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Call for more New Forest Ambassadors ahead of lockdown lifting

Call for more New Forest Ambassadors ahead of lockdown lifting

PUBLISHED ON: 26 MARCH 2021

Following the success of last year’s New Forest Ambassador scheme, the New Forest National Park Authority is once again calling on local people to help support its work protecting this internationally-important area for nature and wildlife.

The scheme was set up in July by the NPA and parish councils after local people said they wanted to get involved more in helping to care for the Forest following lockdown.

Like many other areas, the National Park saw unprecedented numbers of people returning to enjoy time outside when restrictions eased.

Most people caused no issues and were keen to respect the area’s rich culture, history and wildlife. However, there was also a rise in anti-social behaviours including fire risks, irresponsible parking and littering.

The Ambassador scheme provides a list of practical ways people can help across the National Park, including in their local villages and community areas.

Last year more than 400 people signed up as ambassadors to help pick litter, report verge parking and help share New Forest Code messaging.

500 free litter picking kits were distributed to various pick-up points, more than 400 counts of cars parked on verges were submitted, and 10,000 copies of the New Forest Code were circulated.

With lockdown measures easing at the end of March, the NPA is appealing for more ambassadors to come forward to help protect the wildlife, habitats and livestock of the National Park. 250 further litter picking kits will be available at various outlets on Monday 29 March, and more copies of the New Forest Code have been printed.

The ambassador scheme supports a new joint action plan put in place by several Forest organisations to ‘Care for the Forest, care for each other’ which includes increased patrols in visitor hotspots, joint visitor communications, fire safety warnings and support for the working Forest.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Recreation Management and Learning at the New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘There are many health and wellbeing benefits of being out in the countryside and on the coast, and the New Forest is expecting another busy spring and summer season. Alongside welcoming people back to the National Park, we want people to understand and respect it, and not inadvertently harm the area they have come to enjoy.’

Richard Taylor, New Forest National Park Authority member said: ‘We’d like to thank all the people who continue to care for and protect the New Forest National Park. This includes businesses and individuals who have helped to share the New Forest Code, as well as existing ambassadors and other community groups such as litter pickers who work tirelessly year-round. All these actions from a collective ‘team New Forest’ help to ensure that the New Forest remains a truly special place.’

For more information on the New Forest Ambassador scheme, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/nfambassadors.

-Ends-

Notes for editor: An image is available to download via the link at the bottom of this release.

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.

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