19 December 2014

End of Term

So that's it then another 50 editions of CJS Weekly published and another year drawing to a close.  Which means that for us (at least) it's time for a well deserved two week break giving everyone that end of term feeling.  AW suggested that we could all bring board games for the afternoon like everyone used to at primary school.  Prompting a a trip down a memory lane cluttered with cards, kerplunk, mousetrap, connect four and snakes and ladders and ending with a lively discussion about which games everyone liked or didn't.
Scrabble (2399933493) by Tim Niblett - ScrabbleUploaded by MaybeMaybeMaybe. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Common

Turns out cludeo is AW's favourite, monopoly in our house (longest running game was for nearly a month and everyone ended up bankrupt after a certain person built four - yes, four - hotels each on Park Land and Mayfair), scrabble is popular with HB's family.  This last one caused quite a stir because we found out that TB has never played! So if we get time today (not likely in all honesty but we can save it for rainy day, indoor playtime?) the boards may just have to make an appearance!

12 December 2014

Doing the news

A task carried out by one of the CJS Team members every day, to bring you the edited highlights of the news across the sector. It can be anything from a stack of scientific papers to a big breaking story and all the reactions from the various organisations.  We receive hundreds of press releases every day as well as reading the countryside and wildlife related publications and relevant sections in the main daily newspapers. However, to find out what's happening more locally we use many specific watches and alerts set up to let us know of the latest stories, these are triggered by specific keywords.  One of our sources is of course google news where we have our personalised CJS settings.
snippet from our CJS news searches

And it's here that the fun begins, google is very good at finding specific words but not so much at looking at the context.  You'd be surprised how many seeming innocuous words are actually linked to other things, for example we know far more than we ever wanted to about Jodie or Kym Marsh, apparently there are several US sporting teams called badger and recently there has been a lot about the DJ Neil Fox!
Sometimes the shear idiocy of people leaves us speechless (although frequently results in a quick email around the rest of the team!).  Which is why we occasionally need the feel to double check that a news story really is what it says it is, hence the title of an article in the most recent CJS Focus "Glad to find it wasn't an April Fool" all about the Greater London Notional National Park. Read it here.
And then there's twitter to read....

Apparently we've sent over 25K tweets on our CountrysideNews stream, that's a huge amount of information and if you think that we tweet maybe one in 40 or more items read that means that since we started tweeting the news we've read approximately 1million stories - no wonder we're all cross eyed!

It all adds up to some large publications, this week alone we've produced over 60 pages of newsletters, and today has been a bit trying, one key member of staff off sick, one advertiser at the end of their tether with 'those upstairs' resulting in a very late advert for CJS Weekly and one problematic advert being handled by an intermediary (this one has been rumbling for a couple of weeks). But, as ever we all pitched in and the print edition is almost ready for dispatch, the electronic ones have just gone, phew.
And there's only one more left this year - heavens.

11 December 2014

CJS Professional December edition.

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:
Horticulture Warden (maternity cover) WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Senior Planning & Biodiversity Officer, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (St Albans)
Ecologist, Aspect Ecology (Oxfordshire)
Parks Attendant, Falkirk Community Trust
Tree and Landscape Officer / Senior Arboricultural Officer, Wokingham Borough Council
Countryside Operative, Three Shires Ltd (near Melton Mowbray, Leics)
Project Manager Vacancy Rural Development Initiatives Ltd. (in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Foresters) (ideally be based at the ICF offices in Bristol)
Software Application Developers (3 posts), Software Application Test Manager, Technical Project Manager, exeGesIS SDM Ltd (Powys)
Outdoor and Environmental Tutor, Simonsbath House Outdoor Centre (Somerset)

CJS Notices
ONE: If you have advertised for volunteers with CJS over the past year you should have received an email from The Team with details about some special offers for you for 2015.  If for any reason you have not received the email please contact us and we'll resend - the offers are exclusive to each advertiser so you need your individual copy - and they're not to be missed!
Two: CJS Focus on Volunteering, published on 16 February 2015.
Booking adverts NOW!
If you're in need of a helping hand or if your volunteers group is getting a little small then place a FREE advert in the next CJS Focus. 50 word linage for general advertising about your project, work days, conservation tasks.
If you have a specific post then the usual Standard (Free) Linage is available - around 250 words per post.
Find out more here.  Or read the last Focus on Volunteering (published September) here.
And please spread the word: Do you have a Friends of group? Let them know about the Focus either to advertise for more members or just to read once it's published.
One last thing - deadline for ALL advertising is 30 January 2015.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for  February 2015 Click here to read
If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.

08 December 2014

Easier to remember

We're gradually working through the website, streamlining sections, removing unnecessary pages and moving others.
The latest is the the Volunteers Section. it now has a much simpler, easier to remember address: countryside-jobs.com/vols (or countryside-jobs.com/volunteers) All the same features, free adverts and vast wealth of information.  If you have the page bookmarked please update.

05 December 2014

The dog poo fairy

What a lovely subject!
But as we're all dog owners and responsible ones at that we pick up, bag AND BIN making us part of the nine out of ten.

This has been the discussion via one of our intranet documents this past week:
And here's the Tidy Britain, We're watching you campaign PR

They do have some free posters, not this one (yet) though. (see: http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/shop/-1/20/1/1005/15/o/5928b98f-19b1-4f78-ac43-91bb14e3474d) so we could get some of those and put them up. 

I suppose we would have to laminate and it wouldn’t just be simple would it – why not? It never hurts to try! Although over the coming months there will be improvements in the number of bins etc. so hopefully this may help the problem.

Have you seen the bag hanging off the hinge of the gate at the station end of the Mill Green?

OK, so how many cans of biodegradable luminous paint do we need?!?

I did debate whether to get some highways marking paint to circle each pile I found!


Different colours mean different writers (purple one is also a Parish Councillor)

Although it's been discussed before this particular conversation was triggered by the latest Tidy Britain Campaign - which, needless to say, we're all behind - and was in last week's news, you can read all about it here. We're watching you!
In response to our tweets about the problem we were tweeted by @TheDoggieWoggie who said, "Do your doo-ty...even in the dark. If you are using a Woggie...no need for poo pick up", They are a company based in Indiana USA (where else) who have a solution, find out more here: http://www.woggiedog.com/
Now I'm sorry but my mob would simply sit down and refuse to be seen out in public or failing that remove each others or their own 'baskets'. Anyway it gave us a giggle and at least someone is trying to find a fix for irresponsible dog owners (although they probably wouldn't buy or use a DoggieWoggie anyway).  The big thing is that the problem gets worse in the winter, now whether that's because people think they can get away with leaving it be in the dark or perhaps it's that the residents are less responsible than the many visitors to the village, hence the idea behind luminous pink (office dog Hebe insists it's pink) spray paint and at least if it's glow in the dark we won't tread in it...

In between our delightful discussions we have put together this week's edition of CJS Weekly, 15 pages this week with 32 adverts for paid posts and 16 for volunteers. It also has the second advance Christmas Warning meaning there are only two more editions left this year - heavens. There's more information here.

24 November 2014

Now published: CJS Focus on Urban Environment in association with Love Parks

22 pages in total this Focus in association with Love Parks highlights the urban environment. The lead article from Love Parks highlights some of the work the campaign is involved in across the UK. Heritage Lottery Fund draws up some of the main points from their ‘State of UK Public Parks 2014’ report and gives details of how they want to assist in the future. Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme is a real boost to the Parks sector read about some of their projects and ideas. Birmingham City Council created the first new city centre park in Birmingham for 130 years in 2012, read about the process they went through and see how successful it has been. Community involvement is an important addition to urban environment management, Caring for God’s Acre (CFGA) discuss some of the ways in which they encourage the local community to care for their local space. The importance of urban gardens as wildlife habitats has been much played down over the years. The Wildlife Gardening Forum aims to change that and gives some information on what they are doing to raise the profile of gardens. Natural England pick a couple of points from their MEBIE2 report and give some examples of evidence of the good urban greenspace can do. A long list of the benefits of trees is provided by Treeconomics who then go on to detail how benefits can now be determined in economic terms. greenspace scotland have a large number of resources available to green space managers, they give information on two of their current projects. Henry Barnard is kind enough to run us through some of the issues he encounters as an urban Countryside Ranger and we finish with an interview piece on the Greater London National Park campaign, is it a good idea or not? This edition also includes some adverts for products, projects, websites and services.

21 November 2014

wet or dry, warm or white?

There have been plenty of opportunities to get and about without needing the full wet-weather gear, however, underfoot is a different matter entirely everywhere is sodden and rapidly turning into a quagmire. HB has two pairs of waterproof muck boots to use in rotation, I stick to heavy-duty walking boots and gaiters but I was looking at the gaiters as I took them down to put them on again and thinking they really need re-proofing but when am I going to get an opportunity to knock all the mud off, get them clean and dry and then wax them? At this rate not before the New Year.  AW's dogs can't even get out for a puddle without coming back clarted up and brown from head to tail (they're collies and Bill is - or is supposed to be - mostly white!) at least it doesn't show up so much on my black-coated tribe and the new fully paved dog yard is very much appreciated.
On Tuesday evening office dog Dido and I sat on the bench outside church, enjoying the peace and quiet, we listened to the owls (much canine head cocking involved) and picked out a few constellations (not many the church is flood lit) but the really odd thing was the weather-  it was ridiculously warm, an unzipped lightweight jacket over a mid-weight fleece was more than ample. And then news came in that every one of the 50 American states (yes, inducing Hawaii) had experienced temperatures below freezing.  This was closely followed by the incredible pictures of the snow storm across New York State, we like this one best! The US National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue and could eventually total 6 feet in places.  It's these unusual weather conditions that have created this freak-storm or so they say but round here tradition has it that what NY has we get two to three weeks later, so we're stocking up! Fingers crossed that large blocking low does its stuff and keeps it on the other side of 'the pond'.
Safe and warm in the CJS office the latest edition has gone to press, the main edition is quite small by our standards but we make up for it with the January calendar of professional events and courses and the latest CJS Focus (more of that on Monday).

13 November 2014

CJS Professional: November edition.

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:
Senior Warden, Thames Basin Heaths Strategic Access Management and Monitoring project, Natural England (Flexible, but must be able to travel to the Thames Basin Heaths SPA on a daily basis)
Operatives, Glendale (2 x Salisbury and 2 x Chippenham in Wiltshire)
Regional Officer Central, BASC (Home based but ideally the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire or Northamptonshire.)  
Field Studies Tutors, Cranedale Centre (Malton, N Yorks)
Consultancy Internships x 2, Maydencroft (Hitchin, Herts)
Chief Officer, Aberdeen Greenspace Trust
Business Opportunity to Deliver Learning at Grizedale Forest, Forestry Commission
Project Manager, Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (New Lanark)
Public Affairs Officer,  Scottish Land & Estates
Countryside Engagement & Marketing Officer, Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme, Cambridgeshire ACRE (Littleport, Cambridgeshire)
North Wiltshire Reserve Manager, Natural England
Seaton Jurassic Centre Manager, Devon Wildlife Trust
Education & Community Officer (Maternity Cover - 9 month contract), Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (Based at Far Ings National Nature Reserve, Barton-upon-Humber)
Site Foreman, Five Rivers Environmental Contracting Ltd (South of England)
Senior Education & Community Officer (Marine Specialist), Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, Skegness)
EcoSkills (Volunteer Training Programme), Natural England Based at East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, Bovey Tracey
Senior Ecologist, Amec (London or Newbury)
Roding Valley Ranger, Essex Wildlife Trust
Humberhead Levels Transport Corridors Project Officer, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for January, this month's edition also includes details of courses available on demand or on an ad hoc basis, the calendar is4 pages Click here to read
If you run training courses or events for like-minded 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!)

07 November 2014

Can we go home now?

Today has been a bit trying to say the least. One of those days where you just want to go to bed and wake up tomorrow. Various canine related ailments; the rain has not stopped and the land outside the office will now be a quagmire; we had a thunder storm directly over head which knocked off the electricity 3 times and then this afternoon we discover that half the village is without water. Wine anyone?
We have managed to produce a CJS Weekly through gritted teeth and it's a big one, 20 pages with 50 paid jobs (32 of which came directly to CJS) and 15 volunteer posts. This week also includes the surveys and fieldwork posts added and updated in October.

31 October 2014

Bangers and bonfires

Apologies to anyone who has phoned CJS over the past week and has heard the odd muffled bang or screamer in the background.  It's nothing to worry about, it's simply Office Dog Hebe's firework desensitisation 'music' - as part of her therapy we play her recordings of fireworks at odd times with increasing frequency up to the actual day / event before knocking her out on a specially prepared herbal mix heavy in lavendar and valerian (we have a herbalist vet so it's perfectly safe, we wouldn't recommend mixing your own!) administered over the course of several days.  With the 'real' bonfire night falling in the middle of the week we have two weekends to deal with.
Fireworks by Kabir Bakie, via wikimedia commons
It's a shame she's so sensitive because I love fireworks! I have very fond memories of the smell of burning swede from the carved out candle lantern, teeth stuck together with McEwans Highland toffee and the scent of cordite hanging in the air as the magnificent fireworks exploded overhead at my Dad's school's organised display.  And nothing beats writing your name with a sparkler!
It's the first time we've had a firework phobic dog and it's been a real eye opener, before we started the herbal and desenstisation therapy she would dash about the house screaming with fear and run round and round rooms not quite managing the 'wall of death' feat but almost.  She is a highly strung dog, probably slightly overbred with 'lots of red' (meaning champions, field trialling in her case) in her pedigree and needs careful handling it doesn't take much to make her overexcited and her energy reserves seem to be pretty much inexhaustible unlike mine!  Despite her firework problem she's fine with virtually all other noises which is a relief but that makes the firework thing even more difficult to manage.
Fortunately, although they are still crackers, the pups are not bothered by fireworks and old duchess Maia is totally oblivious; completely the opposite of her late sister Juno who like me adored fireworks and would stand paws on windowsill watching each rocket scream skywards her tail wagging providing the canine oo's and ahs.
Needless to say after that little lot we're not having a bonfire.  However there are several heaps of leaves and general garden detritus scattered around - because of the work on the dog year we've not been able to get to the compost bins so the cuttings, clippings and tidyings up have been left in what were neat tidy heaps until the pups launched themselves with labradoric abandon into the middle of them.  Which saves me the task of checking for sleepy hedgehogs but does mean it all has to be collected up again, oh well.

Everyone has picked up on the hallowe'en theme the google doodle is tearing itself apart after dark, and there is lots of news about spiders (we've had enough of that in recent weeks) but also werewolves (yes really, read RSPCA news here), friendly bats and bat-sized Death's-head hawkmoths - think Silence of the Lambs (these two are in our news round up today).

So we'll sign off today by wished you all a Happy Hallowe'en or Spooky Samhain (whichever is your preference!). And whatever you're doing this weekend (or next) remember to check your bonfire for sleepy mammals, and amphibians too, before lighting them, sigh over the fireworks, sign your name in fiery sparkles, slurp the soup, munch the bangers (sausage variety not gunpowder) and have a wonderful time but spare a minute or two to think about all the animals, pets and wildlife alike, terrified out of their skins...

24 October 2014

It's beginning to feel a little bit like.....

Oh, no it isn't

It's that time of year again, you know the one when every one says but it's not even Hallowe'en yet and already they're advertising Christmas. Last week we heard White Christmas on the radio multiple times, the first sofa adverts appeared in the papers over the weekend and then this email arrived.

To which the reply was "NO IT'S NOT!!".

Closely followed by one with this included

We're not scrooges really, we love Christmas (the office is closed after all!) but please, keep the festive season short, really nothing until advent, after Armistice if you must. Then it will be more special and enjoyable - at least that's our thought.

(Although much to everyone else's chagrin I have almost finished my Christmas shopping!)

Despite all our humbugging we have put together this week's edition of CJS Weekly which is now it's way out to you.

20 October 2014

Another glorious sunrise

Red sky in the morning...  So fingers crossed we don't get too battered by the predicted storm.

17 October 2014

Mixed fortunes

It's been a week of contrasts.
The weather has been alternately heavy rain and then blue skies.
the view out of the window on Tuesday
The ground surface is supersaturated and the rivers are full to not-quite-overflowing, the Ellerbeck across the field (and thankfully 50+ feet lower) can be heard roaring over the rocky river bed.  We're having a new dog yard laid and on Monday the waterbutts were emptied to be moved, by Wednesday morning they were full to overflowing again.  In between the deluges though it's been surprisingly warm with occasionally high clear blue skies, the wood stove was required in the early part of the week but yesterday was allowed to go and today we've not bothered to relight.
The contrary weather is playing havoc with the plants as well, the other evening I went out to my herb bed to pick some parsley and chives to go the salad and there in the gloaming was a beautiful white flower on the garlic chives.

The borage is still flowering and the marigolds (calendula not tagetes) have been in flower virtually non stop for the best part of eighteen months - crazy, but a very welcome sight from the kitchen window.

In keeping with the contrary theme the packaging with my new computer mouse was both fantastic and ridiculous! The mouse for my laptop starting suffering from hiccups, most disconcerting, and no cure was found so it had to be retired and a new mouse purchased. Bearing in mind the size of a computer mouse how big does the delivery box need to be? Apparently nearly big enough to put the printer in! and stuffed full of scrunched up brown paper. Once found and removed from its nest of the paper the mouse was wrapped in a thick layer of heat-sealed hard plastic, remembering past extractions I was envisaging a battle involving scissors and much frustration but I was delighted to discover that the back of the plastic blister pack had two finger holes and perforations and with a firm tug the whole back peeled out. So simple, so successful - why has no one used it before and why doesn't all blister packaging have holes both large and small??

Whilst talking of advances, did you notice that in last week's edition of CJS Weekly we published our first advert for a paternity cover contract?
This week's edition has gone to press with plenty of jobs, lots of news and the latest calendar of training courses.

09 October 2014

CJS Professional: October 2014 edition

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:
Country Officer Northern Ireland, British Association for Shooting and Conservation (Lisburn)
Chainsaw Operators & Tree Planters, On Foot Forestry Ltd (Cumbria, Durham and Nottinghamshire)
Conservation Planning Officer, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Lecturer in Fishery Studies - HE,  Sparsholt College Hampshire
Business Development Manager, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Business Support Officer, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Senior Ranger, Historic Scotland Based at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh and Linlithgow Peel, West Lothian

CJS Notices:
This edition includes CJS Focus on Volunteers in association with The Conservation Volunteers
The next edition will feature urban greenspace, if you have any ideas of things to include or would like to advertise your urban park or project please contact Amy on focus@countryside-jobs.com

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for December is 2 pages Click here to read
If you run training courses or events for like minded 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!)