Fawley infants learnt about the dangers of litter to wildlife and animals during a special assembly and classroom sessions organised by the New Forest National Park Authority.

Former teacher and New Forest National Park Authority member Maureen Holding visited Fawley Infant School and spoke to staff and pupils at one of her last appointments in her dual role as New Forest District Council Chairman.

With a giant book called ‘First Forest Footsteps’, National Park Authority Education Officer Sue Palma told the children a story of how baby animals were in danger from litter and how they should take their rubbish home.

Maureen Holding said: ‘We have a beautiful environment which is very fragile and needs care.

If we can get to the point where children naturally put rubbish in their bags or pockets to take it home – and encourage adults to do so – it will keep the area beautiful, avoid animal deaths and we can save the taxpayer thousands of pounds.

‘It has been a great privilege to have been the District Council’s Chairman this year, learning about all the good things going on all over the Forest – there is a real community spirit and seeing how the community cares for the Forest and its people is lovely.’

Thanks to a partnership with the District Council, Forestry Commission and National Park Authority, in the last financial year nearly 4,900 New Forest primary school children took part in litter assemblies and classroom sessions to learn about the dangers of littering, how it can affect wildlife, look unsightly, and damage the unique landscape of the New Forest.

Sue Palma said: ‘Litter is a huge issue in the Forest and is extremely harmful to both wildlife and the free-roaming ponies and cattle.

It’s very important that the children learn to take their litter home and help care for the Forest.

We also hope that, through the children’s influence, adults will also follow their lead.’