Plans for renowned bird conservation centre revealed

Web bird gardens scotland - owen joiner with hawaiian geese

Community interest company Bird Gardens Scotland is planning to create a new facility in the Borders

12th January 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Plans for a world-renowned conservation and breeding centre for endangered birds have been revealed.

Birds Gardens Scotland has submitted proposals for a 200 square metre visitor centre made from straw and lime morter at its site in Oxton, near Lauder.,

The building - which is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Scottish Borders LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme and Scottish & Southern Energy - will provide a classroom, conference facilities, a resource area, library, coffee shop, and outdoor play area.

The community interest company already provides a haven for over 450 exotic birds including the emu, swan goose and black swan.

Bird Gardens hopes to attract 30,000 visitors annually within the next five years, and ultimately aims to create a world-renowned conservation and breeding centre for endangered birds and other animals.

Owen Joiner, the conservation biologist behind the organisation, said: “We’re delighted that planning permission has been granted and work can now beginning on the build. We will be using traditional techniques to construct the centre and hope that local groups and students will get involved in the process.

"Once open, the centre will showcase a more sustainable way of living; the café will use food grown in our kitchen garden and a reed bed water filtration system will be installed to process waste. As the entrance to the grounds, the centre will provide a place to meet, learn and play."

Working with his husband, Mark Haillay, a breeder of rare and minority breed poultry and experienced horticulturalist, Joiner came up with the idea for Bird Gardens Scotland seven years ago.

Since then the couple have established an advisory board of directors and are creating a range of different habitats on seven hectares of land that mimic the natural landscapes of the species they protect.

Joiner said: “Our dream is for Bird Gardens Scotland to become a driving force in the conservation of birds, which play a vital role in our ecosystem, while also bringing together school and community groups, families, naturalists, artists, photographers, and anyone interested in conservation to the area to learn in a unique environment.”

The organisation has been boosted by working with Business Gateway Scottish Borders, which helped support the formation of the community interest company.

Wilma Norris, Business Gateway adviser, said: “Bird Gardens Scotland is an exciting project that has the potential to bring real benefits to the region. Faced with a raft of complicated paperwork, Owen turned to us for guidance and used our advice to establish both his health and safety policy and policies pertaining to children and vulnerable people. He has also benefited from our knowledge of local funding packages, successfully applying for money to build pathways that now traverse the grounds.”