- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A local Assembly Member is backing the Dyfi Osprey Project to win a prestigious award.
The project’s 360 Observatory on the Cors Dyfi reserve in Derwenlas, near Machynlleth, is competing for public votes to become Britain’s best environment project in The National Lottery Awards.
Joyce Watson AM is a keen birdwatcher and has visited the project several times.
Backing the project for top prize, the Labour AM took the opportunity to remind visitors not to walk on the train line to try to get closer to the birds.
Mrs Watson said:
“The 360 Observatory is a great place for locals and for visitors to enjoy, and I’m delighted that it’s being recognised as one of the best environment projects in the country.
“It has fantastic webcams and other viewing equipment to help get close to nature, offering lots of photo opportunities, so there is no need for people to walk on an active train line to try to find the osprey nest.
“Apart from disturbing the birds in their nest and the obvious risk to life, they won’t get the same view they get in the observatory, with its nest-cam which captured the birth of the chicks.
“The 360 Observatory is the only Welsh finalist seeking votes to win this award, so I would urge people to get behind it and vote for it.”
The project, run by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, used a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to build the observatory.
Since opening last year almost 50,000 people have visited the 360 Observatory which, at its closest point, is less than 200 metres away from the osprey nest.
Project Manager Emyr Evans said:
“There isn’t a building anywhere in Britain like it. You can see up, down, left and right, and people can interact with the birds up-close.
“The project benefits volunteers, especially the older ones, some of whom were lonely before taking part.”
Winners of the National Lottery Awards receive a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project, which they plan to spend on the 360 Observatory Wheelchair Lift Fund.
Emyr Evans said:
“When we built the 360 Observatory we managed to get wheelchair users all the way there safely through the wet bogland and swamp on 550m of super-wide boardwalk on stilts made out of recycled materials.
“We have no electricity however, so installing a lift to the top level was impossible,” he said.
“We currently have around 60 per cent of the £25,000 we need to put in a lift and hope to build the lift in September or October this year.”
Voting is open until July 29 and can be done by phone on 0844 836 9683 or at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/360-observatory
The winners will be announced in September.