A scheme to empower nature lovers to help save a flower from extinction has been given the go-ahead after securing lifeline funding.
Plantlife Scotland said the project will help “turn around the fortunes” of rare plants including the Highland twinflower.
The species once flourished in Scotland and was an emblem of the country’s ancient Caledonian pine forests but due to habitat loss and fragmentation has become so isolated it cannot interbreed and faces being wiped out.
The conservation charity has been awarded a £224,300 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to set up the project, involving training volunteers to take part in targeted reintroduction schemes as well as grassland and meadow restoration.
Alistair Whyte, head of Plantlife Scotland, said: “The Cairngorms are home to some of our rarest and most threatened wild plants.
“This National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will allow Plantlife Scotland to work with local communities to make a real difference for these amazing species.
“We’ll be training volunteers, working with local landowners and businesses, and helping communities take practical action for wild plants.”
He added: “Many of these species have a special place in our culture and history but their future is under threat.
“This project will help us turn around the fortunes of Highland specialities like twinflower, one-flowered wintergreen and a whole host of other rare plants.”
A further £190,400 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will help to expand an existing citizen science scheme to monitor at-risk species of whale, dolphin and harbour porpoise in the Northern Isles.
Shorewatch, run by marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation, trains volunteers to identify and scientifically record the movements of legally protected species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Up to 18 different species can be spotted from the Orkney and Shetland coasts and around 180 people will be involved in collecting vital data about where they breed, feed and travel, to help ensure better protection for the marine mammals.
Katie Dyke, Shorewatch policy officer, said: “Whales, dolphins and porpoises are facing a number of threats in UK waters but it is not too late to make a positive change.
“Creating a connection with the ocean and these incredible creatures is key to empower communities to protect them.
“This National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will not only allow us to collect vital data to better understand how species use the waters around the Northern Isles but it will allow us to work closely with local committees and nurture an education, connection and love for these amazing creatures we are lucky enough to be able to watch from our coastline.”