Meet our New Forest AmbassadorsPUBLISHED ON: 21 APRIL 2022
The New Forest is a wonderfully unique area that needs protecting.
We need people’s help to make sure this ancient landscape is properly maintained and safeguarded. This is where our New Forest Ambassadors come in.
The New Forest Ambassador Scheme was created in partnership with New Forest District Council and parish councils as a result of more local people wanting to get involved in caring for the Forest as the first lockdown was lifted.
The ambassadors help educate visitors about the New Forest Code, report problems and join the hundreds of other people who help keep the National Park clean of litter.
The scheme subsequently provides a fantastic opportunity to explore the New Forest, connect with like-minded people and bring a sense of achievement in making a real difference to the National Park.
All of our ambassadors have their own reasons for joining, some for the mental health benefits, others just looking for exercise, to care for the Forest or something to do.
Come and meet some of them…
Craig Esterhuizen is a chaplain for a local veteran’s group who also works with the Men’s Activity Network in Hampshire. He highlights how he found the Ambassador Scheme helped him in his line of work.
‘I work with chaps with post-traumatic stress and depression and I thought it would be really nice to arrange a clean-up so that we can get them out during covid. We can do a big pick up, make them feel good about doing something purposeful plus we can have a nice chat along the way, in a nice open environment.’
Mary became an ambassador because of her 10-year-old son and now goes out with her whole family litter picking at the weekends. She explains how a school assembly was the inspiration for her family:
‘My son was in an assembly at school where he learned about plogging, which is where you go jogging and you also go litter picking.
‘He and all his friends got very excited about that. We managed to get our free litter pickers and now my son and I and my husband and all of his friends go out litter picking. Everyone comments on it, my son loves it especially if you say thank you.’
You don’t need a big reason to get involved, sometimes it can be something as small as walking the dog. This is exactly how Brockenhurst local Dave Darnell became an ambassador. When walking his dog Flynn he noticed litter along the way and wanted to help.
‘He (Flynn) is probably one of the reasons I started litter picking. My wife and I take him out for a walk most days, we walk through the forest and saw all the litter. Saw this advertised and thought we might as well do something useful whilst we take him out for a walk and we do that most days.’
A huge thanks to everyone helping to care for the Forest and thank you to visitors who have donated to the the Love the Forest scheme which has helped fund our Ambassadors.
We already have 800 ambassadors signed up, but we are always looking for more people to help!
If you would like to make a difference and get involved or simply find out more, visit: New Forest Ambassador scheme – New Forest National Park Authority (newforestnpa.gov.uk).
To find out about how to get involved with litter picking follow: New Forest Ambassador scheme – New Forest National Park Authority (newforestnpa.gov.uk).