03 July 2015

Plastic bag free?

Did you manage a month plastic free?
If not how about trying one full day without using any plastic bags?
Tomorrow is Plastic Bag Free Day

"Its ok, I use reusable bags not single use carriers",
  • but what about the little bags you put your veggies in at the supermarket?
  • the one your lunchtime pastry comes in?
  • the bag you froze last week's leftovers that you're having for tea tonight?
  • the one that's in the bin to stop the use tea bags leaking all over the floor?
They're everywhere.

The EU produces 3.4 million tons of plastic carrier bags every year, that's equivalent to 500 for each person in the European Union and most are only used for 25 minutes!
Not only is all that plastic coming from a finite resource (crude oil) but over 80% of marine litter is plastic. And the impact of that doesn't even bear thinking about....

Did you know that turtles mistake floating bags for jellyfish and gobble them up filling their stomachs with indigestible plastics? Or that British seabirds take in broken up pieces mistaking them for fish.

The oceans are big, huge, even incomprehensible in scope so how do we get rid of all the plastic, decrease the 'floating garbage patches' - the biggest is in the Pacific ocean and estimates of its size from 1/4 million square miles to over five million. (read more on wikipedia here)
Dutchman Boyan Slat dreamt up a possible solution three years ago when he was just 17, now the first trials and feasibility studies are coming through and his idea seems to work! Find out more about his solution and his company, the Ocean Cleanup here: www.theoceancleanup.com
He emphasizes: “Although a cleanup will have a profound effect, it is just part of the solution. We also need to close the tap, to prevent any more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place.”

It's not just bags of course, it's everything plastic, bottles, wrappers, plastic lighters, plastic light fittings, electronic equipment, microscopic beads in cosmetics but how do we know which is worst, most prevalent?
MCS are looking at just that, by comparing data from the regular beach cleans they can see what's washing ashore.
Find out more about the problem plastic present and what you can do to help by reading their lead article in our most recent CJS Focus.

01 July 2015

Many Happy Returns

Well can you believe it? CJS is 21 years old!

The very first edition of CJS was published on the 1 July 1994, how time flies.  Last year we reached the 100 edition mark and included a brief history in our celebratory blog post (here)
In the years since that first edition there have been many changes, but one to which we still hold true to endeavour to give our readers and advertisers the very best we can in terms of both quality and cost.
On that note I'm delighted to tell you that our advertising rates will not be changing, staying at the same low prices we've had for the past few years.  Updated rates cards have been posted to the website for you to download (from here, PDF). And of course standard linage is and always will be free of charge. (Submit your advert here)

If you've not read CJS Weekly and are wondering what you're missing - well quite a lot really - as a birthday treat we've giving everyone a free four week trial, sign up here to receive four copies by email and gain access to all the current back issues too.

26 June 2015

Take your human away from work

Hello - office pups Dido and Hester here!

Did you know that once a year there's an official "Take your dog to work day"?   Well, there is and it's TODAY!  (more here) Which is very, very exciting, of course we go to work every day (read about our exploits in last year's bring your dog to work day post) but all our doggy friends can spend the day with their nominated person seeing exactly what they do all day.  BUT (why is there always a but?) if they are anything like our person it's going to be a very BORING day :(
All our person does is sit still and go clickety-click and peer at the boring TV screen (no animals or balls - boo).
Of course being in The Office means we can keep an eye on her and make sure she moves around a lot - that's very important for everyone - by taking us out for puddles, filling the water bucket, getting on the floor to tie electric string together (electric string and tails is not a good combination apparently) and most importantly giving us regular cuddles, that's a stress reliever.   We all know there's nothing worse than having a stressed human around: they grumble and grump and don't hand out treats often enough and as for playing fetch? well no chance, so regular cuddles it is - even if you have to climb on their lap to distract them from the boring-no-ball television.
When the weather is good (and even if it's not) we bring our leads and sit and give her the 'puppy eyes' (you know the ones fellow woofers ;) ) to persuade her to let us take her for a w-a-l-k at lunchtime and even a bit of ball throwing if she's lucky.  Our big sis Hebe goes sometimes, and sometimes she takes her amy-amy instead of our shared person.

We work very hard at all these very important tasks earning our bonios.  We get lots of bonios so we must very-very good at them.

Enjoy your day at work dogs and then don't forget to take your human home again with you when all the vital doggie-chores are complete for the day.

Woofs and licks

11 June 2015

CJS Professional: June edition (67 pages)

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Administrator, the National Trust for Scotland
Principal Consultant Ecologist, Baker Consultants (Scotland)
Conservation Officer, Wychwood Project (Oxfordshire)
Head Ranger, the National Trust for Scotland (Mar Lodge)
Volunteering Development Officer, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Land Officer, CKD Galbraith (Perth, Scotland)
Deer Stalking Contract, National Trust (Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire)
Lead Ecological Consultant, Norfolk Wildlife Services
Rights of Way Bridge Technician, Somerset County Council
Senior Reserve Manager, Foxglove Covert (Catterick Garrison, N Yorkshire)
Senior Environmental Planner, Aberdeen City Council
Bat Licensed Ecologist, Neo Environmental (Warwickshire)
Ecologist, Sefton Council
Trainee Tutor, Leeson House Field Studies Centre, Dorset County Council
Bat Surveyors, Ecosulis (Bath)

CJS Notices
Do you run a practical conservation tasks programme? Do you need more volunteers? CJS can offer you free promotion of any practical work days
This edition includes CJS Focus on Marine & Coastal Environments in full.
Marine Conservation Society (MCS) lead with an article on marine pollution and some of the ways they aim to tackle the problem. Bass Rock is home to the largest Northern gannet colony in the world; Maggie Sheddan from the Scottish Seabird Centre explains why it is the perfect habitat. Paul Naylor takes photos of marine species and environments in a bid to highlight British marine life, hear about the work he does. The threatened seagrass meadows of Studland Bay are a very important habitat for many marine creatures, Dorset WT give details. Seawatch Foundation describes how important marine monitoring is to conservation efforts and how to get involved. Mark Simpson from WWT details the creation of Steart Marshes & the already evident benefits and South West Coast Path National Trail Partnership discuss management of a coastal path. This edition also includes adverts for projects, websites, services and training. Read it here

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for August is 4 pages Click here to read

If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.com  or feel free to recommend providers and we'll contact them to include their courses (you're not committing yourself or them to anything, and like most things with CJS it's free!)

10 June 2015

Secret spaces. What's just around the corner?

There are little pockets of greenspace hiding in every community, often overlooked, ignored and sometimes left to go totally wild.
Where do you find these hidden gems?
Find your nearest church or burial ground and take a walk around along the paths, between the graves.  Churchyards are often have old, veteran trees, the gravestones are a good habitat for mosses and lichens and the peace and quiet provide a home to all sorts of wildlife as well as allowing people a place for quiet contemplation and space to think away from the noise and hurly-burly of everyday life.
The second week in June is Cherishing Churchyards Week organised by Caring for God's Acre, it is intended to celebrate churchyards and burial grounds and to raise awareness of the treasures they contain.

Goathland church, nestles in a fold of the land at the southern end of the village, it stands foursquare and hunkered down against the elements. I walk through the churchyard regularly on my evening dog walk sometimes straight through along the path other times wandering along the wall edge and between the graves.   As part of my 30 Days Wild Challenge (see my other do something wilds on the blog here) yesterday evening I took longer than usual through the churchyard taking time to absorb exactly what's there, seeking out details I had previously not noticed.

The congregation have regular Churchyard Tidy Up sessions but allow the older sections to grow uncultivated, that's not to say uncared for.  By one of the gateposts there are a lovely little collection of forget-me-not, buttercup, dock and nettle, further round on the moorside of the yard you'll find lady's bedstraw in the grass, and if you look at the grass carefully you'll see it's not lawn turf but a mix of cultivated and wild moorland grass with some small sedges too.  

 Where the grass remains un-mown on and between the closer graves there's a riotous tangle of wild carrot, cow parsley and milkmaids and at this time of year a few last bluebells (English ones not Spanish!). The village doesn't have many trees because the free roaming sheep nibble them down to stumps but in the churchyard, where they're protected, several different species grow including the traditional yew, a young oak, several typical moorland rowan (I'm sure it's not entirely coincidence that there's one by the gate!) and a lovely stand of whitebeam which flash their pale leaves in the gentle breeze.  

Wildlife is encouraged and although the bat boxes have disintegrated after many years of unuse the bird boxes are still on the trees; compost heaps against the wall and under one of the bigger yews are alive with insects and if you're lucky maybe even a slow worm or two.  Sit on one of the benches at dusk and you'll be treated to a bat or two (pips mostly but also a long-ear sometimes) darting around feasting on the clouds of midges.  
I was hoping for lots of lichen but I was surprised to find only a few patches of the crusty, flat forms, hedges elsewhere are covered with the foliose forms, but these are closer to the steam train line and they seem to prosper in the smoke.  The older stones under the trees had the best aggregations.

What will you find?

05 June 2015

Time to take action.

Today is World Environment Day, an annual event aiming at raising awareness of the threats facing our environment and encouraging people to take action to protect nature and the planet.
It's run by IUCN and this year there's a video speech from Dr Jane Goodall, you can find it here.
There are plenty of incentives right now, Volunteers' Week is just coming to a close, read our previous blog about that here and today it's the fifth day of the Wildlife Trust's 30 Wild Challenge, read more about this one on the Trust's special Challenge site here or join their facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30DaysWild/
In case you've missed it we're doing the 30 Day Challenge too.  It's a real eye opener and thoroughly enjoyable (plus an extra excuse to get out of the office or house!), we're keeping track of our progress here.  As you'll see it's got lots of pictures too!
Are you taking part in any of these? Do let us know.

04 June 2015

How much time does it take to make a difference?

Not as much as you'd think!

If you're a volunteer every minute spent makes a difference, you might not see it but it all adds up.

This week is Volunteers' Week, all about celebrating the wonderful work the country's many volunteers do, across all sectors not just in the countryside.  You can find out all about it here: volunteersweek.org

There are many reasons to be a volunteer:
to put something back, to help a favoured cause, to help a special site or place, to gain experience, to make new friends, to learn new skills, to get out and get active, to share your knowledge with others
These are just some of the reasons that countryside volunteers have given as to why they've given up their time.
Time is a precious resource; you can donate as much or as little you want or are able. Anything from an occasional hour or a regular day once a month to a full time placement lasting up to a year.
Volunteers are needed all year round for a wide range of activities, you can offer to check collection tins, spend an hour weeding a flowerbed, an afternoon leading a guided walk, a morning helping children discover the wonder of the natural world, a weekend pulling up invasive plants.  Of course many of us made our way into our countryside careers via time spent as a Volunteer Officer at one of the many charities and this is an excellent way to discover if you're really suited to this way of life, to make lifelong friends and connections and at the same time gaining that valuable experience and practical skills that will put you in prime position to land your first 'proper' job.

If that's got you thinking check out our volunteering section to see what's available right now.
Start here or head straight for the adverts for voluntary placements.

And if you're already up to your ears in countryside work why not think about something else as a way to get away from it all and have a change of scenery. The CJS Team is involved in a range of activities from being on the Parochial Church Council and the Village Hall Trust to baking cakes for school fundraisers and emptying collection tins for a range of charities.  Even the office dogs do their bit, both Hebe and Maia have donated their DNA for research into possible genetic links in cancer in dogs the research is run by Animal Health Trust (one of our favourite, not-countryside charities, please have a look at the wonderful work they do: aht.org.uk).

29 May 2015

30 Days Wild

This June, can you do something wild every day for a month? ask The Wildlife Trusts.   They have set a month-long challenge taking place during June, asking people to do something wild every day thereby making nature part of everyday life.

Sounds like a wonderful idea so we (that being the royal we) signed up, and promptly had a mild freak out about finding something new and different to do every day.  Bearing in mind we're out and about at least once a day and are surrounded by the wonderful North York Moors the thought of having to find something new each day was a scary one.  Then the challenge pack arrived.  It's full of fantastic ideas and suggestions and after reading through it all we banished the idea of adding to or creating a 'life-time' list or a spotters check-list. So here we are only a few days before it starts, keen and raring to go.  We've created a blog specifically for the challenge which we aim to update, if not daily, then several times a week, there's a dedicated flickr stream too.
If you'd like to join us in the challenge find out more and sign up here.

Today, to give us an extra incentive and make us feel like wimps for freaking out over 30 days the John Muir Trust have published the story of Hannah Norton, one of their award participants, who has taken time for nature not just for a month but a whole year, clocking up a staggering 502 hours and 48 minutes of wild time.  The incredible achievement was brought to the attention of Robert Hanna - John Muir's great-great-grandson - who sent Hannah a personal message of congratulations. More here.

26 May 2015

Now published: CJS Focus on Marine & Coastal Environments in association with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS)

Our first look at this section of the sector runs to 16 pages in total. Marine Conservation Society (MCS) lead with an article on marine pollution, they describe some of this year’s initiatives to try and tackle the problem including beach cleans and the Plastic Challenge in June. The article also details some of the recent published scientific studies in to marine plastic litter. Bass Rock is home to the largest Northern gannet colony in the world; Maggie Sheddan from the Scottish Seabird Centre explains why it is the perfect habitat and a bit about the lives of the gannets on the rock. Paul Naylor takes photos of marine species and environments in a bid to highlight British marine life, hear about the work he does as part of marinephoto.co.uk. Dorset Wildlife Trust talks about Studland Bay’s seagrass meadows, the species they support and how important the threatened habitat is. Seawatch Foundation has been involved in marine mammal monitoring for over 40 years; they describe how important monitoring is to conservation efforts and how to get involved. Steart Marshes is a recent wetland creation by the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust; Marks Simpson details its creation, the issues encountered and the already evident benefits reaped from this newly created habitat, and the management of a coast path is something South West Coast Path National Trail Partnership know all about, they write about some of the issues encountered. This edition also includes adverts for projects, websites, services and training. Read it here 

19 May 2015

Are you developing the next generation of employees? What skills do you need?

Why are we asking these seemingly random questions?

This week is Learning at Work Week.  Which is all about highlighting the importance of learning and development supporting all opportunities to learn.
It's all organised by the Campaign for Learning, the first event was in 1999 when it was a single day.

Each year has a theme and this year it is "Shaping our future" looking at the vital role of learning and development in creating resilient workplaces that look to the future.  Countryside staff are by the very nature of their jobs looking to the future in one way or another. Pretty much everyone who works in the countryside knows that a ten year plan is a short term one! (even when it turns out to be an essential if aspirational one -  what with current funding strictures) we don't plant trees expecting today them to be full size tomorrow. But how does this forward looking focus affect the staff and your team when it comes to learning at work?
The Learning at Work week website has highlights of a few specific areas to focus on for this year's theme and has ideas on how to implement them.
The one that strikes us as being of particular relevance to the countryside sector is Developing the future workforce: building links with groups and organisations outside the main business to help develop the next generation employees (volunteers anyone?); offer activities "designed to engage and inspire employees to learn" sounds like a corporate volunteer day (offer your services?) and of course "Promote opportunities for employees to develop their roles and careers within the organisation"  (sounds like CPD). CJS can help with that one, look at our Training Directory to find courses that will do just that or to refresh current certifications.

Our Training Directory has over a thousand listings for short courses not to mention those for longer courses and providers and is updated weekly (sometimes more frequently), searchable by date, location, type etc.
And just in case your office is need of a Team Building exercise see our list of voluntary organisations, and if you're not on there then why not? Send us the details it's free - of course it is, it's CJS!

15 May 2015

Have you? We have.

And (at the time of writing) so have at least 84 thousand others. Join us and them in telling the European Commission to keep the Habitats and Birds Directives in place so they carry on protecting our wildlife and natural places which all depend on these important pieces of legislation.  The Commission is asking for our views and opinions on these laws so now is time to stand up for nature and take a few minutes letting the Eurocrats know how we feel about these vital statues.
To make it easier a group of 100 voluntary organisations from across the UK have done most of the hard work for you, just click through, fill in your details and that's it you're done (here:https://www.naturealert.eu/en).  It really is as simple as that  - assuming you agree with the pre-written answers although if you'd like to write your own, you go for it! you can do that here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/EUNatureDirectives
If you have more than a passing knowledge of the directives completing the survey on the EC Europa site means you have the option to complete a second more in-depth analysis of the directives.

There are details of what's going on in our news (you may need to track back a day or two) and of course we'll keep an eye on the situation and eventually bring you the results of the survey and reactions.

As we're thinking about nature in all its glory here are few phenological notes for you: the swifts have returned, last weekend, AW has seen the first bracken crooks (already 4" high) on the moor and her father-in-law reports an osprey flying over, a house on the moor edge has owls in the owl nesting box for the first time in 12 or so years (one chick from a clutch of three), the lords-and-ladies that we photographed earlier in the year is now in full flower, and it seems that it will be "oak before ash" which has absolutely nothing to do with El-Nino!

And finally another monster edition of CJS Weekly has gone to press, 30 pages again this week with adverts for 74 jobs and 17 for volunteers plus the training calendar of courses and events occurring in July.  Another week like this and we'll published 1500 adverts since January! If you don't want to miss out you'll need to subscribe.

14 May 2015

CJS Professional: May edition, 47 pages!

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Community Woodland Officer – Northern Region, Woodland Trust (Home based, North)
Experienced Forester / General Estate Worker, Downton Hall Estate (near Ludlow, Shrops)
Wildlife & Conservation Co-ordinator, The Donkey Sanctuary (Sidmouth, Devon)
Regional Managers - North East, South East and South West Region, Scottish Land & Estates
Manager - Spurn Gateway, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Community Engagement & Interpretation Officer, Northumberland County Council
Community Engagement & Heritage Education Officer, Northumberland County Council
Catering and Visitor Services Officer - Spurn, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Senior Horticulturist (Arboriculture), The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Partnership Warden (Wildlife Survey),         White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (Dover District Council)
Brecks Reserves Manager, Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Trainee Ranger, Hart District Council
Ecologist, The Ecology Consultancy
Technical Officer (Biodiversity and Trees Technical Support), Hart District Council
Ranger (Shepway), White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (Dover District Council)
Nature Reserve Warden, FCC Environment (Warrington, Cheshire)
Amphibian Surveyor, Heritage Environmental Ltd (Scottish Central Belt)
Barriers Programme Officer,  Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland
River Projects Officer, Shropshire Wildlife Trust
Ranger, the National Trust for Scotland (Culzean Castle & Country Park)
The Black to Green Project Manager, The National Forest (centred on Moira, Donisthorpe and the Ashby Woulds, Derbyshire)
The Black to Green Outreach Officer , The National Forest (Derbyshire)
The Black to Green Community Engagement Officer,  Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, joint post with The National Forest
Countryside Management Lecturer/ Course Manager X 1.5, Kingston Maurward College

CJS Notices
Last chance to advertise in CJS Focus on Marine and Coastal Environments
Quick survey of CountrysideNews followers on twitter

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for July is 6 pages Click here to read

If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.com  or feel free to recommend providers and we'll contact

12 May 2015

Put your best foot forward.

It's walk to work week.

Which is particularly apt as today the Stroke Association reveals a dramatic increase in the number of working age people being admitted to hospital with strokes and in reaction sustrans calls for an increase in investment in walking and cycling.

A rural life (and office)

One of the joys of living in the 'middle of nowhere' (almost but not really) means you're never short of somewhere beautiful to walk, two minutes from my front door and you're up on the wonderful North York Moors, less for AW who's further out and has the moors literally outside the garden gate.  However, it does mean that to get anywhere requires a very long walk or a vehicle, the nearest small shops are four miles away and over a thousand feet in altitude to climb and descend again.  The CJS office is in the village meaning that I'm out one door and in another and HB is within walking distance (five minutes or longer depending on how many times she's stopped on route!), AW is within the parish but only walks when it's knee deep in snow - sucker for punishment. Everyone else is several miles over the moor and has to deal with that altitude.  Which means that we can't really take part in the walk to work week without adding several hours to our journey times - but that doesn't mean that we're not using our feet.  All of us have highly active lives outside of the office (see Pet month for the reason!) however sitting a computer for up to eight hours at a time is not good for anyone but AW can be particularly statue like and on more than one occasion we've threatened to turn off the electricity to her work station.  A report out in March showing that office workers need to move around more  during the day to prevent health problems really struck home. Walking desks sound lovely but not particularly easy to install.

Alternatives to walking to work

Lunchtime means dog walking, my pack of office dogs are thoroughly enjoying the extra outings, taking it in turns to be 'borrowed' for a stroll, Hebe and AW go for a short run (see, she really is a sucker for punishment!); Dido and Hester prefer a more sensible brisk walk through the village, hoovering up as many dropped sandwiches and ice creams as they can as they go.
Although taking part in walking to work week is not really an option they have some wonderful suggestions for other ways to get active.  See here for suggestions.
We particularly like the idea of a walking meeting, AW & I think we might start doing this as we plan out the next Focus edition(s), as long as it's not windy enough to make our notes into kites or confetti.  Perhaps the office dogs could take notes as we walk - or least retrieve any that do get dropped or blown away! (Details about Walking meetings here)

Here are our top tips for getting up out of that chair:

  1. walk (or cycle) to work
  2. if it is sensible to do so then leave your lunch in the car (not a good idea for perishables!) so you have to go and get it or take a walk and buy it from the shop at the other end of the street not the one next door
  3. stand up when you answer the phone
  4. put in-trays and printers just out of arm's reach - you have to stand up
  5. go and talk to colleagues - don't email them
  6. use a networked printer in another part of the building
  7. And don't forget to walk the dog at lunchtime

30 April 2015

For National Pet Month introductions all round!

 Meet Limonie
The newest team (almost) member.  She's a Podenco, a spanish hunting dog.  TB has adopted her all the way from Spain which means she's feeling the cold in our not exactly scorching spring and is loving cuddling up in her new blankets. We're thinking of printing a notice for the side of the car "This dog is not cooking, she comes from Spain and basks in the heat"!  Things might change if / when we get some proper summer.  So far the only time she's been seen panting is after she's spent a happy half hour chasing rabbits in TBs fields!

As it's been National Pet Month and we had a new introduction to make we thought it only right that everyone else got in on the act, so here's our (not so little as it turns out) menagerie!

From fish

through chickens (of all ages!) and geese
to horses and goats; all TBs and the goats are rare breed Golden Guernseys.

and Tony the Tortoise

And last but by no means least the dogs
Team Member dogs

office dogs:
 All creatures great and small welcome in this mad house!
(except cats growls Hebe)