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Danny Renton

As CEO and Founder of Seawilding, the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, Danny Renton’s intentions are clear. He wants to make an impact. Working to restore lost biodiversity, sequester carbon and create green jobs, not to mention transform the education of marine science and conservation, it seems like he’ll do just that.

Leading a team of seven staff and with regular support from up to 60 volunteers, the former journalist is leading the way as Seawilding uses pioneering low-cost habitat restoration methods to bring the coastline back to its best, all the while training and empowering other coastal communities to follow suit.

Among the charity’s impressive efforts, the team have spent three years trialling different methodologies to enable seabed restoration at scale in Scottish waters. They have gathered hundreds of thousands of seeds, replanting them in Loch Craignish in Argyll and Bute. So far Seawilding staff and their voluntary supporters have planted around half a hectare of seabed which will help boost biodiversity by creating fishspawning and nursery grounds, with capacity to capture carbon at scale.

Danny being presented his award by survival expert and environmentalist Ray Mears
Danny being presented his award by survival expert and environmentalist Ray Mears

As well as the team’s work in planting seagrass, they have hand-placed around 300,000 junior oysters, around 1.7 tonnes’ worth, on the seabed. They plan to put down another 700,000 in the coming years.

With regular events across the region, Seawilding, which is currently looking for other sites across Scotland to replicate their approach, helps to train other coastal community groups in its pioneering methodologies as well as reach out to potential volunteers for support in its vital but labour-intensive work.

Danny said: “We are a team of impassioned and experienced people and our goal is to help other coastal community groups do this rewarding work. Our seas are suffering and community empowerment, action and knowledge is the key to restoring the health of our seas.”

Danny Renton with his National Lottery Award
Danny Renton with his National Lottery Award

"I am so thrilled to have been named as this years' Environment winner in the 2023 National Lottery Awards. This award reflects the incredible work of the entire Seawilding team and their dedication to marine habitat restoration."

"With the support of National Lottery Funding, we have created a project that involves the local community and, through collective action and knowledge sharing, will ultimately enable us to make meaningful strides toward the recovery and preservation of our marine environments."

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