The Countryside Management Association

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Logo: Countryside Management Association

Be informed; be inspired; be connected

The Countryside Management Association (CMA) is the largest organisation supporting the work of conservation, access and recreation professionals in the natural greenspace and countryside sector throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The overall purpose of the Association is to:

  • Support the development of staff, students and volunteers involved in the management, interpretation and public enjoyment of natural greenspace and the countryside
  • Promote the value and importance of professionally managed natural greenspace and the countryside to the general public, government and other organisations
  • Influence the organisations involved in the management of natural greenspace and the countryside
  • Champion the staff, students and volunteers involved in the management, interpretation and access to natural greenspace and the countryside

Come and join us! Take a look at the new CMA web site to see all the benefits of becoming a member here

Benefits include (varies with membership category):

  • Quarterly Ranger magazine (hard or digital copy only)
  • Regional and international networking
  • Members’ rates at study/training days around the country and webinars
  • Members’ rates at annual conference – in person/online
  • Access to our Basecamp online discussion forum
  • Download the The Force For Nature Ranger App that allows you to connect with each other at a touch of a button: exchange news from your patch and all around the world - in an instant
  • Regular e-news bulletins
  • Countryside Jobs Service - our members receive a 50% discount on subscriptions to CJS Weekly, a comprehensive newsletter with job adverts (including voluntary), news stories and a full calendar of training courses - CJS Weekly
  • CMA certificate, car sticker and pin badge

Study Days

Study Days are, for many CMA members, the most important benefit of membership. The study days are typically hosted by a CMA member who is willing to share their experience. There is often a focus on a specific subject or project. A visit to view and discuss a range of issues and features at a site is also a common format.

Training Days

Training Days differ from Study Days in that the focus is usually on developing specific skills (e.g. identification skills) or areas of understanding. An external trainer or expert often leads the event. Training events sometimes have a charge to cover costs (always clearly indicated) although this is usually at a reduced rate for CMA members.

CMA conference delegates at the 2017 event in Conwy, North Wales (CMA)
CMA conference delegates at the 2017 event in Conwy, North Wales (CMA)

Annual Conference

We organise a conference or major seminar event each year, focusing on a topical theme. Our conference is usually located in a different part of the UK or more latterly online. The last few conferences have been in the Peak District National Park, Conwy in North Wales, Lee Valley Regional Park, Cheshunt and the Lake District National Park. Conferences are not only a great way to learn; they offer a chance to make new friends or meet up with new ones.

Ranger magazine

Our quarterly membership magazine is free to CMA members. Articles cover a wide range of topics, including news from our regional coordinators, national or topical developments, site management, innovative projects, international news and events listings.

CMA Patron Chris Baines with the prestigious Gordon Miller Award trophy (CMA)
CMA Patron Chris Baines with the prestigious Gordon Miller Award trophy (CMA)

The Gordon Miller Award

Gordon Miller is one of the founding members of the CMA and also the International Ranger Federation. Gordon is the CMA’s Honorary President. The CMA presents our annual Gordon Miller Award for the most deserving project, initiative or innovative practice, that has made an outstanding contribution to countryside or urban greenspace management. The award acknowledges the hard work and commitment of those contributing to making the UK’s countryside and urban greenspace an inspiring and wildlife-rich place that people can enjoy. We want to celebrate all nominated projects, so every submission is featured in Ranger magazine and the winner retains our Gordon Miller barn owl award to help promote their project locally, for a year.

With an ever growing number of members, the CMA is also focusing on some of the topics of greatest concern to the sector. The CMA welcomes anyone interested, member or not, to join our discussions on the best ways forward for the sector:

Training and Skills

The CMA Training Working Group is looking at the current state of field based ‘Ranger’ training & skills, with the aim of informing and developing the CMA’s approach to furthering skills exchange, the provision of training and how best the organisation can influence personal and professional development.

The Training Working Group’s work focuses on two main areas:

  • what’s already being provided and how useful / appropriate is it,
  • what future role or function should the CMA be playing in ensuring that countryside and greenspace staff get the skills and training they need.

The Group is keen to hear from members and non-members alike, so let us know if you have experienced really good training provision, want to highlight gaps in current provision or if you have a view on how the CMA can best be involved itself in improving the standards of countryside management.

Winners of the Gordon Miller Award in 2019, the TEaM Project, The Environment and Me (CMA)
Winners of the Gordon Miller Award in 2019, the TEaM Project, The Environment and Me (CMA)

Sustainability and the Pledge to Net Zero

Obviously the environmental sector is taking the brunt of climate change impacts and we have been concerned about this for many years. Therefore we were very proud to become signatories of the new Pledge to Net Zero scheme in March. The CMA has always been a light carbon organisation by our ethos, however we are committed to reducing our emissions to 50% of 2021 by 2025. We are then going to eliminate all of them by 2030. To help us achieve this, we have set up an enthusiastic Working Group that is actively looking to calculate CMA emissions and create a strategy to get us to net zero. We are also encouraging our members to share and adopt good practice to drive the wider profession in adopting good climate policies and actions.

Diversity and Inclusion

The environmental sector is well known for its poor levels of diversity including gender identity, religion or faith, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socio-economic background. This is something we acknowledge and a Working Group has been assembled to investigate good practice across our organisation and industry. We aim to start collecting data of our own to assess where our existing strengths and weaknesses are. We will also be identifying barriers to entry and progress through the profession. However, we also realise that the CMA can, and must, be part of the solution. This is not to say our existing professionals are not up to the task, absolutely not! It’s just that like with ecosystems, workplace diversity brings richness, strength and resilience.

Membership to suit everyone…

The CMA now has 8 different membership categories. It also offers employers and colleges/universities the opportunity to become corporate members, which then has several benefits for their employees or students. Whether you’re a student, volunteer or employed in the sector, there’s a membership category just for you: Membership - CMA (

CMA members on one of a choice of field/study trips at the 2019 conference (CMA)
CMA members on one of a choice of field/study trips at the 2019 conference (CMA)

Student offer

Are you a student, of any age, in full- or part-time education? If a student and new to the CMA, you could take advantage of free CMA membership for a year, to sample all the benefits (evidence of your student status will be required). Why not try us out?

The CMA has recently introduced 4 new accredited membership categories.

What’s accreditation?

Accreditation is the process of officially recognising someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity.

Why does the CMA offer accredited membership?

The CMA strongly believes that those who work, or volunteer, in the countryside, parks and greenspace sector should have their professional competency assessed, confirmed, recognised and valued, both within and outside the industry. One of CMA’s principal ambitions is to raise the profile and recognition of the countryside and greenspace profession. Members reaching the relevant standards will then be entitled to describe themselves as either an Associate Member, Practitioner Member, Principal Member or a Fellow of the CMA. Anyone working, or volunteering, in the countryside and greenspace management profession can apply for accredited membership.

Introductory Offer – don’t miss it!

As the CMA accredited membership opportunity has only just been launched this October, the first ten applicants for each of the Associate, Practitioner and Principal accredited membership levels can take up the CMAs introductory offer of reduced fees: Accreditation - CMA (

Logo: International Ranger Federation
Logo: European Ranger Federation

Join the CMA and you’ve joined an international network too!

The CMA is part of a wider global community of environmental professionals who work in protected, conserved and other areas across the planet. We are a founding member of both the International Ranger Federation (IRF) and the European Ranger Federation (ERF).

As a member, you are automatically part of this worldwide network of colleagues protecting the world’s natural environment. Whatever your work title or area of study you have the opportunity to connect with many thousands of other rangers working on the frontline across the planet.

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Posted On: 01/11/2021

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