England's National Park leaders meet in the New Forest

National Park Chief Executives

Published Friday 8 November 2013

National Park leaders met in the New Forest to share ideas about how best to protect the special qualities of the parks for all to enjoy.

The chief executives of nine of England’s 10 National Parks spent a day in the New Forest discovering more about the area’s outstanding natural beauty and what challenges the unique landscape and its people face.

As part of their day, the chief executives visited the historic Beaulieu Road sales yard which has recently been refurbished with a new roof, thanks to funding from the New Forest RDPE (Leader) Programme.

They also experienced sustainable transport in electric Twizy cars and on inclusive cycling bikes, specially adapted to enable young people with disabilities to cycle in the New Forest.

Alison Barnes, chief executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘I was delighted to welcome so many National Park leaders to experience the natural beauty of the New Forest. It was a good opportunity to share ideas, discover what projects have worked in other National Parks and how they overcame similar challenges. It was also a good opportunity to discuss how to keep the parks high on the national agenda and in the minds of decision makers as they shape the future of unique living and working landscapes.’

The chief executives also hosted a screening of Project Wild Thing, a feature length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at one father’s humorous journey to encourage his own children to enjoy nature and swop screen time for outdoor time. Guests and local educators were invited to discuss how National Parks can play a greater role in connecting children with nature.

Project Wild Thing was also shown at a public screening at Lymington Community Centre, held in partnership with New Forest Transition and the National Trust.  This was followed by a discussion on the issues the film raised for people living and visiting the New Forest.

Jim Mitchell, interpretation officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘It was good to see that so many people enjoyed the film. It was especially motivating for teachers and parents who I hope felt inspired to do more to get kids outdoors and enjoying nature.’

Find out more about Project Wild Thing at www.projectwildthing.com

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Picture Caption: National Park leaders experience inclusive cycling bikes

Project Wild Thing

Project Wild Thing is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly fragile connection between children and nature.  David Bond (from the film Erasing David) is concerned. His kids' waking hours are dominated by a cacophony of marketing, and a screen dependence threatening to turn them into glassy-eyed zombies. Like many kids, they spend way too much time indoors - not like it was back in his day. He decides it's time to get back to nature - literally. In an attempt to compete with the brands, which take up a third of his daughter's life, Bond appoints himself Marketing Director for Nature. Like any self-respecting salesman, he sets about developing a campaign and a logo. With the help of a number of bemused professionals, he is soon selling Nature to British families. His humorous journey unearths some painful truths about modern family life. His product is free, plentiful and has proven benefits - but is Nature past its sell-by date?

Film contributors include: naturalist CHRIS PACKHAM, Professor AGNES NAIRN, writer and environmentalist GEORGE MONBIOT, scientist JAAK PANKSEPP, writer JAY GRIFFITHS, Professor MICHAEL DEPLEDGE, advertising guru MICHAEL WOLFF, and brain scientist Prof. Baroness SUSAN GREENFIELD.

Project Wild Thing is an 82 mins feature documentary. Cert PG.

Find out more at www.projectwildthing.com

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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