional experience and dedication will deliver our Annual Lecture. Mr Balharry’s talk will be fascinating listening for anyone with an interest in wildlife, the environment and the prospects of the Highlands and Islands and its people.”

The free lecture will take place at The Nevis Centre, Fort William, from 6:15pm to 8pm on Tuesday 26 November. To book a place, please contact the events team on 01463 279344 or at events@uhi.ac.uk