In a 15-year labour of love, Sir Bob Salisbury, a former Professor in the School of Education at the Universtity of Nottingham, and his wife, Rosemary, have transformed a barren corner of County Tyrone into a wildlife haven. Neither Bob nor Rosemary were experts in biodiversity, they knew nothing of garden design, had little spare cash, but in Bob's words, they had a dream.
"Over the years we have come to realize that wildlife gardens are different. They look different, sound different and are magical and alive. In creating them we can feel we have made some small contribution towards preserving what we have. We now have our own ‘bee-loud glade’ with a dawn chorus which in the spring and summer is truly spectacular. If two total amateurs can achieve this turnaround then anyone can. It is a question of changing the way we think about gardening and wildlife and taking action rather than wringing our hands and sitting back. We set out fifteen years ago with an improbable dream but, in our small way, now feel we have managed to make a difference. In order to sustain our country’s wildlife the bottom line is that we must try to plant our meadows, build our ponds, plant our woodlands and rethink our gardening practices. Committed people can change the world. We must be prepared to put in more than we take out. In our view it is well worth the effort!"
In November 2018 the project won the prestigious Sustainable Ireland award for the best environmental initiative and is currently in the final voting for the Environmental champion award by the Irish Wildfowl Trust.
Bob's book 'Field of dreams' was published in May 2018 and has received excellent reviews. It was recommended as Christmas reading by The Sunday Times, Irish News, RTE1 and Irish Garden.
This is an inspiring story of how to make a difference to our native wildlife by looking after a small piece of land with passion and hard graft. And what shines through is that in the end it s not just nature that blossoms and thrives in such places. It s the human spirit. --Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall