New Forest NPA ‘thanks a million’ for successful Awakening FestivalPUBLISHED ON: 6 APRIL 2022
Messages about the climate and nature crises in the National Park reached an audience of more than a million people thanks to the New Forest Awakening Festival, which took place throughout February.
The Festival, which ran for the first time last year, was led once again by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA). It aims to help share why the New Forest is so special, its role in the climate and nature emergencies, what people are already doing to protect it, and highlight how everyone can help.
More than 45 online and in-person events were held throughout the month in the 2022 festival thanks to a range of New Forest organisations, businesses and charities. These included wildlife walks and talks, a carbon calculator workshop, a mini eco film fair, clothes swap and repair café, and expert tips on how to save energy in the home. There were also events from New Forest Marque members, including a tour of a commoner’s farm.
Many events requiring tickets were at capacity, with more than 3,300 people attending either online or in person. Businesses and green groups encouraged sustainable practices through initiatives including a plastic toothbrush exchange, refill stations and upcycling opportunities.
Overall, messages about the climate and nature emergencies were seen by more than a million people; while more than 100,000 people engaged with the online posts or events (attended events, viewed videos, commented, liked or shared social posts).
As part of the Festival, the NPA’s Education and Youth team created a Climate Champions film to take important climate and nature messaging to a younger audience, and then visited more than 2,000 students in schools around the New Forest to answer their questions in response to the film.
Children were also invited to enter a prize draw by submitting a piece of art showing how they had been taking their own actions for the environment. All the entries can be seen on the NPA’s blog page.
An online Volunteer Fair was the finale to the 2022 Awakening Festival which attracted 250 sign-ups to 16 New Forest organisations with volunteering opportunities.
Prof. Gavin Parker, Chair of the New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘The New Forest is an incredibly special place, with different habitats supporting a wide range of wildlife species – many of which are rare. Climate change is the biggest long-term threat to the National Park, but we can all take steps to help address it and preserve our special landscape for future generations.
‘We’re thrilled at how many people engaged with this year’s Awakening Festival, and we would like to thank everyone who took part. We have been working more with green groups to encourage action in local communities, and we have also had a refreshing reminder that young people are incredibly environmentally aware and keen to see and take action for climate and nature.
‘We look forward to hosting another Awakening Festival in 2023.’
Photo: Andrew Parry Norton, from New Forest Marque member The Commoners Larder leads a tour of Storm’s Farm and the northern commons as part of the Awakening Festival.