28 August 2015

Working with charities, a new approach

Everyone who works within the countryside sector knows how important our charities are.  That's one of the reasons why CJS offers free advertising in CJS Weekly, we'd much rather the charities spent their hard earned money (your generous donations) on actually conserving something than on splashy advertising.  You're reading CJS, you don't need to be told how wonderful RSPB or your local Wildlife Trust is to make you want to work for them - you already know.  CJS supports charities financially too and we've made it possible for you do so by adding a small donation to your subscription or when you get a job and no longer need your Weekly edition to donate the value of the remainder to our charities.

Our first charity was Durrell, or Jersey Zoo as it was when we first started supporting them in 1997.  Niall explained the decision, "while on a pilgrimage to Jersey Zoo (founded by Gerrald Durrell OBE, whose books first got me interested in conservation) Anthea and I heard about the captive breeding programme of Partula snails at Jersey, London, Edinburgh and Chester Zoos, etc. We noted the links between Whitby, Captain Cook and Moorea, and between ourselves, Gerrald Durrell and CJS - and decided to adopt a Partula snail on behalf of CJS. We christened him / her 'CJ Snail' because... well, as with most historic events, it seemed like a good idea at the time..."
In 2001 we added Leukemia Research to our charities, in memory of co-founder Anthea who lost her fight against this horrible disease in September of that year.

However, things change. Finances are more tightly controlled than ever before, there is less money to go round and we've noticed that your donations to "our charities" have decreased too.  As a result we've looked at our charity support and are making a huge change.  Instead of having our two long running supported charities we will have one featured charity. You'll be able to find out about them through articles they will write and we will include across the CJS family of publications, you will be able to donate to them through CJS (as before for Durrell and LRF).  We've chosen our first charity and will let them introduce themselves next month but if you have a favoured charity you would like CJS to feature please let us know and we'll consider them for future associations.
Until our new charity takes their place you can donate to CJ at Durrell or to LRF via our website and with your subscriptions.

Even though Durrell and LRF will no longer be featured by CJS it doesn't mean that we don't support them any longer or that their work is any less valuable.  Please continue to support them in any way you can.

26 August 2015

Egton Show - office closed today

Just a short post to tell everyone we're not here today! It's our local agricultural show and we've all gone to ploughter through the mud, pat a pig, grab a goat and sautner through the trade stands whilst eating candy floss and bacon buns (not together - although....)
Back tomorrow.

24 August 2015

Now published: CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with the National Trust

National Trust demonstrate how volunteering really can secure you paid work in this sector, they profile several people including Jane Lancaster who is now a Coast & Community Ranger after a 20 year career in banking. Through a Volunteer Internship Programme RSPB have successfully trained people they then go on to employ, a great way of ensuring your staff has the skills you want. North Ayrshire Council has started to run an Apprenticeship programme which trains participants up for a year. Feedback from staff has been largely positive; one staff member stating that the training process has encouraged them to refresh knowledge & therefore benefitted their own CPD. iRecord is run by the Biological Records Centre, we put together a short article about some recent developments for iRecord and the benefits science of this form of data gathering. Conservation workdays are a fun way to get outdoors and meet new people but did you know they can actually help you gain paid employment in the countryside sector? Jackie Kemp describes his journey from volunteer to Seasonal Project Leader with the National Trust for Scotland. In 2012 the Land Trust wanted to improve Liverpool Festival Gardens and boost the park’s group of volunteers; they created the Green Angels scheme, which has gone from strength to strength and has shown that tailored schemes can really make a difference to a specific area and its people.  Read it here 

21 August 2015

Moving on.

After the flurry of recent results everyone is moving on to the next stage of their education.  This year including CJS, for today we say goodbye to HB.  It's her last day here with us, after 6 years she's leaving to follow her dream of becoming a nurse.  Starting in September it's back to school for her on a health access course before moving onto full medical training.
She has become a valued member of the team and we are sorry to see her leave but wish her well in her future career and we promise we'll try not to muck up her Training Directory!*

We've not given you a nature update for a while so here are just a few notes from the diary.
The swifts came, swooped about and have mostly departed back to Africa, there are still a couple screaming around the house in the evenings.  The house martins are on their second brood and there are plenty of swallows across the field.  Our tawny owls are conspicuous in their absence, no more sitting on the wires in the gable end but there is at least one family that are heard most evenings in the vicinity.  It would appear that tawny owls are not doing so well all over although our local BTO ringer says he's ringed more barnies this year than he ever remembers, ringing around 8 or 9 barnie chicks to every tawny.  From the number of youngsters in the garden in the blackbirds and thrushes have had a good year and we have two families of great tits too which is wonderful to see.  They're all looking towards the garden bird feeders once more so that means it's time to put the big ones back out again.  More good news, the village has seen a big rise in the numbers of hedgehogs and - not so good - in rabbits too!  They might explain a recent sighting of a buzzard and the occasional fly through by the peregrines; the sparrowhawks are doing well with on the recent fledgling boom.  The garden has suffered in this topsy-turvey year, the poor plants are in a constant state of shifting from high summer temperatures and sunshine to autumn gales and heavy rain.  Autumn has certainly arrived earlier than ever with the lords-and-ladies berries already coloured in the hedge bottoms and the rowan berries are not far behind; the apples are flushed and swelling up and the hawthorns are already beginning to turn and the berries are a distinct orange colour hinting at the deep red to come, red berries are decorating the yew outside my office window.

*HB's very worried about this - sh, I haven't told her about our plans.....

20 August 2015

Today's the day: results day part two!

GCSEs are no less important than A levels and are also a stepping stone to the next stage of your education, but somehow the leap from school to university is seen (and feels) a greater one.
Despite that GCSEs are often more significant as it's these results that will show you where your strengths lie and help direct you into which career path might be the one for you.  If your heart's set on one path and your GCSEs in the core subjects are not as good as you'd like then now you know which areas you need to focus on, to work that little bit harder at.  If you have no clue what to do then look at which subjects give you the best results and consider where they might lead.  If you're reading CJS then chance are you're thinking about a countryside career, have a look at some of the job adverts (here) and see what qualifications they are asking for, then look at the Training Directory (here) and see which colleges are offering courses that fit the bill and check that your chosen A levels are the right ones.  Now is also a good time to start looking at what additional skills you might need and how you boost your CV before you've even qualified.

If you still thinking about your A level results read our blog with some hints and suggestions here (some of that advice is true for GCSEs too.)

18 August 2015

A slight shuffle

Although some may say at last!
We've split CJS Online according to sector.
These are the divisions we're using:
Administration, support and publicity: all administration and support roles, public relations and fundraising plus visitor management.
Arboriculture: working with and for trees, woodland and in forestry, includes tree nursery.
Community and Volunteers: projects looking at community involvement and countryside volunteer management.
Countryside: Ranger posts, including those in greenspace and urban parks and estate workers. You'll also find vacancies for countryside officers, rural policy makers.
Ecology: roles covering ecology, biodiversity, mitigation, consultancy roles e.g. Ecological Clerk of Works and advice provision also fieldwork such as bat surveys and EIA.
Environmental and outdoor education: interpretation, field work tutors, public engagement, adventure activities instructors also higher and further education roles.
Horticulture: gardening and plant health vacancies.
Rights of Way: access and all public rights of way related work.
Wildlife work and animal care: wildlife projects dealing with one specific species, working with animals such as wildlife hospital workers. also animal handling e.g. zoos and aviculture.
It means that if you're an ecologist you no longer need to wade through environmental education roles.
The regional split is also still there so you can look close to home too. See more here.

So why has it taken is so long?
Originally Countryside Jobs Service was just that - jobs for countryside staff and it was more important to find a job in the right location, all the jobs we advertised were pretty much within the same sector so it didn't matter.  However, over the last year or so the spread of adverts on the website has changed dramatically and now there are enough across the various sectors to make it a sensible development.  However, the countryside page is still the biggest / longest.
If you'd like more jobs in any one sector or think we should create a new sector do let us know.

Changes to daily email
And whilst we're talking new developments we have changed our daily email provider recently.  the new provider has a different set up so we've updated the daily newsletter too; it's a cleaner, more up to date looking email.  If you don't get our daily emails you can sign up here - it's free, no obligation and we won't pass on your details so it's spam free too!

13 August 2015

CJS Professional: August 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:
BeecHE Manager / BeecHE Instructor, The Landscape Group (Bromley )
West Norfolk Assistant Reserves Manager, Norfolk Wildlife Trust
NIA Advisory Officer, Devon Wildlife Trust
Assistant Ecologist & Consultant Ecologist, Devon Wildlife Trust / Devon Wildlife Consultants
Waterway Operative, Canal and River Trust (West London)
Seasonal Field Surveyors (Herpetofauna & Mammals), Ecology Solutions (Various locations across the UK)
Landscape Architect, Wokingham Borough Council
Volunteer Co-ordinator, Caring for God's Acre (Shropshire)
Surrey Biodiversity Information Centre - Data Officer, Surrey Wildlife Trust

CJS Notices
CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with the National Trust, published next week.
Last chance to place your free advert. Deadline 5pm tomorrow Friday 14 August.
More information here.

Other Notices
Countryside Management Association website relaunched.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for October is 7 pages Click here to read

Also Classified adverts and details of the latest funding available.

Today's the day: results day!

It's a day of high emotion, the wait to get the envelope, ripping it open and looking at that piece of paper inside, are the letters the right ones? Did you get your uni place?
To everyone whose results are just what they needed congratulations, well done, start looking forward / panicking / planning for the next step be it a degree, apprenticeship or starting work.

To everyone whose results didn't quite match expectations congratulations are still due.  Well done to you for trying, for sitting through the exams and believe it or not you have made it through. Take deep breath and think about what you need and want to do next.  Don't jump at the first opportunity offered. Talk to your school see what they advise about remarking, resitting, changing your planned course. And if you've only just missed your place to your chosen university - they might be prepared to overlook a grade point or two.  If you decide to change tack, have a look at the Training Directory, we have lists of colleges and details of what they offer.
An unplanned gap year might be just what you need, in which case use it wisely, look at what skills you can gain, practical certified ones and soft skills* gained through experience, try out careers by shadowing someone, test the water as a volunteer. There are lots of volunteer opportunities listed here.

* Soft skills are becoming ever more important, they are the ones lots of us take for granted: how to greet someone correctly, old fashioned manners, learning to stand on your two feet. 

11 August 2015

From the potting shed...

10 to 16 August is National Allotments Week
And for us it's highly apposite as this weekend it was our village flower and vegetable show.  For HB (show secretary) it's been a very busy week preparing for the show to ensure everything ran smoothly on Saturday (which of course it did!), for the rest of us it's more a case of worrying about the state of the spuds when they were to be lifted on Friday night or fretting that the fuchsia is drooping and should it have some more water, a little feed or maybe it's overwatered - oh dear it's all so stressful!*

The theme this year for National Allotments Week is A Plot for All Ages, designed to emphasise the benefits that allotments bring to everyone regardless of age or gender and to also highlight the fact that we need to value our remaining plots and preserve them for future generations to enjoy.  I have vivid memories of gardening with my Grandad, the scent of chrysanthemum cuttings and nipped out tomato sideshoots sends me straight back to his greenhouse, sitting with him listening to the cricket carefully dibbing small cuttings down the side (always down the side!) of a plant pot full of a compost and perlite / vermiculite mix.  He taught me how to deadhead rose, and helped me pull up his carrots growing down the side of the house letting me eat the small ones straight away - after brushing off the soil of course! My Dad and I spent many happy hours pottering in the veg patch in silent contented companionship whilst Mum and I chattered away weeding the rockery.  Gardening brings back many happy memories and even now neither Mum nor I can pod broadbeans, running fingers through the soft white fluff inside the pods, without remembering the summer the crop was slightly too good and we sat on the front step in the sunshine podding pounds of beans - we all had black thumbs and a freezerful to see us through the dark winter days.

Gardening is recommended as a way to leave the stresses and strains of work and daily life behind, a form of productive exercise, on community plots (TCV Growing Green for example) as a way to bring together potentially isolated people together giving them a space to grow their vegetables and flowers and also a chance to connect them not only to each other and their community but also with nature.

So find out what's happening in your area, get involved and start making memories - and fill your plates and freezer too!

*BTW: Everyone came home from the show with fistsful of prize cards and a few cups, special mention to the elder little Miss W who won not one but two cups!

07 August 2015

Plethora of events - which to choose?

There's nothing happening for ages and then there are so many events you don't know which ones to highlight, especially when they are all so deserving.
Last week there were four national weeks and one international day.

We featured National Parks week on our blog on 28 July (read it here) and that tied in with World Ranger Day on Friday (this one is here)
We also touched on Marine Week when we posted information about seagrass meadows in an article from Dorset Wildlife Trust from the last Focus edition (here)  we have included so much more but as the last focus featured marine and coastal environments we thought we'd probably sent enough watery information your way recently so kept to just the one mention.
and that was enough for one week.

So what did we miss:
Love Parks Week, Run by the Tidy Britain group
We’re raising awareness of the importance of parks and green spaces. Love Parks Week (24 July - 2 August 2015) is now in its ninth year and is a platform for thousands of park lovers to join forces in the UK’s largest celebration of green spaces.

National Countryside Week organised by The Prince's Countryside Fund
National Countryside Week is our annual awareness campaign to celebrate the British countryside and the people who live and work in our rural areas.
This year our campaign celebrates the Fund’s achievements in its first five years and the unsung heroes making a real difference to the health of our countryside.

We've also kept quiet about the CLA Game Fair which was held last weekend and had some lively debates, particularly those featuring shooting and moorland management (and we'll leave that there...!)

And this week? 
How about watermelon day or did you know today is Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day.

31 July 2015

World Ranger Day

For National Parks Week we're talking about the importance of National Parks, some of the conflicts faced and in particular the threats facing our very own North York Moors National Park.
Read our ramblings here.

So this week we've been talking National Parks.
What they are, what they do, even where they are and of course how wonderful they are.
But what about the people that make them tick! That keep them the special places we've been celebrating.  There's a vast array of staff from Education Officers through Ecologists to the admin staff.  But there's one profession that is intrinsically linked with managing the Landscapes of Plenty - the Ranger, of course (where CJS began too).

Today is World Ranger Day.

It is a day to celebrate the work of rangers across the world protecting the world's natural and cultural treasures but also to commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty. 

So be thankful for the work done by rangers to look after all of our natural heritage not just in the National Parks. And if you're a ranger be thankful greatest danger is being last in line at the tea urn! (We'll pretend you didn't just have a run in with a person on the reserve about the latest signs, parking fees, planning, dog poo, hedge cutting...)

It is overseen by the International Ranger Federation and promoted by the 63 member associations of the federation.  Find out more here.

If you work in countryside management then you really should think about joining your country's association, in Scotland that's the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) and for England and Wales it's the Countryside Management Association (CMA) both organisations endorse CJS.

28 July 2015

We're talking National Parks

The CJS Team is incredibly fortunate - we live and and work in the middle of the North York Moors National Park, surrounded by the largest area of heather moorland in England and Wales.  Despite a third of the National Park being taken up with this expanse of moorland it's an incredibly diverse landscape.  This diversity was commented upon in the 1947 Hobhouse report which stated:

“it contains, within a relatively small compass, an amazing wealth and variety of beauty.  Indeed there are few places elsewhere in Britain which can offer such extensive and remote tracts of wild and unspoilt scenery within such easy reach of populated areas.”

It was this variety that ultimately led to the Park being created in 1952, the sixth such area to be designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949.

All National Parks have two statutory duties (revised in 1995) - which can often be in conflict:
  1. Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
  2. Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the Public

The first duty is obvious all around in the wonderful landscape, the plentiful, often rare, wildlife and the imposing and occasionally quirky buildings often with an imposing history.
The second duty is also obvious in the number of facilities for visitors, the essentials (car parks, loos, shops) and  signage highlighting sites, explaining the special qualities before you and prompting people to behave responsibly.
The conflict between the two duties can be all too apparent.
However, according to the Sandford Principle  where these are in direct conflict conservation interest is supposed to take priority. The residents are not always sure the principle is followed! Over 20 coachloads of visitors in the village simultaneously, all staying for only half an hour, just long enough to use the loos, buy an ice cream, a fridge magnet and box of biscuits, and maybe a cup of coffee if the queue isn't too long.  On the one hand we can't begrudge them sharing our beautiful village and fantastic landscape but on the other hand it feels they don't really bring anything other than litter and pollution.  Dealing with the huge influx of visitors is difficult for all concerned and ensuring they are well educated in their surroundings, kept where they should be and ultimately repairing the inevitable damage caused by so many additional feet is an expensive business claiming a large proportion of available funds.  The obvious expenditure on tourists can make residents feel like second class citizens in their own homes particularly when the rules and regulations in place to protect this special environment prevent them doing what they would like. 

This glorious, celebrated landscape is loved by virtually all who set foot on it but...

It's under threat.

The most obvious is the recent planning committee approval of the application by Sirius Minerals (York Potash) to mine for potash, which we've watched (and are still watching) with interest and not a little bemusement.  Personally I still doubt whether it will ever come to pass, the final decision notice is yet to be published and the Authority is working to finalise the conditions which, I trust, will be stringent - the MoD had very firm requirements for approval, Natural England and Environment Agency were both against and will have conditions to be met along with the many other statutory agencies and some important elements of the plan are still to be finalised. (http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/planning/york-potash)
No matter how high profile this may be the bigger threats are not immediately apparent to either resident or visitor. The first is the steady decrease in Park funds which is not unique to the North York Moors but is causing concern across the whole National Park family, and news that the Chancellor has told all Government departments to draw up cost savings plans of 25 to 40% sends a shiver down the back of many Government Executive Agencies; defra is not the best funded department to start with and has many calls on its funding before National Parks. Expect even more radical cuts in the future.
The second major threat to the Moors is one unique to this Park, it's the little heather beetle.  Heather beetle is a problem across all heather moorland in the UK, outbreaks can destroy large areas of heather.  Further complicating and exacerbating this is the ever encroaching bracken whose management has been made even more problematic by the loss of the fer-specific herbicide asulox/asulam.  For a National Park which sells itself on its purple moors beetle and bracken together have the potential to be truly devastating.

Find out more about heather beetle from the Heather Trust here.

Once a year (should be more really) we celebrate our National Parks during National Parks Week.
The theme for National Parks Week 2015 is Landscapes of Plenty and there are lots of events across all the parks to showcase their special qualities, what it is that makes them deserving of their unique designation and level of protection afforded to them.  There's more here.

If you'd like to know more

23 July 2015

Schools out...

What do you do with the little ones when they're not being gainfully occupied in full time education?  It's the perfect time to get them re-engage with the natural world around us.   A three-year project  by RSPB found that only 21% of children aged 8-12 were "connected to nature".  But just how do you do that?

There are plenty of environmental educational activities and events being run across the country on our many parks and reserves. Everything from teddy bear's picnics for the very little ones to kite making and nature collages for the slightly older ones and adventure activities like kayaking or archery for the older ones (and grown ups too). Look for your local Wildlife Trust, RSPB site or nature reserve to begin with. (AW says bribery of coffee and cake seems to work quite well in getting them there in the first place!).

And if that whets your appetite send them out to get up to mischief on their own. The National Trust has a fantastic list of 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4, even if you're a little older than that.  When did you last swim in the sea, climb a hill or indulge in a spot of stargazing? 

Project Wild Thing has lots of blog posts full ideas too: https://projectwildthing.com/

When I was running holiday activities for children the parents often enjoyed it more than the kids (not really surprising).  If you're one of those and think, "I could do that" or you think that your site could do with some new activities have a look at our list of courses for community engagement and environmental education here: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/Training/short-courses/ed
Or perhaps whilst you're trailing after the family on a guided walk you realise your field identification skills could do with a brush up it's peak season for plant  and mammal ID training

If you run any of these sorts of events and they're not on our directory please send us the details for free inclusion, use the forms here or send your brochure by email to training@countryside-jobs.com.
We now have a downloadable spreadsheet template for you to use to ensure you send us the details we need, you can download it from here: www.countryside-jobs.com/td_images/ShortCourse.xls

20 July 2015

Seagulls in need of a new PR Team.

Remember the summer of dangerous dogs? When every second story was a dog biting someone? Or when every field had a crop circle?  This year it would seem it's the turn of seagulls. 

Yorkshire terrier killed by seagulls in Cornwall.

A world leading pianist was dive bombed by gulls as he was leaving a rehearsal in Liverpool and injured his finger resulting in him having to pull out of a series of concerts.

Back in Cornwall gulls have killed a pet tortoise.

Over the weekend the Prime Minister says that there is a problem with some gulls and that we need to have a "big conversation" about possible solutions including culling. (Read about it the Guardian here.)

Why have seagulls suddenly become so vicious?
Or perhaps the question should be why have they lost their fear of people?

By Kulac (Self-published work by Kulac) [CC BY-SA 2.5, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Opinions on seagulls vary.
Too some they are a pest and a nuisance and to others a beautiful bird exceptionally well suited to its habitat. And there-in lies the paradox.  Although herring gulls (the species most Brits think of when gulls are mentioned) are quite common in the UK (RSPB estimates 140,000 breeding pairs) they are actually red listed world wide meaning it is globally threatened (although IUCN has it at the 'least concern' level for red listed species) and has suffered significant population and range decreases in the last 50 years. The other regularly seen species are amber listed. So whilst there are certain local areas with real problems leading to lurid headlines conservationists need to consider the global scale as well.
Find out more about Herring gull status with JNCC here.

And that's where the PR team come in, educating people on how to deal with gulls - don't feed them, keep rubbish covered, if you're in a danger area (near nests) protect yourself against dive bombing (umbrellas work well).

Whitby is of course a seaside town, still a fishing port (just), meaning we have plenty of experience of life with gulls.  Many of the older properties (and some newer ones too) have fluted, fancy raised roof ridges - not just because it looks pretty but the gulls can't stand on them! Until recently flat roofs were a rare sight.  Gulls have been culled in the past, eggs oiled etc. and it's an ongoing question in the local paper as to how to deal with them.

But the headline in Friday's edition really takes the biscuit!
You didn't tell us about the seagulls.
A guest staying at a harbourside pub & b&b left in the middle of the night because the owners didn't warn them about the possibility of squawking birds.

It seems you just can't win.....

16 July 2015

A change of scenery

I spent a most unusual Tuesday afternoon - sitting in a hospital car park.  This blog was actually drafted the old fashioned way with pen and paper!  Apart from the regular sirens it was surprisingly peaceful sitting in the car with the windows open.  Surrounding the car park the land had been allowed to go wild, some attempt at landscaping had been made, evident by the handful of ornamental trees carefully staked against the wind.  In the uncultivated, untended areas the range of plants was vast: the expected grasses, cocks foot, yorkshire fog and foxtails mostly, and a few nettles, lots of docks of at least two if not three different species, several plantains and lots of ragwort - not bothering anyone as you rarely see horses grazing hospital car parks!   Hardhead, tall flowering thistles and shorter sow thistles too and towering over all of them a few onopordum - garden escapes I imagine.  At one end some teasels, their heads still green and soft, dots of purple indicating greater rosebay willowherb and big white marguerites pushing though along the kerb edges above the brown fading pink clover flowers.

Fluttering over this patch of tangled wilderness were more meadow brown butterflies than I think I have ever seen and one little blue one, a holly blue maybe.  In places clouds of hoverflies surrounded the ragwort and, the thistles and hardhead buzzed with many bees, lots of big fluffy bumblers along with a few honey bees too.   On the car park fence sat a goldfinch eyeing up the bounty before systematically stripping all the fluff from one of the gone over thistle heads and refuelling on the oil rich seeds before flying off.  Sparrows bustled around at ground level picking up already shed seeds.  A chiff-chaff called from the woodland across the way, greenfinches tseeped from the scrub and a few seagulls (herrings mostly) floated overhead.

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon - certainly better than what goes on inside the building anyway!!  And during pollinator awareness week a timely reminder of how vital the little apparently neglected pieces of land really are, providing a small wildlife oasis amongst the concrete and tarmac desert.