New Forest Water Wildlife Month

Explore some of the best freshwater habitats in the UK

The New Forest is an iconic landscape – the heather, the great oaks and the ponies – but did you know that it’s a stand out place for freshwater plants and animals too?

Freshwater Habitats Trust is running a packed calendar of events so that you can explore some of the best freshwater habitats in the country throughout July – New Forest Water Wildlife Month.

The New Forest is home to amazing freshwater animals like the Fairy Shrimp and plants like Coral Necklace – a beautiful and unmistakable species with long trailing red stems and clusters of white flowers resembling beads threaded along a necklace. These plants and animals struggle to survive elsewhere in the country – the clean, unpolluted water of the New Forest is so important.

You can join freshwater wildlife experts to look for clean water by testing local streams, ponds and ditches. Use your survey skills to find out how rare plants and animals are faring. And you can learn about Flagship Ponds – the very best ponds in the country.

Dr Naomi Ewald, New Forest pond expert from Freshwater Habitats Trust, said: ‘The New Forest is home to astonishingly lovely ponds, and is a special place where people live and work alongside some of the most important freshwater habitats in Europe. I work all over the country, but nowhere else comes close.’

New Forest National Park Authority Ecologist Ian barker said: ‘New Forest Water Wildlife Month highlights how unique the National Park is in terms of the UK’s wildlife resource. Next month provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved and discover how we can all help sustain wetland wildlife, and find out more about what is already being done to preserve the Forest’s freshwater habitat.

‘We work closely with the Freshwater Habitats Trust on a number of projects to improve the water environment of the Forest, including the Heritage Lottery Fund Our, Past Our Future Living Waters project and the New Forest Catchment Partnership.’

The first events this weekend include a talk by Dr Ewald about the freshwater wildlife of the forest, and walks around several ponds and streams to explore the area and test the water for pollution.

New Forest Water Wildlife Month is part of People, Ponds and Water, a national project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund that helps people make a real difference to protecting our freshwater wildlife.

New Forest Water Wildlife Month events are running every weekend throughout July 2017. There are more details on the Freshwater Habitats Trust website and events can be booked via info@freshwaterhabitats.org.uk or 01865 595505.

 

Notes to Editor:

  1. Details of the New Forest Water Wildlife Month are available on the Freshwater Habitats Trust website: http://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/new-forest-water-wildlife-month/
  2. Photo opportunities: please contact Dr Naomi Ewald on 07793 950441 about attending the events and other opportunities to photograph and report on the freshwater wildlife of the New Forest.
  3. The People, Ponds and Water project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allows people to make significant contributions to the conservation of freshwater wildlife across England and Wales. Hundreds of volunteers have already helped find clean water habitats using simple test kits in the Clean Water for Wildlife survey, and are helping find a monitor rare plants and animals through PondNet – the largest pond monitoring programme we know of.
  4. During New Forest Water Wildlife Month, people can take part in WaterBlitzes where we will test the water quality of as many ponds, rivers and streams as possible in one day. The results will be mapped and used to efficiently target action to protect the best sites from damage and sort out pollution problems. Results of the 2016 New Forest WaterBlitz are here: http://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/clean-water/clean-water-results/
  5. New Forest Water Wildlife Month is also a chance to learn about Flagship Ponds. Flagship Ponds are the best ponds in the country, home to our rarest pond wildlife. The New Forest has several Flagship Ponds, each with a fascinating story. There is more information on Flagship Ponds here: http://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/flagship/
  6. For more information on the project and the events, please contact Dr Naomi Ewald on newald@freshwaterhabitats.org.uk or 07793 950441.

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