New Perspectives – Katie’s New Children of the New Forest

  • Contributor information: CNP

Our latest New Perspectives Bursary project comes from Katie Dancey-Downs, a writer and journalist based in the New Forest National Park.

Katie’s project, New Children of the New Forest, follows three young people – a shark expert, a secret agent, and a teenager preserving ancient traditions and shares their stories of dedication to defending their New Forest homes.

The project culminated in a series of interviews and short films, all of which can be explored on Katie’s website here.


Arun: “We go to a shore and just list every species we can see. It’s a great opportunity to see loads of creatures and learn more about them, but it also gives me a sense of purpose because I know I’m doing something to help the environment.” Watch the film.

Dominik: “The Galapagos was unlike anything that anyone will ever see, in any place on Earth. It did make me appreciate local things in a new light. It was interesting, just to come and reinforce that all our species are just as important as these fantastic beasts.” Watch the film.


Gemma: “Before we had Young Commoners, it was all the older Commoners putting in their ideas. So people just thought ‘Oh, the young people in the forest aren’t interested in doing that.” Watch the film

The inspiration behind New Children of the New Forest

On her piece Katie says: “We’re seeing such a strong presence from young people in environmental activism and campaigning, so I wanted to know what was happening in the New Forest. The New Forest District Council had also declared a local climate emergency, which made the question of what young people are doing all the more pressing.

When I started to talk to local organisations, they had huge lists of young people they could recommend. I chose the three people I did to show some of the ways they’re getting involved, and because these three people are so passionate about what they do. I wanted to make sure that in a piece about young environmental champions, their voices were really coming through.”

A life in the New Forest

“I grew up in the New Forest and have stayed here as an adult. Being around such beautiful and unique nature has made me care deeply about the natural world, and I still feel such wonder every time I find a new place to explore. It’s given me a sense of how important peoples’ connection with place is, especially in a conservation context, which I’ve seen in different communities across the world in my journalism work.”

Find out more about the New Perspectives Bursary scheme, which gives a platform to those voices less heard in our National Parks here