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Vote for flourishing Tyrone ‘field of dreams’

WITH more than 64 species of birds and 12 mammals recorded in their flourishing vegetable garden, it is no wonder that talented husband and wife team, Sir Bob and Lady Rosemary Salisbury have reached the final stages of a prestigious competition – but now they are in need of your help.
The Omagh couple, who transformed five acres of unloved rural wasteland in Tyrone into a colourful haven for wildlife, mammals and birds alike, are currently just one of six contenders in the running to win the Irish Wildlife’s ‘Local Biodiversity Champion Award’.
However the pair need to acquire enough votes online by January 14 to make it through to the grand finals of the competition, which will take place at the National Biodiversity Conference in February.
Now seven acres in size, the pair’s ‘Field of Dreams’ project boasts three lakes, a wildflower meadow, formal gardens, an orchard, a vegetable plot among some 7,000 native Irish trees.
Otters, barn owls and merlin can be seen roaming amidst the luscious haven, which also attracts large numbers of mallard and teal. The butterflies, too, have returned and this season, the pair recorded the first greater spotted woodpecker.
Absolutely delighted, Bob described the award nomination as ‘astonishing’.
“Being nominated as finalists for another major award is truly astonishing because we never gave a thought to accolades like this when we first set out to create our wildlife area,” he said.
“We bought five acres of land in Ireland 14 years ago, and found it to be a ‘rural desert’ with virtually no wildlife.
“My wife grew up in the area and remembered skylarks, curlew, grey partridge and butterflies, and though we had little knowledge of biodiversity, no knowledge of garden design, and no spare cash we decided to try to build a wildlife area to see if we could turn the clock back.
“Throughout the development of the project, we have had tremendous support from many local people and it is pleasing that this community effort is now recognised.
“Every vote will help, but the deadline of January 14 is fast approaching so everything has been a bit of a rush.”
• To vote for Sir Bob and Lady Salisbury, simply log on to iwt.ie/biodiversity-awards/vote-champion and click ‘Vote’ on ‘PROJECT D: Bob Salisbury, Field of Dreams’.
Voting is open until January 14, and the three projects with the most votes will reach the grand finals.

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