27 July 2014

Moving into the 21st century

Woo-hoo. The fibre broadband network has been switched on for Goathland and today we're being upgraded. This means we may be without internet access for some or all of the day. We hope it's for as short a time as possible, fingers crossed.
Update: all done and we're back online.  Catching up now.

25 July 2014

20 years and 1000 editions!

Can you believe it? 

CJS is twenty years old this month.

No, we can't quite get our heads round it either, in some respects CJS has been around for ever but then again it seems like it was only five minutes ago that we were stuffing pieces of A4 from a daisy-wheel printer into multi-sized,shaped (and even perfumed) self addressed envelopes.  Yes, that's how it all started which was a huge step forward from photocopies of adverts in newspapers (mostly The Guardian) which formed the Jobs Service for CMA members way back when.  Niall and Anthea took on the task of converting those snippets into a cohesive newsletter. Anthea came up with the nine unique three letter headings of the standard linage adverts, Niall sorted out the filing system for the envelopes and they were off.  As word spread of how good this new service was subscriber numbers increased and the daisy-wheel printer was swapped for a dot-matrix before the heat from the printwheel caused the office to combust.  In those early days there was no paid advertising only the Standard Linage which was all free.  It was with the increase of outside funding and funding partners needing to use logos (even on a free advert) that we started taking paid adverts. Niall and Anthea went on a holiday of a life time to New Zealand leaving Tracey and me in charge and I think I got a bit carried away!  By the time they came back CJS was slightly bigger, open five days a week (instead of the previous three) and we needed a new member of staff - welcome to Amy. CJS has continued to grow following the natural progression of the countryside sector with just a gentle nudge every now and then.  Expanding to include the whole countryside, conservation and wildlife sectors, increased coverage of complimentary areas such as professional training and more recently the daily news round up.  We still hold true to the principals of putting back as much into conserving the countryside as possible and we still offer Standard Free Linage in CJS Weekly keeping with Anthea's original nine headings.  In fact, it's possible to advertise virtually anything (anything relevant to the countryside that is) free of charge with CJS.
Since that very first edition of the Countryside Jobs Service in July 1994 there has been a copy of CJS Weekly produced every week and we're very proud to be able to say we have still not missed a deadline despite some very trying circumstances at time! For twenty years 50 editions per year (no copies over the Christmas and New Year break) have been posted and emailed out to thousands of subscribers.  Those numbers all add up resulting in this the1000th edition of CJS Weekly.

To celebrate we're making today's edition open access to everyone, click here to read.  And for all new and current subscribers we're offering you a 50% discount on electronic (email or download) subscriptions* simply quote CJS20 at the online checkout or over the phone.

There are plenty of plans in the pipeline to ensure that CJS continues for several more decades. However, rest assured promoting job opportunities in the countryside, conservation and wildlife sectors remains our top priority and we will hold true to the founding principles of CJS, read more about those online here: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/CJS_Stuff/About_Us.htm

1994 - 2014, here's to the next twenty years and beyond ...
Kerryn Humphreys, Editor

*T&C: minimum spend £5, offer valid until Thursday 21 August 2014, not valid on postal subs (sorry).

18 July 2014

Bigger and better.

This week we have made our updated Training Directory live.  Although it remains mostly unchanged in appearance to link seamlessly with the rest of the website it is now bigger and better than before with several new features including:
  • Dedicated search facilities to make finding specific courses easier.
  • Increased information in listings such as qualifications offered by training providers.
  • Ability to search for courses by geographic area.
You can search the whole directory or just a part of it.  Meaning that if you want to attend an introduction to NVC course you don't need to read through details for lichen identification or tree survey.  And if you want to brush up your skills but need to stay local now you can see all the courses happening in your area.

Click through and give it a go: www.countryside-jobs.com/Training
A new simpler address too!

Tell us what you think. If you love it or hate it; if there is anything you think we've got wrong or suggestions for ways to make it even better. Tell the team on training@countryside-jobs.com
We have a few admin niggles to iron out yet but we think we've checked everything however, if you find links that don't work or pages that don't look quite right please tell us by email at training@countryside-jobs.com including as much detail as you can.
We hope you find the new directory even better than the previous version.

11 July 2014

Nice surprise

It's not often we receive a nice surprise in the office post, usually it's just bills and the mountain of journals that we read. However, on Wednesday there was a very smart looking envelope containing a cheque as a dividend payout on a company that went into liquidation several years ago owing us quite a lot of money.  We'd given up hope of getting anything back after so long making it an unexpected boon.  It wasn't much only 3p in the pound, yes, you're reading that right a 3% return but better than two others this year, one with no dividend payable and the other was less than 1p in the pound. 

Keep your fingers crossed for a nice weekend, AW's extended family is going on a camping trip! The new tent has been tested, the blow-up beds checked for punctures, food coolers packed with essentials and the car is already loaded with everything under the sun but no room left for the kitchen sink. Miss India is very excited and (Great) Aunty J is under instruction to be prompt in collecting her from school and to make an early tea then they can go as soon as Mummy gets home from work! (AW is not quite so excited).
HB's had a mixed week as Master B has been on his transfer days to 'Big School' which he has thoroughly enjoyed, much to everyone's relief but he did not appreciate having to go back to the village school to finish off term (only one more week to go).

TB & I reckon dogs and horses are so much easier. Speaking of, we can't quite believe that the Troublesome Twosome, (aka Dido & Hester) have been with us a year next Friday - my, my, doesn't time fly.  TB's Troublesome Twosome (aka Golden Guernsey goatlings, Ruby & Millie) are finally coming on well and getting used to handling and petting, Ruby more so than Millie who is still of the opinion that people are murderers and "would you please just get on with deading me!", however, being goatlings both are quite capable of getting in mischief and only one occasion (so far) have been found on the roof of the stable block.

Back in the office, life rolls on and with it another CJS Weekly hits the presses, 15 pages this week with 52 adverts for paid posts, 27 of those direct to CJS plus a further 7 for volunteers.

10 July 2014

CJS Professional, July 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:
Wetland Landscape Officer, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Isle of Bute Countryside, Mount Stuart Trust
Parks Development Officer, London Borough of Havering
Access and Interpretation Officer, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Countryside Project Officer, Northamptonshire County Council
Education Officer, Conservation Officer and Cley Living Coast Project Community Education Officer, all with Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Assistant Ecologist / Ecologist Strath Caulaidh Ltd (Ardargie, Perthshire)
Deputy Head Ranger and Assistant Ranger, Nene Park Trust Peterborough
Training and Education Officer, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Field Studies Tutor - Calshot Activities Centre (Hampshire)
Farming and Rural Enterprise Officer Vacancy, Northumberland National Park

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for September is 4 pages Click here to read

27 June 2014

Bring your dog to work day

Was actually last Friday, and you may have noticed we didn't quite get round to posting anything on the blog, we were battling with some new software and by the time it started behaving the day was gone and with it the opportunity to post some news.  Note to self, don't even try to deal with new hardware, new software, new methodologies, new anything really on a Friday, save it for Monday when it can flow out across the rest of the week.

Anyway, back to dogs.
We have office dogs, they're mentioned often so you probably know, they're resident and join us in the office most days.  And even try to help out, the pups are particularly helpful.....
Dido supervising a website backup
Hester assisting with dispatch of the Weekly edition

Hebe knows all about reattaching wires to boxes on the floor (mending the office intranet cables) and if ever the big printer breaks down she'll know exactly how to mend it - if only her paws could deal with screwdrivers and the cleaning fluid didn't make her sneeze.
We still have a box in the office to store thimblettes (those rubber fingers that help with counting paper) with a label reminding you "to count your fingers" and to "remember wolfhounds", the first office hound Cara was adept at swiping them from under your nose. (read more here).

Although sometimes they can be a little over enthusiastic:
Dido's attempt at dispatching the Weekly - Hester is NOT impressed.
Despite their occasional over-enthusiasm  they can be genuinely helpful too - no need of a doorbell with a canine early warning system and in times of stress like last week's software shenanigans there's nothing quite like a quick a labra-hug to ease the tension.

For more about our office dogs and those of the team check out the Dogs tag 

The labs and their Bean (person) will be absent next week, we're off to virtual Wimbledon, ensconced in front of the TV and hooked up to the internet to focus on the yellow fuzzy balls with maybe a bit of gardening / cooking / drawing / painting thrown in to break up the routine.

The latest weekly edition is on route (almost, once Dido gets off the table!) this week there are 20 pages with  67 adverts for paid posts, 9 for volunteers, details of work days and conservation tasks happening next month and lots of news.

And in other exciting news we've finally got our link shortening to work and integrated with other programmes so instead of bit.ly addresses you now see c-js.co.uk  (a bit longer but more personal).

13 June 2014

The scent of summer

This week it has been warm and still with a heavy dew or light rain overnight meaning that in the mornings my nose is assailed by a bewildering array of aromas. The scent of rain on hot paving and newly turned earth, the glorious sweet elder blossom and pungent herb robert (stinking geranium).

The conifers smell green (OK, I know colours don't actually have a smell!), slightly resinous, the newly cut field is high with drying grass and fresh hay, the day lilies by the gate are muskily floral.  But there are some not so pleasant bouquets too, walking around the village the greasy woolly smell of slightly damp sheep is never far away. Apologies for waxing lyrical but I've been missing all of these smells for years because I had hayfever, but that's now under control thanks to a daily dose of local honey - it works much better than anti-histamines!

It's been slightly problematic collating the news this week, our main news aggegrator service has been under sustained DDoS attacks, the third wave hitting them this morning and on Wednesday our main twitter client went under for a short while too.   We think we've covered all the main news but may have missed some of the smaller items.

On a more domestic level HB had to go home early when Miss B was sent home from school with the tummy bug that's been doing the rounds, Master B succumbed over last weekend, AW's phoned home to warn the family not to overstuff the snotties - just in case....

Anyway, the latest CJS Weekly is now assembled, there are: 49 adverts for paid posts plus 14 for voluntary placements over 17 pages. Digital editions are live and emails on their way out, paper copies will be dispatched tomorrow as usual.

(PS, we're doing our best to ignore events in Brazil - the ball is the wrong size and shape for us! much to AW's relief)

12 June 2014

CJS Professional: June 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:
Apprentice Wildlife Ranger, Ipswich Borough Council
Fundraising Membership Officer,  Nurture Lakeland (Cumbria)
Senior Consultant Ecologist, amec (Leamington Spa)
Ecologist, Aspect Ecology (Oxfordshire)
Research Officer, North Pennines AONB Partnership (Stanhope, County Durham)
Specialist Access Officer - Access & Rights of Way, The British Horse Society (HQ near Stoneleigh, Warwickshire)
Ornithologist, AEC Ltd (Hong Kong)
GIS Services Delivery Manager, The Rivers Trust (Probably South West based)
Save Our Magnificent Meadows Project Adviser, Plantlife (Plantlife office or flexible location)
General Estate Worker, Wadhurst Park Estate (East Sussex, nr Tunbridge Wells)
Cemetery Park Officer, Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (Southern Grove, London E3)

CJS Notices
CJS Focus on Environmental and Outdoor Education in affiliation with NAEE UK - the National Association for Environmental Education (UK) included with this edition in full.
19 pages in total, NAEE provide the lead with a small history of env ed in the UK, discuss the current situation and hopes for the future. Why not embark on a career in Environmental Education, find out how you can train with University of Edinburgh. There are details of the Natural Connections Demonstration Project from Plymouth Uni and Empty Classroom Day which is organised for 20 June this year. Kent Wildlife Trust give their take on why they think running events is a worthwhile part of their offer and East Devon District Council have some tips along with details of some pitfalls when running events. The Wild Network highlight the importance of getting kids outdoors and active. We take a look at The Outward Bound Trust and what they have to offer and finally National Trust for Scotland describe how their partnership with Highland Fling Bungee has proved successful. This edition also includes many adverts for providers, training courses, projects & websites.

And help needed with the next edition: Are you thinking of volunteering long-term?
Planning on applying for an apprenticeship or internship?
Do you have any questions you would like to ask before committing to a long-term unpaid placement?
Send your queries to us and we will ask them for you.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for August is 4 pages Click here to read

06 June 2014


It's been one of those weeks where something inconsequential sets The Team off on a weird train of thought. We've covered car washing, assorted sports, food waste, camping, flag poles, fixing the health service and taking the education system back to square one.
But yesterday it was sandwiches, we started with jam sandwiches, raspberry jam with so much butter it squishes in with the jam and it's got to be on plastic white bread - perfect to have in your pocket when pausing for the mid-morning break in your bird count and realising that it's actually only 6am! (yes, you know the one) which then led onto do you butter the bread for syrup sandwiches?  And have you tried syrup and coconut? However, I am yet to convince anyone that the best banana sandwiches include crushed salt and vinegar crisps but we all agree that the best chip butties have so much butter it drips off your elbow.
Today's topics have been hippopotami, rhinoceros translocation by helicopter and worms (see the previous blog).
In nature news the bats have been back and according to the detector we had a noctule (at 25kHz) and a pipistrelle at the top of their range at 50 kHz.  We've also received reports of several village ponds croaking with a second round of amphibian mating.  The cuckoos have been quiet this week; although, we have heard more individuals this year than for a while and there have even been a couple of calling battles across the valley.
The latest Weekly edition has gone to print, digital versions will be available shortly.  This week there are 16 pages with 42 adverts for paid posts, 28 direct to CJS also details of 13 voluntary opportunities, the usual news and this week an update on the surveys, fieldwork and citizen science projects added to the online pages during May.

You did so well with the beetles

have a worm (nematode?) to identify.

This wriggly worm to be precise.  Last evening as I was pottering about in the kitchen the phone rang, AW with a query about the worm that had just arrived - yes, arrived. The AW family smallholding is on spring fed water collected over the moor and held in two large tanks, it has been raining heavily for a few days so the water is tinted faintly brown with peat; as she was running a bath for the girls out of the cold tap came one dead worm followed by this one which is (or rather was) still alive.  My worm identification skills are even less than those for beetles! but here's what we know: it's unsegmented, pigmentation varies from muddy green to a dark brown, one end is a head with a darker brown colouring as if dipped in paint, the other end has claspers which look a little like lego people hands and in the middle, slightly nearer the head end is a bulge, not a saddle as in true worms but a cyst / egg sack?
'tail' end of worm with claspers
middle of worm with unidentified bulge

Behaviourally it seemed to need water or at least to be moist, didn't seem affected by light (didn't test it for heat or CO2) and both ends moved, the 'head' end more so rearing up and obviously seeking something lifting about a third of its length from the paper.
More hi-res pictures here: number onenumber two, number three (head) and number four (middle)

Answers by email or twitter please.

UPDATE:  We have an identification!
What you have is a nematomorph, or Gordian or horsehair worm.
They are parasites of insects, especially crickets and grasshoppers, as juveniles. The adults live in fresh water/boggy soil. You have an adult, and it is a lovely demonstration of how ecologically clean your water supply is. However it does mean that larger insects may be getting into your supply, so you might want to check whatever filters you have upstream - though the worms are so thin, they can wriggle through small openings.

It is entirely harmless to humans - apart from inducing eardrum inducing shrieks when people find them in their nice cool, fresh glass of tap water.

Mark Blaxter, Edinburgh Genomics and Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, (mark.blaxter@ed.ac.uk)

If anyone else finds one in the bath (or anywhere else!) let us & Mark know.

23 May 2014

Any good with beetles?

We've had a plague of these small beetles, they emerged in the middle of April and covered everything, the whole village, they were found on all types of plants as well indoors wandering across computer keyboards, along kitchen worktops, falling in the bath.

Here's a beetle, they're not very big, a dark browny-green khaki colour with a brigher orange line down the join of the wing cases, legs and underparts are all very dark brown, not quite black.
(there's a bigger, higher resolution version to view here: www.countryside-jobs.com/CJS_Stuff/Images/1405_Beetle.JPG )

If you know what it is please email us (ranger@countryside-jobs.com).

Beetles and insects were never my strong point -now if it was an obscure grass particularly a moorland variety or a even lump of dried out mangled sphagnum....

We have lots of cuckoos shouting across the fields to each other every morning, we're almost at the point of wishing them to be quiet - they will be soon enough.  AW reports that their tadpoles (rescued from the same puddle as last year - silly frogs) are growing well and the children are enjoying watching their progress. 

The new workstation has been set up and we're finding out which bits of software need updating / personalising, and there are a lot!

CJS Weekly has gone to press, 16 pages this week, with 50 ads for paid posts and 13 for volunteers. Digital editions are already available and postal copies should arrive on Tuesday. 
CJS will be open on Monday but the amount of tweets and information depends upon how much is sent to us, usually very little on a Bank Holiday so we may go home early.

19 May 2014

Now published: CJS Focus on Environmental & Outdoor Education in affiliation with NAEE UK - the National Association for Environmental Education (UK)

19 pages in total, the lead article from NAEE describes the history of environmental education in the UK, the current state of affairs and the hopes for the future. The University of Edinburgh have an Outdoor Education section providing postgraduate degrees, they detail the reasons for embarking on further training in this sector. Natural Connections Demonstration Project has gone from strength to strength, they talk about what the project is doing to stimulate the demand from teachers for learning outside the classroom. Empty Classroom Day 2014 is on 20 June this year, find out how to get involved. Are events worth the hassle? Kent Wildlife Trust say yes, they talk about the sorts of events they run and how these help them to achieve their key objectives. The Wild Network are behind Project Wild Thing, Andy Simpson describes how important it is to get children outside and active. Some tips and the pitfalls involved in running events are provided by Ghislaine Silvers at East Devon District Council. Find out how The Outward Bound Trust aims to unlock the potential in young people and finally would you jump off a platform in the Pass of Killiecrankie? Ben Notley describes how the NTS partnership with Highland Fling Bungee has developed. This edition also includes many adverts for providers, training courses, projects & websites.
Read it here 

16 May 2014

Sounds of summer (and lots of sugar)

What a wonderful day, glorious sunshine, and warm too, the windows are open and the sounds of summer - screaming swifts and car alarms - are sailing in, along with the wonderful scent from the apple blossom which is looking amazing. This morning I saw the first hawthorn blossom, yesterday it was still in bud however, walking past this morning the trees were frothy with the new white flowers. The birds are busy too, there is a cartoonish Mr Blackbird who patrols the back lawn and has regular tugs-of-war with the earthworms.  There has been a male sparrowhawk on a regular fly-through too, earlier in the week he flew round the corner across the garden and stuttered to a halt before landed on top of one of the colonnade poles, after a quick look around and he took off again disappearing over the hedge at typical sparrowhawk top speed.

The website has moved, is sort of settled, emails are still a little problematic (one took 23 hours to arrive - no we don't know why either!) but we're winning, or so we keep telling ourselves.  The behind the scenes things were only semi-finalised this morning so it's been another trying week, however, the offices supplies company very kindly included a free box of penny sweets and chews with our latest order and the frequent sugar hits have kept us going if not entirely sane but it is at last the end of the week and we think we've done all that has to be completed.  Including a monster CJS Weekly of 20 pages containing 53 adverts for paid posts and 14 for volunteers, the Training Calendar for July and also an additional 19 pages of CJS Focus on Environmental and Outdoor Education.  Phew, and after that lot I think we all deserve a nice refreshing sherbet sitting in the garden enjoying the sun.

09 May 2014

SOS send more biscuits....

We just knew it wasn't going to go well, new and improved?  Bah.

Wednesday morning the website was visible but we had no emails and none of our online submission forms would work (neither would lots of other back room stuff you don't need to know about).  Our everso helpful webhosts tried to blame everyone else and when they said that google 'must not be working today' and then proceeded to try to email us the error message that they had received (urm, we have no email?) well that was it.  We tried routing emails via a different website, rewriting the submission form pages which on Wednesday did seem to sort of work. Thursday morning and we kept plugging on however, by midmorning we'd had enough and decided to move the website (and our others, such as countryside-careers.com, too), emails, support and admin from the 'helpful' hosts to another company offering better service, and more local to us too. By mid afternoon coffee break it had all moved and we were just waiting for the internet to catch up. Friday morning presented a new problem, there appears to be a conflict between the two locations and our IT expert says it can take up to 48 hours for the new address to filter through.

Despite the series of disasters we have managed to put together this week's CJS Weekly which is being posted online (even if you can't access it yet!) there are 17 pages in today's edition with 63 adverts for paid posts, 33 of which are direct to CJS there are also 6 for voluntary roles.  Email delivery subscribers will receive two links this week, one to the file on our website and to one on a cloud server; and we're also going to email these links to subscribers who normally only have online access.

AW is struggling on with the latest Focus edition, if you have an interest in environmental education or outdoors activities then this one is for you, because of the IT problems we're extending the deadline for advert submissions to noon Tuesday. Send your 50 word free advert direct to Amy on focus@countryside-jobs.com (or CJSFocus@googlemail.com if you don't receive a response).  It's due for publication on Monday 19 May, watch out for more information.
It's been a trying week, we ran out of emergency biscuits on Thursday and by Friday had resorted to crunchies and maltesers.The Team thank you for your patience and hope everything will be running smoothly again very soon.

And in other happier news, the return of the swifts! Their distinctive scream was heard on Tuesday for the first time this year and today they have been seen high above the moor.

08 May 2014

CJS Professional: May 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, if you're not seeing this month's edition today it may be because in the midst of everything we've moved the website! More to follow tomorrow.... In the mean time here are the details of the edition.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Education/Youth Project Officer (Maternity Cover), The Conservation Volunteers (Ashford, Kent)
Assistant Arboricultural Consultant, Enviroscope Consulting (York)
Field Ecologists, Aspect Ecology (principally south of England)
Woodman / Estate Worker, Giffords Hall Estate (South Suffolk)
Ecological Consultant, PV Ecology (Ampfield, nr Romsey)
Business Opportunity for Learning at Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt The National Arboretum (Forestry Commission)
Development and Community Engagement Officer, Don Catchment Rivers Trust (Sheffield)
Assistant Instructor, Sayers Croft (Surrey)

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for July is 4 pages Click here to read
Don't forget to send details of your courses and events for 2014 to Helen (training@countryside-jobs.com) for inclusion in the Directory, basic listing is free.

website migration part 2

Although here it feels like part 200!
There have been serious problems caused by the migration, so much so that we're setting up a duplicate copy of the website and emails on another server and if the mirror copy works as it's supposed to then we'll move everything.
With luck you won't notice anything other than us going a little quiet(-er) over the next day or so.
Poor AW - web problems always seem to happen in the week before the deadline for the Focus - this one may actually come out a little later than planned (we hope not) or maybe in two halves, now that would be different!!