27 November 2015

Are you excited yet?

We're having a (not quite so) minor freak out!
Today we have posted the first pre-Christmas warning in CJS Weekly

As the notice says only three more issues to go and then the CJS Team get a very well deserved two week break to rest recover and prepare for the onslaught that is the January madness.

All the Christmas details are here.

Now, how many Christmas cards did you say we need (really, that many?!?) and when is the last posting date for new Zealand (relax, AW you've got a few days left, it's 10/12 for air mail).....

20 November 2015

Odd one out....

Can you pick the odd one out?
  • Flying Shepherd
  • Project Officer: Santa
  • Cuckoo Nestbox Officer

Believe it or not all of them have appeared in CJS over the years but the odd one out is, of course, the Cuckoo Nestbox Officer which was Niall's April fool job one year and you'd be surprised how many people wanted more information, obviously anyone thinking a cuckoo needed a nestbox was entirely unsuitable for the post and it remains unfilled. However, the others are genuine, the Flying Shepherd was a Wildlife Trust conservation grazing officer needed to oversee the movement of a flock of rare breed sheep between areas of unimproved grassland managed for its flora and to ensure their care and welfare at all time and did not, as we'd hoped, come with a company helicopter. Groundwork South are advertising for the Project Officer: Santa in today's edition of CJS Weekly, it's a seasonal post at Goblin Coombe working in the woodland grotto - yes as Santa (in conjunction with the project team of elves!). The job description is a work of art see it here we've not enjoyed reading a job in quite a while; however, sub-ed TB struggled to bring it down to a standard linage for the Weekly and by page five she was beginning to mutter "bah humbug, humbug"!

12 November 2015

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:
Experienced Bat Surveyors, Ecosa (working mainly in Hampshire & Home Counties)
Experienced Estate Maintenance Person, Giffords Hall Estate (Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk )
Site Supervisor, Nimrod Environmental (Barnsley base)
Ecologist or Senior Ecologist, Ecosa
Evidence and Knowledge Manager, Wildlife Trust Wales (location negotiable)
Livestock Assistant (Northants), Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire (Location: Lings House, Northampton)
Livestock Officer (Bedfordshire), Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire  (Location: Priory Country Park, Bedford)
Junior Ecologists, an Arboricultural Consultant, Senior or Principal Bat Specialist and  a Client Relationship Manager all with Middlemarch Environmental (all based in various locations from the Midlands to the South of England.)
Access Improvement Officer, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Assistant Ranger, Nene Park Trust (Peterborough)
Aigas Rangers 2016 Season, Aigas Field Centre (Highlands of Scotland)
Reserves Officer (Bedfordshire), Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire &Northamptonshire (Location: Griffin Farm, Toddington)

CJS Notices
Farewell NATUR:  It is with regret that we have deleted the NATUR logo and information from the Professional, the website and literature.  Not because we've fallen out but because, unfortunately, to all intents and purposes NATUR no longer exists.  Read more.

Be quick!
CJS Focus on working with wildlife and animals is due for publication on Monday 30 November and will be included in CJS Professional December edition.  This edition is in association with RZSS and will contain some fascinating articles ranging from wildlife crime prevention to a story of a life dedicated to working for wildlife.
Send us your advert now, remember basic 50 words linage is free.
For more information and to submit your advert click here.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar Click here to read
Short Courses and Events in January 2016, this month calendar also includes on demand, bespoke courses, please contact the providers for more details. 6 page calendar in total

Grants and funding: Click here for details
Several new funding suppliers listed this month.

04 November 2015

A sign of the changing times.

I've just had to carry out a sad task.
I have deleted the NATUR logo and information from our website and literature.  Not because we've fallen out but because, unfortunately, to all intents and purposes NATUR no longer exists.
When one of the few remaining officers informed us of its demise she said "NATUR does still exist as an entity, just, but is pretty much completely dormant at the moment. I think it’s likely that it will wind up completely in the near future. Unfortunately, without any funding support, it’s proved impossible to keep going with volunteer effort alone. Despite the best of intentions, everyone seems to be under so much pressure these days and unable to spare the time from their day jobs. 
Thank you for all your support for NATUR in the past and we wish CJS all the best for the future."
We totally understand the difficulties of keeping an organisation going by dint of volunteer effort alone, it's hard enough keeping our local village hall afloat so trying to do the same for a wide ranging, more geographically diverse organisation is that much harder.
We hope that NATUR can rise from the ashes and will be here to help all we can if that happens.  In the meantime we return their sentiments and wish them all the best for the future.

30 October 2015

Blast from the past

Well, that brought back memories!

Of late Saturday evenings stuffing your CJS Weekly editions into envelopes, of Rudi the folding machine (so named by Niall because he 'stuck his tongue out' as he sealed each envelope), of Niall's pot luck Saturday suppers or take-aways when we'd been leading guided walks that day and very late nights traipsing around Whitby to find pillar boxes with space to hold the franked envelopes dodging between wobbly, scantily clad night-clubbers - ah, the things we've done for CJS!
When the posties got fed up of us filling every mailbox in town they suggested we had a free collection (you used to pay for each one) which made life much easier as subscribers numbers continued to grow, and as the edition got bigger Rudi the little stuffing machine couldn't manage any longer so we reverted to hand stuffing into big C4 (technically known as flats) envelopes.  Somewhere we have a photo of a very tired TB & me slumped on Niall & Anthea's dining room floor next to a mountain of post sacks holding around 1500 copies (fortunately for all concerned we can't actually find it right now - but maybe if he's reading this Niall might have a copy?).
However, those days are all a distant memory as people 'went green' and transferred to electronic copies instead of paper versions, so now we have only a handful (less than 50 usually) to stuff and post out each week.

So what is this small mountain of envelopes?
It's our first mailing of the CMA members magazine Ranger.  Heading out with our regular collection tomorrow along with a much smaller bundle of CJS Weekly edition (if you get an electronic copy it's with you already - see, going green has additional benefits!!). 

27 October 2015

We want to know your deepest, darkest thoughts....

Despite Hallowe'en being just round the corner we don't really want your thoughts on vampires, werewolves, ghosts and pumpkins or even on whether the UK should remain in the EU or what you'd like to do to people who leave illegal traps.

But we do want to know what you think of CJS.
We're launching our reader surveys today.  

It's only by knowing your opinions that we can meet your needs, we really do read every survey returned and previous surveys have influenced major changes to CJS such as altering the range and type of vacancies we advertise and a complete overhaul of the online Training Directory.

They're quite in depth with 40 questions in the survey but we're not asking you to write an essay (unless you feel like it of course), most are all tick box options so they won't take you too long, no more than 10 minutes we think.  To thank you for taking the time we're offering free  editions of CJS Weekly and the chance to win a copy of the British Wildlife Photography Awards book or a year's membership of the Mammal Society; not only that but everyone who completes the online survey is rewarded with a 25% off your first year's subscription to Mammal Society.

If you're a subscriber to CJS Weekly there is a separate survey for you to complete as well, complete with more prizes, follow the links in Friday's edition or on the confirmation page of the online survey.

So tell us what you'd like to see and change the future of CJS and maybe win yourself some lovely loot in the process.

Start the online survey here.

23 October 2015

Make a Difference, pick your cause.

This weekend is Make a Difference Day - a celebration of community volunteers and charity efforts.

We all have our favourite charities, a cause we support. We've been talking charities a lot recently, with the change in CJS support.

The CJS Team have their own personal favourites, here are just a few. 

For KH it's the Animal Health Trust, a little known charity doing some amazing work in the area of animal health and medicine. 
"The Animal Health Trust exists to fight disease and injury in animals. Thanks to our pioneering work improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention, horses, dogs and cats are living healthier, happier lives – in the UK and across the world."  My labs have taken part in some of their health studies by donating their DNA.  It's not a fluffy look after the little cute & cuddly animals, these are vets, researchers and animal health specialists looking after animals with complex problems and using their knowledge to further research some life altering / ending conditions with the aim of eradicating some diseases or at least making their treatment easier and more effective. Why is AHT my chosen cause? Because for various reasons mankind has done some awful things to our companion animals, some by accident, some on purpose without understanding the implications (eg breeding dogs for bigger / flatter heads).  I'd like our companion animals to be sound and healthy and if we can prevent that by having simple tests to check for life-altering conditions and thereby be responsible breeders. After having had a dog with a newly discovered fatal condition and fought with him for over a year I'd like other owners not to have to go through what we did - although I supported AHT long before Finn became ill. (You can read about Finn on Hebe's blog here)

For CL it's charity begins at home, supporting our local hospice: Saint Catherine’s Hospice which is very close to our hearts as my grandad spent his last month there in 2011 and the staff were amazing. Find and support your local hospice here. Also the Snowdrop Appeal at Scarborough Hospital run by York Hospitals Charity, they support parents after miscarriage and stillbirth, my friend maintains that these ladies are how she coped when she lost her daughter at 37 weeks pregnant.  But cute gets a look in too, "On a larger scale, Guide Dogs for the Blind, because we love puppies & sponsor one every Christmas as part of my dad’s xmas box :)"

Guide Dogs for the Blind, is the chosen charity for CMH as well. We supported GD when they opened a local support group but like CL it was for the puppies; however a couple of years ago I went to a meet and greet function and met some wonderful people who explained that the charity is about people and not dogs (although you can't get away from the fact that they are cute) and, if you'll pardon the pun, opened my eyes to what a life changing thing it is to have a guide dog. They allow a blind or partially sighted person the freedom of independence that most of us take for granted.  They not just about the dogs either: "We provide mobility and freedom to blind and partially sighted people. We also campaign for the rights of people with visual impairment, educate the public about eye care and fund eye disease research."

AW is another dog related cause: Retired Greyhound Trust
I always had retired greyhounds as a child and would love to have one now but my husband doesn't think it's a good idea because he wouldn't trust a rescue dog with our children and it would be liable to try and kill, if not kill our cat then the pigeons, hens and geese. Also some rescue dogs have been through such horrible experiences that it takes a lot of care and time to make them trust again, time is something I don't have to spare*. So I give to the charity because I can't give myself.

Which is your favourite cause? Let us know and you never know we might pick it for our next 'featured charity'.

*When I asked her for her favourite charity and why her response was "I haven't got time for this!" but then she wrote this lovely little piece.

20 October 2015

Try your hand and do some good.

Wanting to start your career in countryside conservation and don't know exactly where to begin? Dip your toe in the water by being an occasional volunteer or taking part in some volunteer work days and conservation tasks is an excellent way to 'try before you buy' to see if the real hard labour of conservation work is for you. 
If you've already decided that the countryside is the place for you but need that vital experience then take on a longer term volunteer placement.
If you're stuck in an office all week they're a wonderful way to get into the great outdoors, feel the wind in your hair, give your muscles a workout and leave with a visible reminder of your efforts by joining a volunteer work task, a friends of group.
We have lots of adverts for all of these voluntary roles on the website and today have transferred from CJS Focus on Volunteer (published in August) all the adverts for roles that are still available.
There's something for everyone, so have a look and find the role that suit you.
Start here.

08 October 2015

CJS Professional: October 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:
Living Landscapes Officer - Northern Region, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Commissioning Editor, Royal Forestry Society - freelance post can be based anywhere (within reason)
Head Ranger, Culzean Castle & Country park, Maybole, National Trust for Scotland
Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Advisory Officer x 2,  Devon Wildlife Trust
Site Supervisor , Nimrod Environmental Ltd (projects UK-wide, based Barnsley)
Land Based Project Delivery Manager, Green Corridor ( Landbased Learning and Development Centre, close to Terminal 5, Heathrow, West London)
Future Foresters Project Officer, Royal Forestry Society (Banbury, Oxfordshire)

Other adverts:
Business opportunities for education and learning provision, Forestry Commission England, Several sites: Wyre Forest, Worcestershire; Leigh Woods, Bristol;  Eggesford Forest, Devon;  Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire ; Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire

CJS Notices
Notice anything different?
Look at the top of the page, there's a lovely new Bat Conservation Trust logo alongside the heading Featured Charity. As we explained back in August CJS is changing the way we support charities and we're delighted to welcome Bat Conservation Trust as our first partner.Find out more here.
Advance Notice:
CJS Focus on working with wildlife and animals is due for publication in November and will be included in CJS Professional December edition.  This edition is in association with RZSS and we have lots of fascinating articles lined up. Send us your advert now, remember basic 50 words linage is free. For more information and to submit your advert click here.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for December is 2 pages Click here to read
Practical Open Source GIS training with Five Valleys Ecology, multiple locations and dates

Also Classified adverts and details of the latest funding available.

05 October 2015

Don't sit on the bat!

Once upon a not so long ago I used to help Niall and Anthea with their 'Walking for Softies' tours, leading people on a weekend visit on guided walks (with lunch provided) around the area.  One day I was to meet them in the car park at The Moors Centre and then we'd all head off to meet the coach up on the Beacon.  The car pulled up and as I opened the back door I was greet by a cry of, "Don't sit on the bat!" There in a shoe box was an injured pipistrelle, as local licensed bat handlers they'd been called out the night before to collect the injured bat and after the walk it was going to the the "bat lady" in Kirkby for veterinary treatment and rehabilitation. It had a tour around the dale with Anthea in the support car whilst Niall and I led the visitors on their walk. At lunchtime it was offered a drink of water from a paper towel and, in lieu of fresh flies, from the tweezers out of Niall's pocket knife it very delicately took tuna shreds out of one of the sandwiches which it chomped up with great enjoyment displaying a rather fine set of very sharp teeth.
I have a special fondness for bats, Mum has a thing for them too, we bought her a bat box for a birthday present once (it was never inhabited as there are enough roost sites around our house, including the garage which is often a summer roost for brown long-ear) and Niall gifted us with his old bat detector subsequently many happy evening hours have been spent trying to decipher the array of clicks and frequencies.
My liking for bats was only one of many reasons why we chose Bat Conservation Trust to be our first featured charity.  It wasn't quite saying we like that one, they'll do.   We had a few criteria when making a list of possible charities: not too big (yet) but big enough to be able to handle what we hope will be a flood of enquiries and also have the capacity to write a few self-promoting articles (first one here).  They had to be relevant to CJS, of course, not just our personal favourites (of which more to follow...).  We narrowed it down and BCT fitted the bill perfectly - needless to say I was pleased!

29 September 2015

Midnight blackout - the joys of rural living.

In the wee small hours of Friday morning I awoke to total silence and pitch black.  I can sleep through a thunderstorm but anything unusual in the house wakes me pretty quickly.  The bedside light was dead and who had been tidying up because the torch was missing? Turns out ipads are useful for more than emails and e-books; the illuminated screen was bright enough to let me find the missing torch and then I could check it wasn't just us. A quick glance out of the back windows showed the telephone exchange across the way in darkness, and peering through the tall trees in the front hedges suggested the street light at the end of the lane was out too.  The silence was delightful, no hums from the electricity in the walls, all the machinery was quiet leaving only the aga gently bubbling away.  Outside the clear sky was inky black and the stars were bright pinpricks in the darkness.  However,  a few hours later and still no power back I began to wonder about the Weekly edition.  My laptop was nearly out of battery, the useful ipad was at 50% - but no wifi, the router's UPS had been interrupted and I can't remember the last time I checked the generator. Should I stumble around in the dark grovelling in cupboards for the old analogue phone (round here mobiles stop working in power cuts) and report the fault?  I decided against that as I'd probably wake the rest of the household, it could wait until morning proper.
I wasn't the only one floundering around in the dark, AW's children were woken by the lack of the landing night light and had a slight melt down, her nephew was disturbed by the baby monitor bleeping and he promptly woke the whole house, his dad (AW's brother) stumbled across the landing to settle him, switching on lights left, right and centre.  Everyone was calm and back to bed.  Until the power came back and nephew was woken by his overhead light coming on at full brightness!  Oops.  And the rest of the village was disturbed by alarms triggered by the electricity return.  Not a very restful night.
And none of you knew anything at all about it - which of course is exactly as it should be: the office server stayed on but everything else needed rebooting and fortunately by 10 we were back up and running, somewhat bleary eyed and frowzy headed but CJS Weekly went out as usual and we can still say we've never missed a deadline, phew.

But it's only September! And not snowy or windy the usual reasons the power goes out.  Eventually we discovered that it was a lightning strike further up the valley.  Anyway, we're now stocked up on batteries, my torch has been returned to its rightful place next to the bedside light, the jerry can for the generator has been checked and will be topped up at the weekend and we're back to recharging laptops on a very regular basis! 

25 September 2015

Our First Featured Charity

We're delighted to announce that our first Featured Charity is

Bat Conservation Trust.

Their first article appears below and is published in CJS Weekly today, introducing the Trust to all you lovely readers.

The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is the only British charity solely devoted to the conservation of bats and it has been doing so since its creation in 1991. BCT works on multiple fronts to ensure a viable future for bats by working collaboratively with local, national and international organisations. Bats make up approximately 24% of all mammal species and yet most people are blissfully unaware of how important they are. In the UK we are lucky enough to have 18 resident species, 17 of which breed here. All UK species consume large numbers of insects every night and a few species will happily munch on spiders too furthermore bats make great indicators of the state of the wider environment. About 70% of bats species globally are insectivores but in tropical regions bats can play important roles as both pollinators and seed dispersal.

One of the greatest threats to bats is the widespread fear and lack of knowledge which is made all the more challenging to address when working with such an elusive group of mammals. All the teams at BCT work to increase awareness of bats whenever they can as do the local bat groups which are at the core of BCT.

One aspect of BCT’s work is the National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP), which has been gathering data on a number of different bat species since 1997. The NBMP relies on thousands of volunteers up and down the UK who work tirelessly to collect data in order to examine population trends. Over the last few years we have seen some encouraging signs that some populations are stabilising or even beginning to recover from historical declines.

The National Bat Helpline (0345 1300 228) offers advice to members of the public who have discovered bats in their home as well as providing a critical link between members of the public who have found an injured, distressed or orphaned bat with the bat carers network made up of volunteers who tirelessly dedicate their time to helping bats back into the wild. What started with a single temporary summer officer has transformed into a full team of telephone operators as well as an Out of Hours service run by volunteers during the peak summer months. The Helpline also enables BCT to inform both professionals and the public on a range of issues. We encourage anyone with concerns or in need of advice to contact us on the helpline number 0345 1300 228.

Bats are European Protected Species (EPS) due to their decline and vulnerability across Europe; this means they require legal protection that covers individual bats and their roosts. Bat crime is the second most encountered wildlife crime following raptor persecution. Wildlife crime against bats, is often in the form of roost destruction and disturbance, which is not just devastating for the species directly affected at a local level but also for wider conservation efforts. BCT works to provide solutions to improve conservation action for bats and those acting to protect them. We also have an investigations officer who works closely with enforcement officials to make sure bat crime is dealt with appropriately.

We want more people to get involved in bat conservation. To find out how, do visit www.bats.org.uk

As we explained back in August CJS is changing the way we support charities (if you missed that read it on our blog here ).  From now you can donate to Bat Conservation Trust through CJS when you subscribe and we'll have more information and articles from them over the coming months.

18 September 2015

What do bottle tops, starfish, plastic bags, shells, lolly sticks, pebbles, fishing nets, feathers, toys, crabs and lighters all have in common?

No, no idea?
Well what about starfish, shells, pebbles, feathers and crabs?
Beach! Of course they're all found on a beach! well actually you'll find all of them on a beach, and lots more besides.

Alright you're not a group of primary aged children but the message is just the same.  This is a selection of some of the things found in last year's Great British Beach Clean, when a record breaking number of volunteers collected and recorded a whopping 273,747 pieces of litter.
You can read the full report here.

Litter breakdown from 2014 BeachClean (MCS)

This year's beach clean is happening this weekend, if you've an hour or more to spare (and the tide's not in!! - see Meet Basil) check out which events are happening near you. If there isn't one it's too late to organise an official clean this weekend but you can still go down to the beach for a walk and you can still pick up a few items of litter as you go.  Not only that but research from National Trust shows that a walk along the coast is exceptionally good for you, it makes you sleep longer and feel happier (read more here).
Find out more about the Beach Clean by MCS here.

Of course if we didn't create litter in the first place it would not be necessary, unfortunately not everything on the beach was originally dropped there, some of it has travelled a long way across oceans, some short distances blown into the sea from a litter bin on the prom (or up in town), some is debris from boats either accidentally or deliberately released into the water.

Find out more about the problems of coastal litter and marine pollution in the lead article, Tackling a tide of marine pollution by Marine Conservation Society in CJS Focus on Marine and Coastal Environments

16 September 2015


‘On the Edge’ of gannets on a cliff, by Barrie Williams.
 The wonderful image of gannets from the BWPA is a deserved winner, the white birds standing out against the deep inky sea far below the solid ground on which the photographer stood to capture the image, although maybe not so good for anyone with vertigo!  I remember looking down on all the seabirds at St Abbs Head and it was an amazing sight: to be looking down on the backs of the birds when usually you're looking up at the sky and seeing their underwings and feet.  I don't know if it was the sheer number of birds or if it was really the first time I'd looked down on birds in flight but it felt like a new vision.  The world shifted on its axis to show us a new vista, a different perspective.  I can't quite believe that growing in Whitby walking along those tall cliffs virtually every day I had never looked down but it was familiar and perhaps I simply never saw what was going on right under my nose (feet?)?

This incredible image kept appearing across the many news feeds we read every day and in blogs and tweets mostly in little thumbnails which gave it totally different aspect. Just like looking down on the birds at St Abbs the image seemed shifted, the tall rocky cliffs are the solid ground and the inky seas become the velvety depths of the night sky, the little white birds transformed into many stars set into avian constellations.

A reminder that what we think we see (or hear) is maybe not really what's there in front of our eyes and is deserving of a second look.