This summer Ballymoney Borough Council invited local residents to make the most of the better weather, get outdoors, transform their gardens into a mini nature reserve and enter the Wildlife Gardening Competition 2011.
The response was excellent, with entries of gardens of all shapes and sizes. Gardens entered included a variety of features supporting wildlife such as nest boxes, bird tables, ponds and log piles.
Rachel Bain, Biodiversity Officer, commented: “It was a real joy to judge all the entries. Every garden entered had great value for local wildlife.
“There were a lot of creative features such as insect hotels, home-made bird feeding stations and very imaginative use of recycled containers.”
The judges looked for plants that provided food and refuge for wildlife and the sensitive use of natural resources.
For example, making compost and using peat free products, sourcing alternatives to pesticides, the collection and re-use of rain water, and growing your own fruit and vegetables.
Ian Stevenson, Mayor of Ballymoney Borough Council, explained: “Wildlife gardening is a fantastic way to enjoy your environment and make a difference to the local wildlife.
“The Council was very impressed with the standard of entries, this being the first year of the competition, and is supportive of an initiative which aims to involve and educate the local community on the importance of caring for our environment and encourages everyone to use wildlife-friendly techniques and materials in their gardens.”
Rachel added: “I would like to thank all the local businesses that supported this initiative by donating prizes.
“These were Ashwood Garden Centre, Tesco (Ballymoney), Jollies Pet Store, Ecoseeds and Conservation Volunteers NI.”
For further information on this year’s Wildlife Gardening Competition and local biodiversity work, log onto www.ballymoney.gov.uk or contact Rachel Bain, Biodiversity Officer at (028) 7034 7272 or email Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org.