|Comma Butterfly in the New Forest|
The New Forest National Park Authority has received just over £45,000 from the New Forest RDPE (Rural Development Programme for England) Leader Programme for a one year pilot project to work with a small number of local community groups and parish councils to develop community wildlife plans.
The wildlife plans will identify habitats such as grassland, hedgerows, ponds, rivers and woodland and the wildlife species that live in them. The aim is to help local residents better understand the importance of where they live and how changes in wildlife management and restoration projects will enhance these areas.
The parishes of Godshill, Hordle, Landford, Marchwood, Milford on Sea, New Milton and West Wellow have been chosen as pilot areas. In each area community wildlife champions will receive training from a project officer and work with the Land Advice Service to lead survey work and become local experts on natural environment issues.
Kathryn Boler, External Funding Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This project will help New Forest communities to better understand the wildlife around them so that they can help to protect key habitats and species in future years.
‘It is a great opportunity for people with an interest in wildlife to get involved and find out what is on their doorstep.’
Sally Igra, New Forest RDPE (Leader) Programme Manager at New Forest District Council, said: ‘The local action group was very pleased to support this project which will help residents of the New Forest to gain a better knowledge of the wildlife in their parishes.’
Further reading: New Forest Wildlife