GreenTweed Eco was created by teacher and conservationist Tom Rawson in 2018 with the aim of bringing together environmental groups and charities with schools and communities across Scotland.
Tom is father to three young boys, husband to Emma and teaches Latin, History, Geography and Environmental Studies at St. Mary's School, Melrose in the heart of the Scottish Borders. Tom has long been a passionate environmentalist having grown up in he hills of Highland Perthshire and gone to school between the Cairngorms and the Moray Firth.
While teaching in East Lothian, Tom worked alongside marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage to raise awareness of plastic pollution and organise a series of beach cleans along the beaches and cliffs of the Firth of Forth. Tom is now the Surfers Against Sewage regional representative for the south of Scotland, recently helping to develop a new framework for the Plastic Free Communities scheme.
Having successfully organised beach cleans in East Lothian it was a natural progression to develop a series of river cleans along the River Tweed and its tributaries. These began with local events in Melrose before Tom organised the first event under the GreenTweed Eco banner; 7Towns1River. 196 volunteers from towns and villages between the source and the sea collected 2,200kg of rubbish from the main river. 7Towns1River led directly to the current Great Borders River Clean involving over thirty communities on rivers and waterways across the Scottish Borders. 453 volunteers attended the last edition and, with the support of the Fallago Environment Fund, the Great Borders River Clean is now one of the biggest river clean events in the United Kingdom.
Tom won the RSPB's Nature of Scotland Youth & Education Award in 2015 and bringing Nature, and birdlife in particular, to the classrooms and playgrounds of Scotland's young people has long been a driving passion.
In 2020, GreenTweed Eco partnered with the Nineveh Charitable Trust to begin the Borders Primary Schools Birdbox Project; an ambitious programme to supply each of the sixty Borders primary schools with ten bird boxes each over a three year period. With over four hundred boxes produced from Tom's St. Mary's School workshop, the Borders Primary Schools Birdbox Project has been a huge success winning both the Young People's Trust for Education's Totally Active Award and the Scottish Land & Estates Conservation Award. In addition, GreenTweed Eco was shortlisted for the 2020 RSPB Nature of Scotland Youth & Education Award.
More recently, GreenTweed Eco's activities have expanded northward with the execution of both the Single Spey River Clean and the ongoing Highland Primary Schools Birdbox Project. 137 volunteers cleared over 100 bags of rubbish during the single weekend of 2020's inaugural Single Spey River Clean and linked communities along the length of the River Spey to tackle the insidious problem of plastic pollution.
The Highland Primary Schools Birdbox Project is perhaps GreenTweed Eco's biggest challenge so far. With the funding and support of the Conservation Collective's Highlands & Islands Environment Foundation, Tom will build and deliver ten boxes to each of the 170 Highland Council primary schools over the four year span of the Project. 450 of the boxes have been built so far in the Tom's cricket pavilion workshop at St. Mary's School in Melrose with distribution expected to begin from June 2021.
RSPB's Nature of Scotland Youth & Education Award in 2015
Young People's Trust for Education's Totally Active Award
Scottish Land & Estates Conservation Award
Shortlisted for the 2020 RSPB Nature of Scotland Youth & Education Award
Winner of the Conservation Award at the Helping It Happen Awards