New Forest People and Wildlife Ranger Dawn Rayment is set to become a familiar face across the district as she embarks on a mission to keep it a special place for all to enjoy.
Whether it’s visiting eager youngsters at a local school to teach them about the area’s unique landscapes or chatting to visitors at the New Forest Show about the importance of protecting wild nesting birds, Dawn brings a vital message to everyone she meets – ‘enjoy the forest responsibly’.
“No two days are the same,” she says. “My work as a ranger is varied and covers both the green spaces in towns and villages and the wider protected areas of the New Forest.
“One day, I may be talking to picnicking visitors about why they shouldn’t feed the ponies and on another, I could be tweeting about the importance of keeping to the pathways and asking owners to clear up dog mess.
“I’m building up a database in order to measure how my initiatives are making a difference over the next few years. I’ll also be looking at the potential of green spaces which could be enhanced for people and wildlife.”
Dawn’s role is part of New Forest District Council’s ‘Green Way’ strategy to prevent any damage to the internationally-designated areas of the New Forest caused by new housing. This new role was specially created by the council and is being provided by the New Forest National Park Authority’s (NPA) Ranger Service.
“I’m raising awareness of the green spaces that are there for everybody to enjoy, while reminding visitors to be mindful of the wildlife and the importance of protecting the environment.”
NFDC will be working on other initiatives as part of the Green Way scheme, including the creation of new walking routes and improved public open space around the district.
Dawn started her work as ranger in June, but has many years’ experience. She has been visiting the New Forest since childhood and studied for a degree in Zoology before embarking on a career in Countryside Management and Interpretation, which took her to Wales, Berkshire, Surrey and Essex.
She is now looking forward to meeting with local people at events and when out with the New Forest Mobile Information Unit, and is available to give talks to local interest groups.
NFDC portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Sophie Beeton, said: “I hope as many people as possible will get to know Dawn and see the positive impact her work as a ranger will make through the Green Way Scheme. New Forest District Council is keen encourage more green spaces and natural habitats full of biodiversity to be enjoyed by both visitors and wildlife.”