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.

14 September 2015

The British Wildlife Photography Awards 2015: A Celebration of British Wildlife

The British Wildlife Photography Awards proudly announce the winners for 2015.  The Awards celebrate both the work of amateur and professional photographers and the beauty and diversity of British wildlife.

“The British Wildlife Photography Awards has become one of the most anticipated events in the wildlife photography calendar. The bar in wildlife photography has already been raised to unimaginably high levels of sophistication, innovation and artistic vision, yet the standard somehow continues to get better and better. This latest collection of images is testament to the sheer level of interest in wildlife in Britain and, above all, the remarkable abilities of our wildlife photographers”. Mark Carwardine, zoologist, writer, photographer and broadcaster. 

The Overall Winning Picture, ‘On the Edge’ of gannets on a cliff, is by Barrie Williams. 

Paul Wilkinson, competition judge and The Wildlife Trusts’ head of Living Landscape, said: “Photographers around the UK continue to be inspired by this competition and enter fabulous imagery which demonstrates a passion for, and a connection to, our wonderful wildlife.  Each work illustrates the many different ways in which we can connect with wild places and wild creatures.  Worlds collide in Barrie Williams’ beautiful and evocative image, which demands a double-take, affording a unique insight into the habitat and behaviour of gannets.  The British Wildlife Photography Awards continue to offer the natural world with the recognition, and reverence, it deserves.”

"Sea cliffs provide a haven from potential predators, a place for birds to breed, hunt and safely raise the next generation. This vertigo-inducing shot shows guano-stained rocks, the bustle of lower ledges with birds packed tightly and gannets hunting over the inky seas below. The judges felt it was the unique perspective of this shot and its ability to reveal something new about seabird life that made it such a firm favourite." Matt Swaine Editor, BBC Wildlife Magazine. 

CJS is proud to sponsor the  Botanical Britain category.

Winner: Botanical Britain, category sponsored by CJS - Tim Hunt  “Fairy Moss”, Penryn, Cornwall, England

This year CJS is giving an honourable mention to the winning Documentary Series simply because  it's local to us.

David Pressland, “Toads on Roads”, North York Moors National Park, North Yorkshire, England 

And if you'd like to find out more about Toads on Roads then read the article in CJS Focus on Volunteering (Feb 15 edition) about the Toad Crossing patrol at Osmotherly.

See all the winning entries on the BWPA website here.

10 September 2015

CJS Professional: September 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:
Project Officer, TCV. Based in Birmingham/West Midlands
Ecologist at Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service, Sefton Council
General Estate Worker / Woodsman, Downton Hall Estate (Nr Ludlow)
Development Officer Rural Development Trust recruiting on behalf of Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, based new Lanark
Assistant Education & Community Officer, Essex Wildlife Trust. Part time based at New Visitor Centre at Hornchurch Country Park.
Managing Director,  The Ecology Consultancy (London)
Roding Valley Meadows Assistant Ranger, Essex Wildlife Trust
Contracts Manager, Lowther Forestry Group Ltd (based at our York office)
Development and Fundraising Assistant, The Landscape Group (Location: Bromley & Stratford)
Area Rights Of Way Officer Central & East Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire County Council
Senior Specialist, Footprint Ecology (Wareham, Dorset)
Ranger Apprentice, the National Trust for Scotland at Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate, Banchory
Ecologist, Bowland Ecology (South Scotland)

CJS Notices
+ A slight shuffle - Although some may say at last!  We've split CJS Online according to sector.
+ Change in Charities, CJS is changing the way we support charities.
+ This edition includes CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with the National Trust
27 pages in total, the lead article is from the National Trust; they give some case studies of people who have gone on to secure paid positions through their work as volunteers. RSPB run a Volunteer Internship Programme, the Site Manager at Dungeness Nature Reserve talks about how the programme helped him secure a paid position. Trainee Countryside Rangers play a big part in the work of North Ayrshire Council. Citizen Science is a vitally important means of data gathering; we take information from the Biological Records Centre and profile iRecord. The National Trust for Scotland’s Jackie Kemp talks about his work day volunteering and how this has led to him being employed by NTS. Green Angels is a programme run by the Land Trust to provide environmental training opportunities for local people & to improve Liverpool Festival Gardens.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for November is 6 pages Click here to read

Also Classified adverts and details of the latest funding available.

09 September 2015

Introductions: Meet Basil.

Basil lives on our front step, he's out in all weathers, he doesn't mind if it's hot, if it's cold, wet, dry or snowy, but he's not too keen on icy conditions - he slithers about a bit or sometimes gets stuck to the stone step.
He doesn't cost anything to feed. Doesn't require any specialist bedding, no toys and he's been the easiest pet to train. Although he's not the cuddliest.

Yes, this is Basil.

As you can see he's our pet rock!  The best pet to have if you're out all day, don't have time to dedicate to training or simply can't afford an animal.

Today is Pet Rock Day. 

And no I haven't just plonked a chunk of stone on the doorstep to write a silly blog post about*.  Basil has a history, a very long history.  He's lived with us for over 15 years now.
In those days I ran an environmental education company called HareBrained, one of the activities offered was fossil hunting and that how Basil found us.  One soggy day in early September a coachload of primary aged children spent the morning dashing about the beach picking up seemingly random rocks and demanding to know if it was a fossil, two little 'orrors lugged Basil over and very nearly dropped him on my foot but I managed to yank it out of the way before he hit the sand. He does have very unusual markings but as soon as I explained those lines didn't mean fossil they lost all interest and left him leaning against a groyne.  We carried on searching through the morning and the kids went home with a sizeable haul of fossils and fair amount of sand.  The bus disappeared back to Whitby, I took the dog out of the car for some exercise whilst I munched my lunch before the next lot arrived; we both turned to retrieve this most unusual chunk of rock but the tide was on it's way in!  Basil was now submerged!! Juno didn't mind getting wet but I wasn't quite so happy about it, never mind I wanted another look.  Now the stone was wet it was obvious that it was igneous and the hexagonal crystalline structure says it's a chunk of basalt. North Yorkshire's native rocks are mostly sedimentary sand and siltstone and our igneous intrusions are more of a whinstone type. 
So how did a chunk of basalt end up here?
This is where it gets interesting. The Esk Valley was shaped by glaciation, at the end of the last ice age several glaciers met and melted creating a huge periglaciation lake and they all dropped their load of ground up stone often carried a long way.  Around the area there are lots of erratics scattered across the landscape, the Bridestones at High Dalby are one the best known. From the colour, size and shape of Basil he's from Fingal's Cave, the Hebridean end of the Giant's Causeway and was carried all the way from Mull in the last big ice age in the glacier which reached the Esk Valley and then melted leaving Basil to meander around the Whitby area for thousands of years until he found us and moved onto our step! He'll be here on after we're not.

*And just in case you think I've totally lost my marbles (metamorphic rock ones of course), please think about Gary Dahl who became a million by selling pet Rocks - yes really, read more about him on wikipedia and in his obituary and for a good giggle read his manual of instructions that came with every pet rock adopted

03 September 2015

That's it for another year...

They said it was summer, I'm not convinced I think it might have been autumn in disguise!  Well, whatever it was it's done now, the children are back at school, the coach trips are starting up again, and everyone is back to work reminiscing fondly over 'summer' holidays and barbeque mishaps. If you'd like to get out from behind the desk and into the great outdoors again either just for a day or on a more permanent basis you can make a start by reading the most recent CJS Focus.

CJS Focus on Volunteering, August 2015 - details of this edition

There are lots of wonderful stories and suggestions of things to do and of course plenty of opportunities for volunteers on long term placements as way of starting in the sector and also for people needed just for a day or two or even an hour or two at a time.  People are needed from all walks of life to help the organisations in their many varied tasks
  • Ranger
  • Walk leader
  • Wildlife Guide
  • Gardener
  • Pin box minder
  • Tree nursery helper
  • Travel champion
  • Whale watcher
  • Bird care assistant
  • Balsam basher
  • Path checker
These are just some of the many roles available.

So, whatever time you have available, whatever you're good at or fancy giving a go there's bound to be something to suit in one of the over 120 adverts; they're available across the whole country too.

Read it here: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/Focus/Current.htm 

Looking forward:
We're open for suggestions for articles for future editions too, the next CJS Focus for November is already in the works but the one after that will be looking at volunteering once more and is due for publication in February 2016.  Any ideas for subjects for 2016 are welcome too.  Send your thoughts, suggestions or even offers of articles to Amy at focus@countryside-jobs.com.

01 September 2015

New role for CJS.

As of today CJS is providing support services for the Countryside Management Association. So don't be surprised to receive a response from the CJS Team members when you contact CMA.  We have a long association with CMA, CJS actually began life providing the jobs service for CMA members, which was extended to SCRA and then opened up to everyone.  Like all long relationships it's had its ups and downs but we're all still here - just! And even more impressive still talking and, dare I say it, getting on better than in years!!  CMA is changing, they launched a new website last month  and you might notice it has a few bits and pieces from the CJS website; there is a sparkly new corporate partnership with the National Trust as well. If you work for the Trust ask them about it, or you can contact us with our CMA hats on, admin@countrysidemanagement.org.uk or 01947 896048 - not the usual CJS contact details please - and we'll be happy to give you the information.   We hope that CMA will continue to grow, prosper and help everyone working within the countryside sector - all with our support in the background to help them do just that.

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