CJS Professional

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Countryside Jobs Service Professional - The leading monthly for countryside staff across the UK

Published on the second Thursday every month

CJS is endorsed by the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association and the Countryside Management Association

Featured Charity: Campaign for National Parks

Find out more about our featured charity here.

Including how to join and donate.

Please remember: If you are interested in a particular advert or item please contact the advertiser, not CJS, and remember to tell them you saw their advert in CJS Professional.

CJS Professional: 9 September 2021

Contents: Click the headers to browse each section, or click on each item (or the [more] button)


26 adverts included in this edition at time of publication.

Please note adverts are deleted as they reach the closing date.


CJS Updates and other useful information

International Day of Charity was 5 September
Some of the ways CJS supports charities, from offering free advertising, promoting one Featured Charity each year, to sponsoring and adopting species and a call for suggestions to next year's Featured Charity. [more]

We are proud supporters of A Focus on Nature
The youth organisation aims to connect, support and inspire young people, aged 16-30, with an interest in nature and conservation. They work really hard to give advice and support to those trying to break in to our sector. See more about AFON and click through for our other endorsements and partnerships

Did you watch the Ask the Ranger facebook live session? run by Kate and Charles from South Downs National Park
In the talk they both revealed how they got on to the career ladder and what their jobs involve. Various questions were answered including can you get into a paid conservation job straight out of university and how easy it to career change in to conservation. If you missed it don't worry you watch a recording on our facebook page [more and link to recording]

REMINDER: A year's free subscription to CJS Weekly for students graduating this year.
Details here and please share. More info here and sign up is here. Please share.


logo: Campign for National Parks

2021 featured charity, Campaign for National Parks are launching their annual photo competition this years the theme is Documenting Climate Change
Following on from the release of our National Parks and the Climate Emergency report this summer, and as we prepare for COP26 in Scotland in November, we wanted to use our annual photography competition as an opportunity to further move people to understand the climate crisis impacting our National Parks and take action to help protect them.
The competition, which is now open for entries.   [more]


Features and In Depth Articles

Tackling Climate Change using Nature Based Solutions  By Dr Juliet Staples, Senior Project Manager URBAN GreenUP
Liverpool is a front-runner city in the EU funded, Horizon 2020, URBAN GreenUP project, whose remit is to retrofit a range of nature-based solutions (NBS) across the city and to monitor them for their multiple environmental, social and economic benefits.This 5-year and €4m pioneering research and innovation-led project of using nature to deliver ecosystem services in Liverpool has provided an opportunity for the city to visibly deliver on agendas for climate change adaptation, resilience and biodiversity. [more]

Race For Nature’s Recovery - the scheme diversifying the environmental workforce By James Adeleke, Director, Generation Success. On behalf of the Race for Nature partnership. 
In December 2020 a scheme was launched that had been many months in the making. Race for Nature’s Recovery is a new employment initiative, pioneered by a group of environmental and youth empowerment organisations. Its aim is to create new roles in the UK’s environmental sector for unemployed 16-24 year olds from predominantly Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. [more]

The Green Flag Award Scheme celebrates its silver jubilee
2021 will see the prestigious Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces presented for the 25th Year.
The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. Originally developed by the industry in response to declining standards, 2061 parks in the UK currently fly the flag, having achieved the highest benchmark as set out in the award criteria. [more]

Job profile: Vet careers: David Couper, at RSPCA's West Hatch Wildlife Centre.
Having been fascinated with all animals, and particularly wildlife, since childhood, I am lucky to have built a career over the last 18 years with the RSPCA working at West Hatch Wildlife Centre, which aims to rehabilitate sick and injured British wildlife. For me, this work is a great fusion of zoology and veterinary medicine; the position allows me the opportunity to work hands-on with wild animals, while at the same time improving their welfare, learning about the conditions which affect them, and helping the public who have found them in distress. [more]

An opinion piece on Internships/Traineeships and Careers in the Environmental Sector  By Kat Hinton
I read an excellent article recently by Brian Heppenstall that got me reflecting, not only on the expectation for volunteering, but also careers generally within the environmental sector.  Kat asks: "Why do we make it so hard for these youngsters, so full of optimism, enthusiasm and ideas, to get a foothold in the sector? Over the years I have seen so many people that I know give up on these ideals and seek employment elsewhere, in education or healthcare, for instance."  [more]

Conservation K9s – A helping Paw to find endangered Species
Louise Wilson is the Director and founder of Conservation K9 Consultancy (CK9C), where she trains and handles specialist detection dogs for a range of conservation purposes, from ecological surveys, research searches to wildlife monitoring for endangered or invasive species. She discusses what makes a good detection dog and what she's looking for in her own rescued dogs as well as demonstrating their amazing capabilities. [more]

World Clean Air Day: why air pollution is not just an urban problem by Larissa Lockwood, Director of Clean Air from Global Action Plan
If you ask a certain generation of urban dweller, they will tell you about dark skies and smog caused by the burning of coal. As we gaze upwards on #WorldCleanAirDay don’t be fooled that the problem is solved. Nor that air pollution is just an urban problem.  Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to human health. Every year across the world air pollution kills seven million people – that’s over 19,000 people each day.  But air pollution doesn’t just damage human health, it can also damage animal and plant health. [more]

Our top tips for National Inclusion Week 2021 from Inclusive Employers
National Inclusion Week 2021 will take place from 27 September – 3 October. Inclusion Week is designed to celebrate everyday inclusion in all its forms. This is the 9th year Inclusive Employers has brought organisations together from across the globe to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practices. In true Inclusive Employers style we are here to help and are going to be sharing with you some of our top tips for making the most of the week. [more]

CJS Focus

Free advert anyone?
The next CJS Focus is looking at careers in ecology & biodiversity in association with CIEEM. We are in the business of jobs and this publication will seek to provide information about working in ecology & biodiversity via some fabulous articles from individuals & organisations including Ecology Training UK, ArbTech, Ecosulis & Ecology Academy amongst others. You can advertise alongside the articles.
It will take just minutes to upload your advert and you’ll reach over 100,000 people who work or are looking to work in the ecology & conservation sectors.
Find out more here and you’ll need to be quick
. The deadline is tomorrow, 10 September.



IPCC report that climate change is widespread, rapid and inensfying plus responses whilst the UK government stragnethened the Environment Bill to 'halt biodiversity loss'. The impact of all forms of pollution from microplastics to light has been witnessed this past month. There was incredible news of a long-distance bat and good news for beavers, hen harriers and London's hedgehogs. Several new projects launched with funding from the Green Recoery fund and lottery.

Training and Events

Calendar of events and short courses occurring in November plus additions made over the past month.

Advertise in CJS, information here. Rates here. Information for CJS Weekly and CJS Professional.

CJS Newsletters and updates:

CJS Weekly: subscription only weekly newsletter. Receive details of all vacancies and information advertised with CJS. Find out more here. Instant access here.

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Click here.


CJS announcements, information and other articles of interest.

logo: A Focus on Nature

We are proud supporters of A Focus on Nature

The youth organisation aims to connect, support and inspire young people, aged 16-30, with an interest in nature and conservation. They work really hard to give advice and support to those trying to break in to our sector. Find out more here

See more of our endorsements and partnerships here.

photo of a jar holding coins labeled Charity

International Day of Charity was 5 September

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. In 2020 we ran our short readership survey and every completed survey went towards sponsoring plants with former featured charity Plantlife or birds with the Wildlife Trusts. Details of the resulting adoptions and sponsorships were shared with readers earlier this year and you can see all of them here:

CJS offers charities the opportunity to highlight their cause and good works in CJS in the form of articles highlighting a specific project or introducing the organisation to readers and also on a longer term basis as our Featured Charity of the year, which this year has been Campaign for National Parks, read about them and revisit the wonderful articles they're written for us this past year here. You can also catch up with our previous Feature Charities here from our first adopted snail at Jersey Zoo (now Durrell) to the Mammal Society which was featured last year.

If you'd like to nominate a charity to be our Featured Charity in 2022 or perhaps would like to provide a profile piece introducing your organisation please contact us, Features Commissioning Editor Amy is the best first contact, email her for more information.

screen grab of the facebook live event

Find out what it’s like being a Countryside Ranger

Thanks to Kate and Charles, Rangers from South Downs National Park Authority for their Live Ask the Ranger event on 16 August.

In the talk they both revealed how they got on to the career ladder and what their jobs involve. Various questions were answered including can you get into a paid conservation job straight out of university and how easy it to career change in to conservation.

Find out what’s involved in being a Ranger and get the benefit of Kate and Charles’ experience.

Watch the video here

picture of a mortar board hat with the message: Congratulation to the class of 2021

Things are strange enough for everyone right now but for our new graduates it's particularly bewildering. Our graduating students are leaving the world of academia behind and heading off to start their careers looking at a more uncertain future than any of us can imagine. To help our next generation of rangers, ecologists, wildlife warriors, landscape managers and environmental educators CJS wants to give each of the class of 2021 a graduation present of a full year's subscription to CJS Weekly.

If you know any students graduating this year please send them the details of our graduate gift, there are more details and the form to sign up here

Rest assured this is a genuine gift, no hidden catches or sudden requests for money, just CJS trying our best to help the sector.


2021 featured charity, Campaign for National Parks are launching their annual photo competition.

Features and In Depth Articles.

CJS Focus.

Logo: CJS Focus

The next edition will be CJS Focus on Careers in Ecology & Biodiversity in association with CIEEM, it is due for publication on 20 September. Please contact Amy, Focus Co-ordinator, with suggestions for articles or subjects that you'd like to see covered or if you'd like to write a feature.


man looking at a bat through a magnifying glass

CJS Focus on Careers in Ecology & Biodiversity – free advertising. LAST CALL. DEADLINE IS TOMORROW!

Many of our readers are looking for a job, some check CJS to keep on top of what’s going on in the world of conservation including ecology and there are even those who like to know what jobs other organisations are advertising.

Our readers are spread across the UK – there will be someone in your area who is looking for a job, wants to know how to get that experience or is keen to network with other professionals.

You may not have an open job role at the moment but don’t let that stop you taking advantage of the free advertising with CJS. If you regularly recruit seasonal staff why not let us know; if you offer training and CPD for Ecologists send us an advert. Anything related to careers in Ecology and Biodiversity can be included.

Sending details to CJS takes minutes, Click Here

Join the thousands of organisations who have taken advantage of our highly targeted readership. Read previous Focus publications along with in-depth features on

CJS Focus will be published on 20 September and has an advertising deadline of 10 September.

To book your advert please contact Amy Worley or Click Here 


We collate together news from across the internet; sent out in real time via twitter and each day we pick a handful of stories of interest which are included on the Headlines page, the daily email update and here grouped according to subject.

Click on the headline to read more.

Sustainability and Climate Change

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26.

The Working Group I report is the first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022.

“This report reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making.”

The report provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

The report shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. This assessment is based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming, as well progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Every region facing increasing changes

Many characteristics of climate change directly depend on the level of global warming, but what people experience is often very different to the global average. For example, warming over land is larger than the global average, and it is more than twice as high in the Arctic.

“Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways. The changes we experience will increase with additional warming,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.

The report projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows.

Access the report.

If the full report is a bit much and you'd like some background David Karoly, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO writes on The Conversation:

Monday’s IPCC report is a really big deal for climate change. So what is it? And why should we trust it?

In response to the IPCC report:

UK calls for greater global ambition as UN finds world warming faster than expected - Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street

The UK is calling for urgent global action in response to the latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

  • UN report out today warns we could reach 1.5 degrees warming in the next decades without immediate action
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson and COP26 President Alok Sharma call for urgent steps to cut global emissions
  • UK lobbying countries to increase ambition on climate change ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November

The UK is calling for urgent global action in response to a UN report published today on the science of climate change, that says the planet has warmed more than previously estimated.

This latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a stark warning from scientists around the world that human activity is damaging the planet at an alarming rate.

The report warns that climate change is already affecting every region across the globe and that without urgent action to limit warming, heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and loss of Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost, will all increase while carbon sinks will become less effective at slowing the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

It highlights that cutting global emissions, starting immediately, to net zero by mid-century would give a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C in the long-term and help to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Today’s report makes for sobering reading, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet. We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline. The UK is leading the way, decarbonising our economy faster than any country in the G20 over the last two decades. I hope today’s IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit."

Landmark report stresses urgency of climate crisis - MetOffice

Time is short to avert the worst impacts of climate change, but the report also reminds us there is no scientific reason to delay action.

The latest report from the IPCC published today [Monday 9 August, 2021] stresses the urgency to protect the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement for global temperature rise to remain below 1.5°C.

Professor Albert Klein Tank is the Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre. He said: “This report paints the starkest picture yet of the global and regional impacts of climate change. Time is short to avert the worst impacts of climate change, but the report also reminds us there is no scientific reason to delay action. The case is clear. More focussed projections of future climate change are making some more optimistic outcomes even more challenging, and that should be a warning to all.

Studying how trees can help the UK reach net zero emissions - UK Research and Innovation

Six research teams across the UK will develop new tools and approaches which will help trees and woodlands adapt to climate change.

The research aims to enable the UK to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. It will also improve our understanding of the value of trees to people and the planet, and support the expansion of treescapes across the UK.

sunlight streaming through the canopy of green trees
woodland (photo: Joren Quinton / unsplash)

The projects will receive a share of £10.5 million funding from UK Research and Innovation to:

  • understand how local authorities are meeting their tree planting targets, the cultural significance of trees to communities and how well they capture greenhouse gases
  • work creatively with young people to co-produce new approaches to creating and caring for treescapes that benefit the environment and society
  • investigate how trees respond to stress and pass on that memory to future generations
  • assess the potential of woodland restoration along over 200,000 km of England’s rivers and bodies of water
  • examine how community forests enable stakeholders to work in partnership to deliver multiple benefits from forests
  • study whether trees can adapt effectively to climate change, pests and diseases.

Expanding woodlands and forests

Trees, woodlands and forests play a vital role in removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and nurturing biodiversity. Thirteen per cent of the UK is covered by woodland, and the UK government has pledged to plant millions of trees every year over the coming decades.

Expanding the UK’s trees, woodlands and forests will play an important role in realising the government’s ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, our treescapes need to become more resilient to pressures such as changing climate, disease, and competing demands for land in order to reverse decades of decline in biodiversity and environmental quality.

Forestry Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith said: "I am delighted to be supporting this new research programme, which will emphasise the importance of treescapes and help deliver our tree planting ambitions. In the run up to COP26 this is an exciting opportunity to showcase how the UK’s cutting-edge science can deepen our understanding of the health and environmental benefits provided by trees while ensuring they are protected for future generations."

Climate emergency: LGA poll shows more than nine in 10 residents support increased biodiversity - Local Government Association

Ninety-four per cent of residents polled by the Local Government Association want to see increased biodiversity in their area, including the planting of trees and protection of green spaces.

The survey for the LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, found that encouraging people to be more eco-friendly through recycling and less plastic use, and increasing the use of renewable energy were also high up on the priority list for residents, with both receiving over 90 per cent.

The LGA says that the position of councils as place-shapers, convenors of local partners and communities, asset-owners, problem solvers and significant purchasers puts them at the forefront of delivering real, tangible changes in the transition to net zero.

Nine out of ten councils had declared a climate emergency and as part of the great work councils have been doing across the country to protect our environment and reach net zero, many have developed projects to encourage wildflower growth, plant trees and protect biodiversity in their communities.

Some examples of innovating and effective council plans to increase and protect biodiversity include:

  • City of York Council is creating an extensive community woodland on 78 hectares of land to the West of York with the ambition to plant 50,000 trees by 2023 as a nature based solution to climate change mitigation.
  • The Cambridge Canopy Project – part of the Interreg 2 Seas ‘Nature Smart Cities’ project – seeks to grow Cambridge’s urban forest, increasing tree canopy cover from 17 per cent to 19 per cent by the 2050s.
  • The Wiltshire Community Environmental Toolkit has been developed by Wiltshire Council in partnership with Natural England. It allows communities to take the lead in defining and restoring biodiversity in their community by providing a structure for how local communities can better understand what they already have in terms of biodiverse habitats, as well as how to plan for developing greater biodiversity and nature-based carbon sequestration in the future.
  • The North Devon Biosphere Reserve is jointly funded by Devon County Council, North Devon Council and Torridge District Council. The Biosphere is launching an ambitious new Nature Recovery Plan to tackle the ecological emergency in northern Devon, aligning with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Prime Minister’s pledge for 30 per cent of the UK land to be protected by 2030.
  • Surrey County Council has committed to facilitating the planting of 1.2 million trees - one for every Surrey resident - by 2030.

But the LGA is warning that a skills shortage in ecologists is a worrying barrier to achieving biodiversity net gain goals, with only one third of planning authorities in England having access to their own ‘in house’ ecologist.

Addressing the effect of offshore windfarms on marine ecosystems - UK Research & Innovation

A new research programme has been launched to address the critical gap in understanding how marine ecosystems will respond to the continued growth of offshore wind farms.

This is as the sector ramps up to deliver 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

The £7 million programme, known as ECOWind, is a joint initiative led by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in partnership with The Crown Estate, which manages:

  • the seabed of England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The four-year programme will fund leading-edge research into how offshore windfarms affect the marine environment, alongside other growing pressures on UK ecosystems. This includes climate change and human activities such as fishing. In particular, the programme will focus on how populations and inter-species interactions are responding to offshore wind deployment and how marine observations can be enhanced through innovative technologies to improve our understanding.

Understanding effects of offshore wind farms

The research findings will inform key decision-makers in the management of UK waters to help achieve the UK’s commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Whilst also ensuring net environmental gain and marine environmental restoration.

ECOWind will engage the academic community, helping to develop long-term successful relationships between:

  • researchers
  • government
  • industry.

It will work in collaboration with the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme, which facilitates the sustainable and coordinated expansion of offshore wind to:

  • help meet the UK’s commitments to low carbon energy transition
  • support clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas.

The Offshore Wind Evidence and Change programme is led by The Crown Estate, which has committed to a five year £25 million ‘kick-starter’ investment. It is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Defra.

Protect habitat ‘stepping stones’ to help species cope with climate change, scientists say - University of Liverpool

Safe passages for species adapting to climate change aren’t always being protected, a new study by the University of Liverpool warns.

With rising temperatures altering where species can survive, many are moving to newly hospitable patches further north. Key to this journey is ensuring suitable connectivity between where species currently live and where they might do in the future.

“If patches of habitat vital to connectivity are lost because they aren’t protected, a major way species can adapt to climate change will be hindered. We therefore need methods to identify the most important ‘stepping stones’ and consider these when designating protected areas for conservation,” explains researcher Thomas Travers.

In a new paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers used a cutting-edge software tool called Condatis to explore how species might move northwards through 16 different habitat networks in England, quantifying the importance of different patches to this connectivity. They also explored how much connectivity could be improved by protecting some of the key areas.

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Natural England and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

The team found that important connecting patches were often left out of the existing networks of protected area, meaning that less connectivity was protected than you might expect given the amount of habitat protection. Across 12 of the 16 habitat networks they studied, this shortfall averaged 13.6%.

However, they also found that if just a small amount of additional area was protected, it could have a major impact on helping to redress this imbalance and reduce vulnerability to climate change. By focusing on additional nature reserves to prioritise connectivity, the team estimates that an average of 41% more connectivity could be achieved with just a 10% increase in area protection.

Lead author Thomas Travers, a PhD student at the University of Liverpool, said: “The scientific community has been emphasising the importance of incorporating connectivity into the planning process for at least 30 years, and as global climates continue to change this importance will grow. Unfortunately, it appears the connectedness of habitats remains vulnerable to degradation and loss through lack of protection. We have shown that patches important to long-distance connectivity can be easily identified, allowing the proportion protected to be greatly increased with minimal additional resources.”

Co-author Dr Jamie Alison, from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, added: “We mustn’t forget to protect habitats that seem to be small and peripheral. They are valuable places for people to enjoy nature – but also for species to cope with climate change.”

Access the paper: Travers TJP, Alison J, Taylor SD, Crick HQP, Hodgson JA. 2021 Habitat patches providing south–north connectivity are under-protected in a fragmented landscape. Proc. R. Soc. B 20211010.


Marine disturbance in Cornwall triples in six years - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Jet skis disturbing seals in a quiet Cornish cove, Image by Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust
Jet skis disturbing seals in a quiet Cornish cove, Image by Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust

Incidents of jet skis, motorboats and coastal walkers disturbing marine life have more than tripled in Cornwall since records were first collated in 2014. Cornwall Wildlife Trust are now urging members of the public to behave responsibly and admire wildlife from a distance when out on the water this bank holiday weekend, after receiving several shocking disturbance reports already this summer.

Research gathered from the Cornwall Marine and Coastal Code Group, a collective of organisations aiming to tackle the problem of marine disturbance and harassment locally, shows disturbance steeply increasing in July and August every year. This coincides with the peak visitor season in Cornwall, with more and more people wanting to enjoy Cornwall’s beautiful coastline.

Coastal walkers have also been identified as the top cause of disturbance to seals and sea birds, whilst privately-owned leisure boats are the biggest threat to whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as ‘cetaceans’) in Cornish waters.

Ruth Williams, Marine Conservation Manager at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: “It’s great to see so many people enjoying our coastline and seas, but with stay-cations and the numbers of people visiting Cornwall this year we have seen a massive increase in recreational activity on the water, including jet skis, SUPs and boat traffic. We urge people to respect our wildlife, to give them space to breed, feed and rest, and watch quietly from a distance.”

In July, three jet-skiers were recorded by Cornwall Wildlife Trust Seaquest Southwest surveyors scaring dolphins and their calves away from their feeding ground near Newquay.

Ian Boreham, one of the volunteers who witnessed the distressing event, said: “Some friends and I had been watching a pod of twenty common dolphins in the bay when we saw a jet skier head directly towards the dolphins and stop on top of them. I have seen lots of good practice from those out on the water but have seen others who treat the bay like a race track, driving in a fast and unpredictable manner at speed. It’s really concerning that human disturbance is changing the behaviour of dolphins and other marine life in the area.”

University to support microplastics clean-up from local wetlands - University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is supporting a trial to clean-up plastic pellets from an internationally important nature reserve in Southampton.

Nurdle are the not for profit organisation responsible for trialling the revolutionary clean-up which is taking place on 18 and 19 August at Chessel Bay nature reserve, which has been drastically polluted with tiny plastic pellets, called ‘nurdles’.

(image: University of Southampton)
(image: University of Southampton)

Nurdles are used in injection moulding machines when creating most of our plastic products including single use plastic bottles, containers, shopping bags and supermarket packaging. When spilt into waterways, they become prolific pollutants.
The project, which is one of the first in Europe, has received funding from the Environment Agency, who have issued advice and guidance to manufacturers to prevent further pellet loss into the environment; stopping it at the source. Now, Natural England and Southampton City Council have given the go-ahead for a trial clean-up of the reserve.

Nurdle have designed a prototype machine to remove microplastics from the environment that was tested on 11 beaches around the South West last year. As a result of the work undertaken at Chessel Bay, they have partnered with the cleaning company Karcher and over the last four months have produced a second machine, designed specifically to improve the health of Chessel Bay. The machine works by way of vacuuming up the material, sieving and separating it from organics and removing the nurdles.

As part of the project, the University of Southampton will be studying the positive and negative impacts of the clean-up on invertebrates and plant life, and both the University and Nurdle will be measuring the return rates of the pellets at the site.

Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, said: “I applaud the ground breaking and innovative work being done by the Environment Agency and Nurdle to clean up this plastic pollution from a Site of Special Scientific Interest here in Southampton. These tiny plastic pellets threaten the health and wellbeing of the bird and marine life in Chessel Bay and elsewhere, and once spilled they are exceptionally difficult to clear up without causing further damage to the environment. While it is fantastic news that it looks as though this machine will be able to effectively clear up after these spills, we need to ensure that they’re not happening in the first place.”

As part of the project, the University of Southampton will be studying the positive and negative impacts of the clean-up on invertebrates and plant life, and both the University and Nurdle will be measuring the return rates of the pellets at the site.

CGG and Snowdonia National Park Authority Identify Significant Microplastic Pollution on Summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) - Snowdonia National Park Authority

CGG has successfully conducted a microplastics pollution survey as part of a scoping study into whether it would be possible to create a Plastic Free zone on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

Partneriaeth Yr Wyddfa (the Snowdon Partnership) led by the Snowdonia National Park Authority aims to increase public awareness of plastic pollution on the UK’s most visited mountain and consider the practicalities of introducing Plastic Free Areas in the National Park.

Variable amounts of microplastic pollution were identified in all the soil samples collected along the busy Llanberis Path to the summit of Snowdon in April 2021 and analyzed by CGG at its Geoscience Laboratories in North Wales for microplastic quantification and identification. A new, innovative sample preparation and analysis workflow was used for rapid, mass sample screening to identify high concentrations of microplastic significantly faster than with existing manual and optical identification methods. This workflow can be used to calculate the volume, size and shape of plastic particles within a sample.

The results were used to determine a Microplastic Pollution Index, that is designed to help organizations, local authorities or government agencies identify areas of plastic leakage and wastage where microplastics may be entering the food chain or natural environment. On Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the largest amounts of microplastic were observed where people congregate in large numbers. Microplastic particles constituted nearly 5% of the total sample collected at the summit. These were predominantly small, highly-abraded particles formed from the fragmentation of larger plastic material and fibers shed from clothing.

John Harold, Director of Snowdonia Society and Chair of Partneriaeth Yr Wyddfa said: “These results are a stark reminder of how persistent plastic is when it gets into the environment. A huge amount of litter is cleared by staff and volunteers, but by no means all gets picked up. This work shows what happens when plastic is let loose in the soils and freshwater of our precious protected areas; it breaks into countless particles and we lose control of it. Once again this really highlights the need for us all to be extra careful when visiting protected areas,”

Peter Whiting, EVP, Geoscience, CGG, said: “With the growing need for clear and transparent environmental information, CGG’s innovative microplastic analysis technique provides detailed microplastic pollution information for a range of stakeholders. Through continued investment in technology, CGG is developing advanced workflows to generate data that is key to addressing global environmental challenges such as plastic pollution. This technique complements our other plastic pollution monitoring initiatives, such as our ongoing European Space Agency project to monitor plastic pollution from space. It also strengthens CGG’s portfolio of advanced environmental monitoring solutions.”

This CGG environmental database dashboard display shows the results from the microplastic survey along the Llanberis Path to the summit of Snowdon, North Wales. Top left - Map chart displaying Microplastic Pollution Index ratings of sites related to percentage volume plastic content of samples. This highlights pollution ‘hotpots’ with high microplastic concentrations. Bottom - The bar chart displays the recorded values of plastic content within samples. Microplastic accounts for around 5% of the total volume in samples with the highest plastic content. Top right - Sample image displays a QEMSCAN® mineral map in which the size, shape and distribution of microplastic fragments from the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is highlighted in pink (image courtesy of CGG).QEMSCAN® is a registered trademark of FEI Company
This CGG environmental database dashboard display shows the results from the microplastic survey along the Llanberis Path to the summit of Snowdon, North Wales. Top left - Map chart displaying Microplastic Pollution Index ratings of sites related to percentage volume plastic content of samples. This highlights pollution ‘hotpots’ with high microplastic concentrations. Bottom - The bar chart displays the recorded values of plastic content within samples. Microplastic accounts for around 5% of the total volume in samples with the highest plastic content. Top right - Sample image displays a QEMSCAN® mineral map in which the size, shape and distribution of microplastic fragments from the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is highlighted in pink (image courtesy of CGG).QEMSCAN® is a registered trademark of FEI Company

The Royal Parks urges visitors to take litter home to protect the wildlife - The Royal Parks

Charity landed with £1.3 million annual price tag to collect and dispose of litter from the parks

A plastic bag tightly wrapped around a stag’s mouth, a hedgehog caught on film entangled in a party balloon and a cormorant with a plastic beer-pack ring round its neck are among the most distressing effects of littering on wildlife seen by The Royal Parks’ staff this year.

Throughout the different lockdowns and beyond, piles of plastic bags filled with left-over picnic waste, pizza boxes, glass bottles, dog poo bags and PPE have been proving hazardous to wildlife. Small animals and birds can climb inside plastic bags or get their heads stuck in bottles or cans and suffocate.Wildlife attracted to left-over scraps can accidently eat plastic waste, clogging up their intestines, causing them pain or even death by starvation. Deer become distressed if they get plastic bags tangled in their antlers and can cause a stampede which is dangerous to the public.

The Royal Parks charity, which manages London’s eight historic parks and other important green spaces in the capital, is highlighting the impact of discarded trash on wildlife as part of its ‘Help Nature Thrive’ campaign this summer. The campaign is asking visitors to ‘leave no trace’ and to take their rubbish home or put it in the bins if there is space.

It is illegal to leave litter in the Royal Parks and, under the park regulations, offenders could be fined.

In the last year 1,982 tonnes of waste were collected from across the Royal Parks - that’s the equivalent weight of 157 new London Routemaster buses.

It costs The Royal Parks charity at least £1.3million a year to collect and dispose of litter discarded across the 5,000 acres of parkland in order to protect wildlife and keep the parks beautiful. There are often considerable additional costs when the parks are busy with high volumes of discarded rubbish, and litter-pickers having to start work before dawn to make sure the parks are beautiful before they open.

Government Announcements

Government scales up support to protect the world’s ocean with multimillion boost for marine recovery - Defra

fan coral on a reef
coral reef in Belize (credit: Michael Swanson)

Blue Planet Fund delivers £16.2m for five programmes to tackle climate change, restore ocean health and reduce poverty in developing countries.

Projects to tackle climate change and protect the world’s ocean have been given a major boost with the first £16.2 million of funding from the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund announced today.

The programmes, financed from the UK’s overseas aid budget, will increase marine protection, tackle plastic pollution and the decline of global coral reefs, as well as using the UK’s world-leading expertise to help respond to marine pollution disasters such as the Xpress Pearl in Sri Lanka.

The ocean is a critical carbon sink which every year absorbs almost a third of global CO2 emissions. Around the globe, the ocean supports the livelihoods of one in every ten people, including some of the poorest and most vulnerable.

In the run up to the UK hosting the COP26 climate talks in November, the government is working with developing countries to take action to protect and restore our oceans.

The projects receiving funding include the launch of a new UK-led programme which will help developing countries partner with the UK’s world-leading scientists to better manage marine protected areas, and improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change and contaminants in the ocean.

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: "The UK is a global leader in marine protection and will continue to advocate for ambitious climate and ocean action at COP26 this year. Our shared ocean is a vital resource and provides habitat to precious marine life, as well as supporting the livelihoods of one in every ten people worldwide. The Blue Planet Fund will support many developing countries on the front line of climate change to reduce poverty and improve the health of their seas."

Read the Policy paper: Blue Planet Fund

The UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund supports developing countries to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty.

Have your say on NRW’s wild bird licences - Natural Resources Wales Consultation

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is inviting people to have their say on the future of licences for wild bird control.

All wild birds are protected by law. There are, however, specific circumstances where NRW permits the control of wild birds where non-lethal methods have failed. These include where there is a need to protect public health or safety, to prevent serious damage to crops, livestock or fisheries, or to conserve other species of wildlife.

The consultation forms part of NRW’s review process, looking at the different types of permissions it offers for controlling wild birds, and the processes used to deliver these activities.

NRW is encouraging everyone with an interest to share their views on the proposals as part of a 12-week online consultation.

Nadia De Longhi, NRW’s Head of Regulation and Permitting said: " We are committed to delivering a licensing system which is effective, practical and proportionate for users, while providing the necessary protection for birds. This 12-week online consultation is a key part of our review as we look to improve the way we work. It will help shape our future approach to the permissions we give for shooting and trapping wild birds in Wales and the destruction of their eggs and nests."

We want to hear your views on our proposals – and encourage people to have their say.

The on-line consultation is open until 11 November and is available to view at: Consultation on NRW’s approach to regulating the shooting and trapping of wild birds in Wales - Natural Resources Wales Citizen Space - Citizen Space (

Thousands of hectares of vital peatland to be restored to help tackle climate change and protect biodiversity - Defra and Natural England

Over £16 million to be awarded through the first round of Natural England’s Peat Restoration Grants.

Thousands of hectares of vital peatland will be restored under ambitious proposals launched today (Friday 27 August) to help tackle climate change and protect biodiversity.

Five new landmark projects to restore England’s peatlands to a natural and healthy state will benefit from millions of pounds through the Government’s Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme.

The Government intends to invest over £50 million in peat restoration, building on its pledge to restore approximately 35,000 hectares of peatland in England by the end of this Parliament.

As England’s largest carbon store on land, peatlands play a vital role in trapping carbon and also provide a wealth of wider benefits such as improved ecosystems and biodiversity, better water quality and natural flood management. However, only 13% of England’s peatlands are in a near-natural state. These new projects mark a big step towards achieving our goal to reverse the decline of England’s peatlands and will contribute to the ambitious Nature Recovery Network.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: "Our peatlands are remarkable habitats which provide homes for many precious species and hold enormous amounts of carbon. By restoring 35,000 ha of damaged and degraded peatlands in England, 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be prevented from being released by 2050 which would make a significant contribution to combatting the devastating impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. The projects being awarded funding today will bring about much-needed peatland restoration across the country. We have committed to triple our historic average annual peat restoration figures and these landscape-scale projects will provide a great contribution to achieving this and accessing the wealth of benefits healthy peatlands offer."

Land and Countryside Management

Pioneering North East project uses nature to reduce flood risk - Natural England

The £2.1m government-funded Weardale Natural Flood Management scheme is led by the Environment Agency and is using nature based solutions to reduce flood risk.

More than 20 natural features have been constructed to bolster flood protection in the North East as part of a pioneering natural flood management project.

The £2.1million government-funded Weardale Natural Flood Management scheme, which includes a series of nature based solutions such as storage areas, wooden leaky barriers and timber fences, could reduce flood risk across 41km2 to communities including Lanehead, Wearhead, Westgate and Stanhope.

It’s also seen 150 hectares of peatland restored, will aim to create up to 75 hectares of woodland and brings a habitat boost to wildlife.

The project is led by the Environment Agency working in partnership with Natural England, North Pennines AONB Partnership, the Forestry Commission and Durham County Council with representation from the Wear Catchment Partnership, alongside local farmers and landowners.

The first set of features were completed by two landowners this summer on the Middlehope and Killhope Burns, with the next phase due to start in September. In total, they have the potential to store up to 5,150m3 of water – the capacity of more than two Olympic sized swimming pools.

At Killhope Burn, 13 leaky dams have been built across the burn to restrict the flow of water and four timber fences constructed to slow the movement of water across the landscape

At Middlehope Burn four storage areas have been created which will hold back water during heavy rain. By October, four more storage areas will be created.

Further features will be built into the landscape next year as the project continues. The work explores reducing flood risk using natural flood management techniques to communities which have historically flooded due to water running from the surrounding hills.

NRW launches consultation on tackling environmental crime - Natural Resources Wales

Heap of illegally dumped rubbish
Illeagl waste (image: NRW)

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is reviewing its Enforcement and Sanctions Policy, which will make how it tackles environmental crime in all its forms easier to understand and more accessible to the public.

The updated policy clarifies how NRW engages with individuals and businesses to educate and encourage compliance through good working practices which put the environment first. Where an offence may have occurred, there are a range of formal enforcement powers and sanctions available to rectify any environmental damage, deter further illegal activity or punish any offences committed.

NRW is running a public consultation on the Enforcement and Sanctions Policy. This will allow the people of Wales to have their say on NRW’s approach to enforcing against environmental crime.

NRW’s Enforcement and Sanctions Policy public consultation opens on 16 August and runs until 27 September.

To find out more and have your say please visit Enforcement and Prosecution Policy - Natural Resources Wales Citizen Space - Citizen Space (

Two decades on, Fix the Fells work is needed more than ever, says National Trust - Fix the Fells and the National Trust

Nearly £10 million spent on repairing damage to hundreds of paths and erosion to mountain areas

Unsightly scars recovered and scenery and wildlife protected

Higher visitor numbers and extreme weather speeding up erosion in the much-loved Lake District landscape

Work by Fix the Fells – a partnership programme between the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Natural England, Lake District Foundation and Friends of the Lake District needed now more than ever

£500,000 now needed each year to repair damage caused by erosion

left: man standing in heavily erroded 'ditch'  ground level over his head. right side, mended smooth path
Bleng Wasdale: Before in 2016 and in 2017 after repairs. (Credit: Fix the Fells)

Today, Wednesday 18 August, marks the 20th anniversary of Fix the Fells, the organisation set up to protect the landscape and wildlife in the Lake District mountains.

Twenty years ago, unsightly scars caused by countryside users and rainfall plagued the Lake District landscape, in some instances creating gullies measuring 30 metres wide and four metres deep.

Recognising that something had to be done, several Lake District organisations got together to seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The bid was successful and led to the formation of Fix the Fells in 2001.

Since then, nearly £10 million has been spent on repairing hundreds of paths and erosion scars all across the Lakes to protect the much-loved scenery and precious wildlife.

Over the last 18 months, as a result of the pandemic and more people holidaying at home and visiting and enjoying the Lake District, erosion levels have increased, with the work done by Fix the Fells needed now more than ever.

With £500,000 spent in a typical year on repairs, and with every metre of path costing £150 to create, Fix the Fells needs donations to help repair paths damaged in the last 18 months, as well as fundraising for on-going maintenance and repairs.

Fix the Fells Programme Manager Joanne Backshall says: “It’s hard to imagine how some of the fells would look today if we hadn’t been able to start protecting this very special area of Britain. Some of the biggest challenges we’ve tackled over the past 20 years include the popular paths in the Langdale and Wasdale valleys, as well as the many mountains around Coniston, Grasmere and Keswick, which are all showing signs of increased use and resulting wear and tear since the pandemic began. Even over the last two decades we’ve started to see the impact of climate change. Heavy rain can damage the landscape by washing away large quantities of bare soil and stone and depositing it in rivers and lakes below. Combined with the human impact of thousands of feet tackling the hundreds of miles of paths across the Lake District, we need support more than ever to keep on top of the amount of repairs required on the upland paths.”

Support to protect Scotland’s coastlines - Scottish Government

New maps forecast impacts of climate change.

An estimated £1.2 billion of Scotland’s buildings, transport infrastructure, cultural and natural heritage may be at risk of coastal erosion by 2050, according to new research.

As part of the Scottish Government’s Dynamic Coast project, funded by the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW), the University of Glasgow has developed new maps to serve as a coastal change adaptation planning tool for government, agencies, local authorities as well as communities and businesses.

With evidence from the maps, the government is encouraging local authorities to prepare coastal adaptation plans, supported by an additional £12 million of investment. In recognition of the heightened landscape of climate-related risk in Scotland, Dynamic Coast will form part of a wider national programme to build resilience.

The Scottish Government has also already announced plans to host a National Climate Resilience Summit in the Autumn, to raise awareness and build momentum across the public and private sectors in advance of COP26.

Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson visited the sand dunes in Montrose, which help protect the town from coastal flooding and erosion. Mr Matheson said: “I welcome the publication of Dynamic Coast 2 which shows us that at least £20 billion of assets, road, rail and residential property, lie within 50 metres of our coast. With nature protecting some £14.5 billion of these assets, maintaining our natural coastal defences must be a key part of our resilience and adaptation strategies. We are already locked into future sea level rise and therefore we must plan for the worst case scenario on the coast. Modelling suggests however that we will see erosion influencing the majority of shores this decade. The Dynamic Coast maps will be a valuable tool in our fight against climate change, and we are now preparing guidance to help local authorities produce new adaptation plans. Here in Montrose, up to 80 metres of beach has eroded since the 1980s and a further 120 metres could erode over the next 40 years, breaching the main dune ridge. Angus Council is working with local stakeholders, including Montrose Port Authority and Montrose Golf links to identify the most sustainable solution for the town. COP26 in Glasgow represents the world’s best chance – perhaps one of our last chances – to avert the worst impacts of climate change. However, even in the best case scenario for global emissions reductions it is clear that we must also be preparing for the impacts that are already locked in. By doing this we can deliver on the principles of the Paris Agreement with lasting action to secure a net zero and climate resilient future in a way that is fair and just for everyone.”

BGCI Launches the State of the World's Trees Report - Botanic Gardens Conservation International

A third (30%) of the world’s trees are at risk of extinction.

  • Well-known trees such as magnolias and dipterocarps among most threatened, with oaks, maple (Acer) and ebonies also at risk.
  • Agriculture, logging, and livestock farming are the top threats but climate change and extreme weather are emerging dangers.
  • Islands including St Helena (69% of trees threatened), Madagascar (59%) and Mauritius (57%) have highest proportion of threatened trees.
  • Report offers five recommendations to bring species back from the brink and provides hope for future if conservation efforts continue.

(London, UK) - Today, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has published a landmark State of the World’s Trees report. The report, compiling work led by the Global Tree Assessment (GTA), is the culmination of five years of research to identify major gaps in tree conservation efforts. It is one of the first assessments of the world’s threatened trees.

Examining the globe’s 60,000 tree species, it reveals that 30% (17,500) of tree species are currently at risk of extinction. That means there are twice the number of threatened tree species globally than threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.

Over 440 tree species are right on the brink of extinction, the report reveals, meaning they have fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild. These species are found all over the world, from the Mulanje cedar in Malawi, with only a few remaining individuals on Mulanje Mountain, to the Menai whitebeam found only in North Wales, which has only 30 trees remaining.

The report finds hope for the future, however, as conservation efforts led by the botanical community worldwide are growing. Identifying which trees are at risk and ensuring these are protected is the most effective way to prevent extinction and restore endangered species. The report reveals that at least 64% of all tree species can be found in at least one protected area, and about 30% can be found in botanic gardens, seed banks, or other ex situ collections, but further action is needed.

Read the report here

UK failing to protect land for nature - RSPB

  • New paper indicates as little as 5% of UK land is protected effectively for nature.
  • These results are in stark contrast to the 28% claimed by the UK Government as part of their “30 by 30” campaign commitment to global biodiversity targets.
  • To achieve the target of 30% of land managed for nature by 2030, the UK and devolved Governments must turn around the failing state of our protected areas for nature.

The UK Government’s figure of how much land is currently protected effectively for biodiversity has been over-estimated, according to conservation scientists.

In a new paper published today in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation, scientists from the RSPB examined the area of land designated as protected in the UK and whether it is being managed effectively for nature conservation. The authors discovered that as little as 5% is actually being protected effectively for nature – significantly less than the UK Government’s reported figure of 28%.

Protected areas for nature are valuable refuges for many of our most vulnerable habitats and species and this paper comes at a crucial time for nature. In 2010, under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Governments from around the world agreed and committed to meet twenty global targets to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020 (known as the ‘Aichi Targets’). A global stocktake in 2020 showed that they had collectively failed to meet these global ambitions and the RSPB’s A Lost Decade for Nature report, published exactly one year ago, warned that the UK hadn’t taken sufficient action and had missed seventeen of these twenty targets.

One of the key global Aichi Targets celebrated by the UK Government as ‘achieved’, called for at least 17% of land important for biodiversity and ecosystem services to be effectively conserved, managed, ecologically representative, and well connected by 2020. Under the UK Government’s assessment for this target (in 2019), 28% of UK land was reportedly within protected areas for nature, apparently exceeding the 17% target.

However, the authors of the new paper The extent and effectiveness of Protected Areas in the UK, analysed all the UK’s land based protected areas and found that of the 28% of land reported to be protected for nature, only 11% is designated primarily for nature conservation and should therefore be included as part of the national contribution.

National Trust ‘shores up’ to protect vital saltmarsh habitat - National Trust

Northey Island from the air. Credit - Terry Joyce
Northey Island from the air. Credit - Terry Joyce

A significant conservation project to help retain vital saltmarsh habitat in the Blackwater Estuary over the next century is underway at Northey Island in Essex.

Saltmarsh, due to its ability to store carbon, is one of the key habitat types that needs protecting to help tackle the climate crisis. Often referred to as blue carbon, saltmarsh and seagrass represent the largest sedimentary carbon store of the coastal and marine habitats.

This coastal habitat is also very unique, less than half a per cent (0.5 per cent) of the landmass in the UK, and is currently at risk due to rising sea levels due to the climate crisis.

Northey Island, cared for by the National Trust, is the single largest block of saltmarsh in the Blackwater Estuary and this latest phase of work will protect and strengthen the saltmarsh and wider habitats by applying a range of innovative management approaches over the next few years.

The current stage of the project includes improving and extending the existing central bank made of clay using material obtained from the creation of a freshwater pond and drainage system on the Island.

This improved bank will protect the north of the Island from flooding and allow for the managed creation of new saltmarsh to the southeast, over the next few years.

The new freshwater pond and drainage system will also provide an important water source for birds to drink and wash the salt from their feathers.

The project continues vital work started by the National Trust 30 years ago when Northey Island was the first site ever in England to carry out managed realignment[4] to its shoreline in efforts to recreate saltmarsh habitat.

In 1991 and 2018/19 work undertaken by the conservation charity resulted in two areas of healthy saltmarsh, approx. 1.7 hectares, which are now thriving with an amazing variety of wildlife.

Daniel Leggett, Coastal Projects Manager at the National Trust says: “Without management the whole 90 hectares of saltmarsh at Northey will be lost in the next 70-100 years. The saltmarsh on the island, which comprises 80 per cent of the current land mass, is shrinking due to wave erosion and stronger tidal flows, which are the result of sea level rise - one of the impacts of climate change. With higher tides, the saltmarsh and creek margins are eroding and sea water is overtopping the banks and flowing over the top of the saltmarsh more frequently. The changes are impacting wildlife. Some of the plant species found in the lower saltmarsh, such as sea aster, are dying out as the area is frequently under water, but are also creeping further up the shoreline encroaching on the areas where ‘higher’ saltmarsh plants, such as shrubby sea blite and golden samphire grow. With sea levels rising the plants are running out of space and being squeezed out of existence between the rising tides and fixed man-made defences. Although we will inevitably lose some areas of saltmarsh due to sea level rise, this work should help us protect at least 50 to 60 hectares, create 10 hectares of new saltmarsh and raise a further five hectares to a sustainable height above the tides.”

Environmental Education

British Ecological Society awarded Green Recovery grant to connect school children with nature - British Ecological Society

The British Ecological Society’s project to improve nature connection in schools in County Durham and North East England has been awarded £248,700 of government money from the UK Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The ‘Connecting schools to nature in North East England‘ project will see the BES, in partnership with citizen science organisation MammalWeb Ltd. and engagement charity SMASH-UK, work with primary school pupils, teachers, and early career ecologists to deliver a green transformation to 50 schools in disadvantaged areas of the North East of England and create the ‘Environmental Educators of tomorrow’.

Six fixed-term jobs and placements in the North East will be created to coordinate the project and training will be delivered to an estimated 350 teachers at the partner schools. On top of this, 50 early career ecologists will be upskilled as ‘Environmental Educators in Residence’, collaborating with teachers to develop practical workshops and deliver biodiversity enhancements to school grounds.

The programme will benefit wildlife through the creation of wildflower areas, hedgehog-highways, bird-feeding stations, nest-boxes and insect ‘hotels’. Pupils will then become citizen scientists, monitoring the wildlife around their schools. Through these activities, the programme will increase young peoples’ connection to nature, with an estimated 10,000 pupils getting involved.

Dr Chris Jeffs, Engagement & Outreach Manager at the British Ecological Society, who will be leading the project said: “A love of and connection with the natural world often starts with an inspiring experience. We want to bring these inspirational moments directly to the school and home environment, opening the wellbeing benefits nature brings to those currently least able to access them. In this project we will provide opportunities for school pupils to really experience nature – and, importantly, to see how small wildlife-friendly interventions can lead to positive changes.”

New handbook for schools and children to act on climate change - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts unveil new educational guides for children to learn about how nature can help tackle the climate crisis.

© Helena Dolby / Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust
© Helena Dolby / Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust

Today, a new educational pack, Nature’s Climate Heroes, is launched to help primary school children understand the connections between the natural world, a changing climate, and people.

Solutions to address climate change and wildlife loss should be fundamental to children’s education in the 21st century, say The Wildlife Trusts.

The new handbook is designed to help teachers of children aged 7–11 and has been funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The project aims to address how climate change is taught in primary education by:

  • Changing the focus of climate change from a scary and overwhelming subject to something that can be tackled through collective action.
  • Providing teachers with a structured and comprehensive guide to deliver lessons about how human activities are connected to the changing climate, and why the restoration of nature is fundamental to our future.
  • Empowering children to take small but collectively significant actions in their communities.

Fiona Groves, Education and Learning Manager at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “The interlinked climate and ecological crises present the biggest challenges ever faced by humanity. This can be extremely daunting, especially for children with their whole lives ahead of them. In this crucial decade for determining the future climate, we want children and young people to understand how nature can help us while empowering them to take action in their communities. It’s so important teachers have access to engaging resources that give them confidence to teach these issues and that children, as well as adults, feel able to make a difference.”

Recreation and Health

Continued inequalities in use of greenspace - Public Health Scotland

A new report by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow has shown there were sharp inequalities in visiting green and open space in spring 2021, preventing some people from experiencing the mental health benefits associated with use of outdoor space.

The study found that over two thirds of adults (67%) had visited a green or open space during the previous four weeks. However, only 59% of those classified as low socio-economic status visited compared to 73% from a high socio-economic status.

The report was published on behalf of the Public Health Scotland Social & Systems Recovery (S&SR) Environment & Spaces Group, which brings together Scottish Government, local authorities, the NHS, the third sector and other professionals involved in environment and planning policy implementation. It covers the continued influence that COVID-19 has on use of green and open space, including variation by age, sex, socio-economic status and ethnicity. Recommendations for actions to support future decision making, with a focus on priorities for pandemic recovery are included in the report.

Ali Macdonald, Organisational Lead for Healthy, Active Environments at Public Health Scotland said: “Almost nine out of ten of the people who participated in the research told us that being in green and open spaces benefitted their mental health. It is vital that we consider how we provide neighbourhood greenspace, as alternative approaches may have different impacts on health and wellbeing and inequality. These approaches might include: new parks and parklets, re-purposing of derelict and under-used land, green travel corridors and greening streets initiatives. “The report has valuable and useful information for those involved in local decision making about how greenspace can be incorporated into developments to improve local environments and community wellbeing.”

Read the COVID-19 green and open space use in spring 2021 (Wave 3) report (PDF)

Jobs and Volunteering

Canals for all ages: waterways charity launches youth fellowship programme - Canal and River Trust

National waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust is encouraging young people to join a new programme where they will help shape the charity’s future direction and broaden the waterways’ appeal to all ages.

The Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways across England & Wales, has traditionally had an older supporter base. The new Youth Fellowship Programme will help gain the fresh perspectives that younger people can bring and, by broadening the appeal of the waterways, will create a pathway for a new generation of waterway supporters and enthusiasts.

The voluntary 12-month programme will support more young people, aged 18 to 25, to join the Trust’s regional and national advisory boards to have a say in the charity’s decision-making processes.

Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, comments: “Representation and equity are at the heart of the new Youth Fellowship Programme. Close to nine million of us live within 1km of a canal or river and there’s a real opportunity to engage more young people who currently aren’t benefiting from spending time in these amazing green and blue spaces. Fellows will take the lead in looking at how we can make the waterways relevant and attractive to a new generation, embracing diversity and anchoring the canals’ importance in the communities they run through. In turn, we will support them to become true role models for other young people in their communities, as well as the wider charity and environmental sector.”

Recruitment for the Youth Fellowship Programme is taking place between 16 August and 6 September with Fellows starting from mid-September.

Animal and Wildlife News

‘CSI of the Sea’ secures ten-year commitment from UK government - Zoological Society of London

ZSL-led Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) secures landmark funding agreement to continue vital research for next decade

body of a killer whale lying on a sandy beach
Killer whale on beach (Credit CSIP-ZSL)

Scientists responsible for investigating the causes of whale and dolphin strandings around the English and Welsh coastline have secured vital funding for the next decade, for the first time in the project’s 30-year history.

The CSIP (Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme) coordinates the investigation of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), marine turtles and large-bodied sharks that strand around the coast, helping to provide an insight into the threats these species face and the overall health of the seas around the UK.

Responsible for one of the world’s largest datasets on strandings and causes of mortality, the CSIP has now been given support from 2021 to 2031 from Defra and the Welsh Government – its longest term contract to date. Previous contracts had been granted for no more than three years at a time, and this new decade-long commitment gives CSIP’s scientists the opportunity to commit to longer-term research projects as well as expanding their remit, with an additional pilot study to investigate the causes of seal mortality in the region.

Cetaceans regularly strand around the UK coast, and the reasons behind this are varied and complex – and would remain largely unknown were it not for the work of CSIP which has recorded data on more than 17,000 cetacean strandings in the UK over the 30 year period since its inception in 1990, carried out over 4,500 post-mortem examinations and maintains an internationally important tissue archive from a wide range of vulnerable marine species.

During the last 30 years, the CSIP led the first ever study to provide evidence of by-catch being the cause of a mass mortality of common dolphins, helped discover that whales can suffer from ‘the bends’ and provided the first evidence of violent and fatal interactions between bottlenose dolphins and other cetacean species. Through its long-term collaboration with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science it has also produced the world’s largest dataset on chemical pollutants in cetaceans. Earlier this year it revealed another impact of the lingering chemical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which although now-banned are still affecting the fertility of male harbour porpoises – threatening the future breeding success of the species.

CSIP project manager Rob Deaville from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology said: “Given the challenges facing many publicly-funded projects right now, we’re absolutely delighted that Defra and Welsh Government have recognised the ongoing importance of our work and committed to a decade more of this vital research. Through our research we are able to shed light on the lives as well as the deaths of these iconic marine species, which can be difficult to study in the wild through other means. We want to learn more about the pressures these fascinating species face and how human activities impact on them, with the ultimate goal of trying to improve their long-term conservation status in and around the UK”.

Survey reveals consumers want UK supermarkets to tackle dolphin deaths - Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Shoppers care about dolphins being killed in fishing gear and expect supermarkets to sort it out.

According to the results of a OnePoll survey we have commissioned in coalition with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), the vast majority of consumers want UK supermarkets to take action on the harm some of the fish and shellfish products they sell cause to dolphins, seabirds and turtles. The big supermarket chains should also be doing more to put pressure on fishers to prevent the bycatch of dolphins and other sensitive species.

Of the 2000 surveyed, a massive 85% of shoppers are concerned about dolphins, seabirds or turtles dying in fishing gear and 87% think supermarkets should not sell fish and shellfish that is caught in ways that harm these creatures.

Bycatch (incidental capture in nets) is the biggest direct killer of dolphins and seabirds around the globe and a huge issue in UK waters, yet many consumers were unaware of the cruelty involved and that hundreds of thousands are bycaught globally every year, including thousands in the UK.

88% of those surveyed agreed that ocean wildlife like dolphins, seabirds and turtles should be protected from harm in fishing gear. Two thirds of shoppers would seek to avoid supermarket products that harmed dolphins, seabirds and turtles (less than 1 in 5 people responding would actually keep buying these products), and 70% thought supermarkets should be putting pressure on fishers to use less damaging methods of catching fish.

Sarah Dolman, WDC bycatch programme lead says: ‘Consumers have sent a clear message to UK supermarkets that they will not accept dolphin, seabird and turtle bycatch, and that supermarkets need to take action now to stop bycatch in the fisheries that put fish and shellfish on supermarket shelves.’

Blake Lee-Harwood, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership director, says: ‘Consumers clearly expect supermarkets to make sure that the seafood they sell does not cause harm to dolphins, seabirds, turtles and other marine wildlife. Supermarkets need to identify the problems in their supply chains, work with their suppliers and make sure that there are real changes on fishing boats to prevent further harm. Asda in the UK has already taken steps to evaluate the risks and take action to tackle the problem of bycatch and we hope that other businesses will do the same.’

Record number of wildlife observations in the Baltic Triangle - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

Bees, daisies, herring gulls and much rarer species have been recorded as part of a project to assess populations of urban wildlife in Merseyside.

Visitors and volunteers shared more than 800 observations using the iNaturalist app as part of the Baltic Triangle Project, which began this year.

Before the wildlife recording project, relatively little was known about urban wildlife in the area. Now, thanks to the efforts of local wildlife lovers, community groups and visitors to the area, more than 270 different species have been recorded in the Baltic Triangle, covering 13 different groups of plant, animal and fungi.

Species common to the area, like buddleja, daisy and herring gull, have been found in large numbers. However, several species uploaded to the iNaturalist app for identification are new to the wildlife list of the Baltic Triangle and surrounding area. These include the tree bumblebee, as well as species new to the county such as the mildew, erysiphe rayssiae, and lichen, pleurosticta acetabulum.

The project wants to encourage everyone to share their wildlife sightings using the free app, iNaturalist. This nature identification website allows anyone to upload pictures of animals and plants to be identified by other website users. The more people using iNaturalist; the more species could be discovered in Liverpool.

Ben Deed is the BioBank Officer for Merseyside BioBank: “Reporting sightings of wildlife or recording wildlife are two of the most rewarding, and at the same time useful contributions anyone can make to help protect nature now and into the future. The very act of exploring the natural environment, looking for wildlife, means that you are outdoors and experiencing the kinds of things that people would normally just walk past. By stopping to look, you learn to tell those things apart in a way that genuinely opens your eyes to the incredible range of wildlife that still finds a home in even the most urban centres of our cities. Projects like Urban GreenUP in Liverpool offer really special opportunities for people who take the time to stop and look for nature. As green interventions are put in place throughout the city, oases are being created for wildlife and no-one really knows how these places will be used or what species of plant and animal might colonise them. The route through the Baltic Triangle in particular provides a corridor through which wildlife like pollinators, bats and birds might travel, bringing in the kinds of things you might only see in the outer city parks. There is no doubt that there is still so much to discover in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and much, much more in the coming years.”


‘Olympian’ bat smashes British record for long distance migration - Bat Conservation Trust

A tiny bat has been nicknamed the ‘Olympic bat’ by scientists after she beat all known British records and flew 2,018 km across Europe - one of the greatest ever known flights by a bat.

Resident Svetlana Lapina discovered the female Nathusius' pipistrelle bat in her small Russian village of Molgino in the Pskov region. She noticed its arm was ringed, with London Zoo written on it. Remarkably, the little bat had been ringed back in 2016 at Bedfont Lakes Country Park near Heathrow in London by bat recorder Brian Briggs. It was about the size of a human thumb and weighed just 8g.

Brian said: “This is very exciting. It’s great to be able to contribute to the international conservation work to protect these extraordinary animals and learn more about their fascinating lives."

This is one of the longest known bat travels globally, the furthest known record from Britain across Europe and the only long distance movement recorded like this from west to east. The majority of records have been males that have flown south-west from Latvia.

Sadly, this little one fell prey to a cat. She was found injured on the ground and rescued by a Russian bat rehabilitation group, but later died. The discovery was reported to the Bat Conservation Trust, which runs the National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project.

Lisa Worledge, Head of Conservation Services at BCT, said: “This is a remarkable journey and the longest one we know of any bat from Britain across Europe. What an Olympian! “Her journey is an exciting scientific finding and another piece in the puzzle of bat migration. The movements of Nathusius’ pipistrelles around the UK and between the UK and the continent remain largely mysterious. Projects pioneered by citizen scientists have helped to shed light on the migration pattern of these winged wonders. Thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and researchers, we are beginning to understand the needs of this species and how to conserve them.”

Conservation success as beaver numbers double in Scotland - NatureScot

The number of beavers has more than doubled in Scotland in the last three years to around 1000 animals, according to a NatureScot survey published today (10 August).

The new population survey has not only found that beaver numbers have increased, but that the population is in a rapid expansion phase as beavers spread out from Tayside, with territory numbers also more than doubling to 251. That population now ranges from Glen Isla to Dundee and Stirling, Forfar to Crianlarich, and is likely to expand into Loch Lomond in the future.

The survey, carried out last winter, is the largest, most comprehensive and authoritative survey of beaver numbers and their range ever conducted in Britain. It gathered detailed and up-to-date information on the locations of active beaver territories, as well as assessing the health and spread of the overall population, to help inform future beaver work.

beaver dam
Beaver dam (credit: Roisin Campbell-Palmer)

NatureScot worked with Scotland’s foremost beaver specialist, Roisin Campbell-Palmer, and experts at the University of Exeter to conduct the survey. This is the first survey conducted since beavers gained protected status as European Protected Species in Scotland in 2019 and investigated areas where beaver sightings had been reported but not confirmed.

In the last survey in 2017, approximately 1,300 km of river and loch shore were surveyed. The new survey covered an even larger area, as beavers have been sighted as far afield as Loch Lomond to the west and Fife to the south east. For the 2020-2021 survey, experienced beaver surveyors searched for signs of beavers on foot and by canoe across the area, finding 13,204 confirmed signs such as burrows, dams, lodges, scent mounds, canal digging, and tree and crop feeding.

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, the report lead author, said: "Beavers are recognised as ecosystem engineers with important biodiversity benefits, though some impacts can be challenging alongside certain land-use practices. This survey will hopefully provide valuable information to land managers and policy makers seeking to maximise the benefits and minimise the conflicts associated with the return of beavers to our rivers.”

The 2020 Beaver Management Report was also published today. It outlines the range of practical mitigation measures undertaken by NatureScot and land managers last year to reduce the negative impacts of beaver activity, such as burrowing and dam building on agricultural land. It reveals that 68 active mitigation projects (such as tree protection and installing flow devices in beaver dams) were progressed. To prevent serious damage to agriculture, under species control licences reported to NatureScot, 31 beavers were trapped and moved to licensed, enclosed reintroduction projects in England, 56 beaver dams were removed, and 115 beavers lethally controlled.

To read the full 2020-21 survey, click here and to read the Beaver Management Report click here.

Response from Trees for Life to beaver reports published today by NatureScot -

The latest survey of Scotland wild beavers was published by the Scottish Government’s nature agency NatureScot today, together with the agency’s long-awaited 2020 beaver killing figures.

In response, Trees for Life’s Conservation Manager Alan McDonnell said: “Any increase in Scotland’s overall numbers of beavers is a relief, but it is chilling to see this described as a 'conservation success' by NatureScot when beaver numbers have increased despite the continuing failure to make the killing of this protected species a genuine last resort when management is needed. The sad truth is NatureScot did not know the latest beaver population figures when it began issuing lethal control licenses, with no limits on the number of beavers that could be shot. We believe the agency’s approach bends the law well beyond its limits. This led to the needless deaths of a fifth of Scotland’s known beaver population in 2019 alone. Shockingly, we now know a further 115 beavers were shot in 2020. NatureScot has sat on this grim tally since December, refusing to confirm it until today’s bid to hide the figures behind a welcome turn of events for the overall beaver population. This is such a waste of life and opportunity when nature is in crisis. If the Scottish Government allowed beavers which have unwanted impacts on farmland to be relocated to suitable areas around Scotland instead of being shot, the Government could, and should, be achieving a win-win for nature and farmers. There has got to be a better way. We face a nature emergency, and as UN’s report just yesterday stated, climate breakdown is widespread, rapid and intensifying. By allowing beavers to be relocated to suitable areas around Scotland instead of being shot when they have unwanted impacts on farmland, the Scottish Government could support a genuine nature-based solution.”

Landmark consultation launched on the reintroduction of beavers in England - Defra

Consultation launched to seek views on the cautious release and management of beavers into the wild

Plans to release beavers into the wild in England have been set out in a consultation launching today (Wednesday 25 August) – marking a cautious step towards further reintroductions and establishing native beaver populations.

Image credit: Matthew Maran. Beavers to be given legal protection as a native species as part of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan
Image credit: Matthew Maran. Beavers to be given legal protection as a native species as part of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan

Beavers can play a hugely significant role in helping to restore nature to England. Widely referred to as ‘ecosystem engineers’, they create dams from trees, mud and rocks, which raise water levels, creating pools and wetland habitats which support the recovery of a wide range of native species.

Under the Government’s proposals, applications for licences to release beavers into the wild would need to meet certain criteria, including demonstrating positive stakeholder engagement and local buy in, and proof that a comprehensive assessment has been undertaken of the impacts on surrounding land, the water environment, infrastructures, habitats, and protected species. Projects must also ensure that support for landowners and river users is put in place.

The consultation follows a successful reintroduction in Devon – the River Otter beavers reintroduction trial – which over five-years brought a wealth of benefits to the local area and ecology, including enhancing the environment at a local wildlife site, creating wetland habitat, and reducing flood risk for housing downstream.

The 12-week consultation is seeking views on:

  • Potential future releases into the wild
  • Current and future releases into enclosures
  • Mitigation and management of beaver activity or impacts in the wild, including the River Otter population and all other existing wild living beaver populations

Plans to give beavers legal protection in England are also being announced today, to support their recovery. This will make it an offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb or injure beavers, or damage breeding sites or resting places.

The Wildlife Trusts welcome golden opportunity for beavers to be wild - The Wildlife Trusts

New beaver consultation could herald better wetlands for wildlife and climate

The Wildlife Trusts welcome the launch of a consultation by the Government today, which asks the public if they want to see beavers released into the wild in England.

To date, the only officially sanctioned beavers living wild in the UK are in Scotland and along the River Otter in Devon, where Devon Wildlife Trust has worked with the local community to ensure they can thrive.

The Wildlife Trusts believe beavers should be allowed to return to the wild across the UK and expand their range naturally. The movement of 46 charities has been calling for ambitious strategies in England and the devolved nations to enable this to happen.

Rob Stoneman, director of landscape recovery at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “The Wildlife Trusts are paving the way for the return of wild beavers by mapping out the best river catchments for reintroducing them. It’s vital to plan this using science from successful initiatives in the UK and across western Europe. There’s an impressive body of evidence to show how beavers can help to improve the quality of rivers and wetlands and the wildlife they support, improve water quality, and reduce flood risk, as well as contributing to carbon storage. Beavers are fabulous – they can do all of this free of charge. Beavers are wild animals – and as their populations expand their activities will need managing. The Wildlife Trusts have played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in the return of beavers in a responsible manner. We and our partners, such as University of Exeter, hold significant knowledge and skills that can be used to aid beaver reintroduction and management. For example, our leading role in the 5-year trials on the River Otter in Devon and in Knapdale in Argyll and Bute, along with lessons learned from abroad, has given us a huge amount of experience as to how to manage these animals effectively.”

Read the NFU response to the beaver reintroduction consultation launch - NFU

NFU environment forum chairman Richard Bramley has responded to the launch of a consultation into beaver reintroduction, which includes giving beavers legal protection.

The Defra plans to release beavers into the wild in England marks a step towards establishing native beaver populations.

Under the government’s proposals, applications for licences to release beavers into the wild would need to meet certain criteria, including demonstrating positive stakeholder engagement and local buy in, and proof that a comprehensive assessment has been undertaken of the impacts on surrounding land, the water environment, infrastructures, habitats, and protected species.

Projects must also ensure that support for landowners and river users is put in place.

Responding to the launch of a consultation, NFU environment forum chairman Richard Bramley said: “British farmers and growers are experts at making the most of their natural environment to produce climate-friendly food. It is positive that any reintroduction will be strictly licensed by Natural England and it is important any approved licensing includes a long-term management plan, developed with local farmers and backed with adequate funding. Any impact on a farmer’s ability to produce food needs to be included as part of a full impact assessment carried out before any licence is issued. We must remember that beaver reintroductions can have negative impacts - potentially undermining riverbanks, damaging trees, impeding farmland drainage and causing low-lying fields to flood. Where there is a financial impact on a farm business, adequate compensation must be made and an exit strategy must be in place should major issues occur. We are committed to working with Natural England and interested parties to deliver the best outcomes.”

Mice to see you again - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Joel Ireland, Catch My Drift project trainee set to release a water vole at East Chevington. Image by: Sophie Webster.
Joel Ireland, Catch My Drift project trainee set to release a water vole at East Chevington. Image by: Sophie Webster.

The release, undertaken as part of the wildlife charity’s Catch My Drift project, has been made possible thanks to a large private donation and further reinforces what is one of the few harvest mouse colonies north of the River Tyne.

The 185-hectare reserve, which is a haven for birds and other mammals, will hopefully prove a successful breeding ground for the cute animals, which weigh the same as a 10p coin.

The East Chevington site with its extensive reed beds provides a suitable habitat for the mice, which build distinctive circular grass nests on tall plants 3ft from the ground.

Joel Ireland, Catch My Drift project trainee said: “It’s great that we have been able to release another 100 harvest mice onto the East Chevington reserve, so fingers crossed the project will be able to create a stronghold in Northumberland for this wonderful mammal once again.”

Derbyshire gets first ever pine marten trainee - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has just announced they have recruited a member of staff dedicated to pine martens thanks to funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

pine marten standing on a fallen tree trunk
Pine Marten (image © Mark Hambkim)

Pine martens are about the size of a cat and have chestnut brown fur with a creamy yellow bib over the throat and chest. They are related to weasels, ferrets, polecats and otters.

This rare animal was once the second most common carnivore in Britain, but loss of habitat, the fur industry and culling has driven the species close to extinction in England. The last confirmed sighting of a pine marten was in 2018 when one was found by the side of the road between Belper and Ripley. Prior to that, the last sighting, according to the Derbyshire Mammals Directory, was in 2002.

This new role seeks will see the Trust carry out feasibility studies to see if it is possible to reintroduce pine martens here. The studies will include looking at the numbers that could be sustained, the best locations and mapping out which woodlands need to be more connected in order to help pine martens thrive. The Trust hopes to reintroduce pine martens if the feasibility studies are successful.

Hollie Fisher at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said, “We would love to see pine martens return to Derbyshire. Pine martens need woodlands that are well connected and full of a mixture of species and food sources such as small rodents, birds, eggs, insects and fruit in order to thrive. We’re working hard to ensure there are more, connected, wild places across Derbyshire for these special mammals, especially within the Dark Peak and lower Derwent Valley.”

Read more about pine martens in this article Volunteers help with the return of the pine marten to Wales from The Vincent Wildlife Trust, our featured charity in 2018.

Artificial Intelligence discovers rare bat - British Trust for Ornithology

A passive bat detector, left outside to automatically trigger and record bat calls as they fly over, set up in a garden in West Sussex as part of the Chichester Bat Recording Project, has recorded the social calls of the extremely rare Kuhl’s pipistrelle.

Normally found around the Mediterranean, Kuhl’s Pipistrelle is believed to be a rare visitor to Britain with only a handful of records to date. Kuhl’s pipistrelle can easily be overlooked because it produces echolocation calls that are very similar to Nathusius’ pipistrelle, which is commoner in the UK, but its social calls are different and diagnostic.

Over three nights this summer, a bat detector used in a garden as part of the citizen science project logged 55 audio recordings that contained the social calls of Kuhl’s pipistrelle. It is likely that these would have been missed if it wasn’t for the BTO’s Acoustic Pipeline, which identified these automatically as Kuhl’s pipistrelle, and so flagged that something special had been recorded at this location.

Ken and Linda Smith, co-ordinators of the bat recording project for Chichester Natural History Society, said, “We started using the bat detector four years ago, leaving it overnight in the gardens of Society members and their friends and have been amazed by the number of bat records at every garden. Coming across this rare bat is very exciting and shows how much more there is to learn about these fascinating animals”

Outlook for south London’s hedgehogs is more positive than originally thought - PTES

Surveys reveal hotspots, connected populations but also areas of absence, where ‘hogs need help

Battersea-based wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is funding two conservation research interns working to conserve hedgehogs as part of ZSL’s London HogWatch.

Camera trap surveys, conducted during 2020’s summer lockdown by PTES intern Kate Scott-Gatty, show that the outlook for hedgehogs in south London is better than originally thought. The cameras revealed connected populations, hotspots, areas where populations appear to have declined, and, worryingly, areas where no hedgehogs were present at all. The surveys produce thousands of images which all need to be checked.

Second PTES intern, Dylan Carbone, is trialling the development of machine learning tools to quickly identify images with hedgehogs and other wildlife and discard those without. By identifying the different species seen by camera traps, the tool allows researchers to focus in on the hedgehogs recorded quickly and efficiently, saving hours of painstaking work.

Nida Al-Fulaij, Conservation Research Manager at PTES says: “The results from Kate and Dylan’s work reinforce just how important well-connected gardens and green spaces are for the long-term survival of this iconic species in urban and suburban areas. It’s encouraging to see widespread and robust populations across south London and that hedgehogs are doing well in areas where gardens are well-connected, but more work is needed as hedgehog numbers are still nowhere near what they were even 10 years ago.” “We now need to capitalise on this and make as many gardens, allotments, parks and local green spaces as hedgehog friendly as possible, in a bid to help our capital’s hedgehogs.”


Farmers urged to help barn owls as climate change and habitat loss threatens their survival - Ulster Wildlife

One of Northern Ireland’s most loved but endangered countryside birds, the barn owl, is having a tough time this year as extreme weather events, linked to climate change, have taken their toll on an already struggling population according to conservationists.

David Sandford and his wife with the baby owls ringed on their farm (image: Ulster Wildlife)
David Sandford and his wife with the baby owls ringed on their farm (image: Ulster Wildlife)

With numbers having declined alarmingly due to loss of suitable hunting and foraging habitat, Ulster Wildlife is urging farmers to take action to safeguard the farmland bird’s future, as fewer than 30 breeding pairs are now estimated to be left.

Katy Bell, Senior Conservation Officer at the charity, explains, “This has been a challenging year for our threatened barn owls. The cold spring snap followed by the heatwave and heavy downpours is a killer combination for the birds as they are not adapted for unpredictable weather, which makes breeding and survival much more difficult. Sadly, these conditions may become more frequent given the effects of climate change, as highlighted in this week's IPCC report. Barn owls need our help now, more than ever if we want to ensure their long-term future, and farmers and landowners, as custodians of our countryside, play a key role in helping them thrive. By working together, we can help protect precious nest sites, monitor these beautiful birds, and provide help and advice on owl-friendly farming.”

Often dubbed the ‘farmer’s friend’ for its reputation for eating rodents and providing free pest control, barn owls rely on a healthy population of wood mice, young rats and pygmy shrews to feed on and sustain their chicks. The charity is encouraging farmers to help increase the bird’s food supply by providing rough grassland margins, leaving wild corners untouched, and reducing rodenticide use by following the CRRU (Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use) code of practices.

Another successful year for Hen Harrier breeding in England - Natural England

Numbers of chicks increase for fifth successive year

Natural England and partners, including the RSPB, have recorded the best year for hen harrier breeding in England since the 1960s with 84 chicks fledged from nests across uplands in County Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and Yorkshire.

Hen harriers were once found across upland and lowland Britain including throughout many English counties, however after 1830 it became an exceptionally rare breeding bird in England due to illegal persecution. The hen harrier now is one of England’s rarest breeding birds of prey.

This is the fifth successive year of increases, following a low in 2016 in which only 8 chicks fledged. This year has also been the strongest for breeding numbers since Defra’s Hen Harrier Action Plan was established to monitor hen harriers to understand why numbers are so low.

Dave Slater, Director for Wildlife Licensing and Enforcement Cases at Natural England, said: "It is wonderful that these striking birds have seen another lift in their breeding numbers this year. It is thanks to all those involved - volunteers, landowners, and staff from all our partner organisations who have worked so hard to protect, encourage and monitor these vulnerable birds. However, the stark reality is that illegal persecution is still rife in their habitats, and, sadly, too many birds still go missing in unexplained circumstances."

In recent years, tagging has increased our knowledge of their ecology and movements. Despite this year’s success, hen harriers are critically endangered in England and there is a long way to go, if we are to achieve a permanent recovery.

This year has also seen the first successful year of breeding for brood-managed birds. Of the eight chicks raised in captivity in 2020 and re-released, six survived their first winter, and four of these birds went on to successfully breed.

The news was welcomed by RSPB:

Hen harriers have best breeding season in over a decade -

The RSPB has today [Friday 13 August] welcomed the news from Natural England that hen harriers have had their most successful breeding year in England in over a decade, with 84 young fledged from 31 nesting attempts. This success is reflected on sites where RSPB are involved in nest protection and monitoring.

In Bowland, Lancashire, where the RSPB works closely with landowners United Utilities, all nests were successful with a record of 31 young harriers fledged. And on the RSPB’s nature reserve at Geltsdale four young harriers fledged, the first since 2016. This was despite the disappearance of two male hen harriers, in suspicious circumstances, which was the subject of a police investigation.

Jim Wardill, the RSPB's operations director for the north of England said, “We are delighted to say that hen harriers have had a very good year across the board in England and particularly in locations where the RSPB is involved in site protection and monitoring. This has been very much a team effort, from the volunteers and staff monitoring the nests, to our work with partners such as raptor groups and United Utilities who have been wonderfully supportive throughout.”

The RSPB is hoping that this year’s figures represent a positive turning point for both hen harrier and the future of our uplands. Historical declines of hen harrier have been driven by widespread persecution, often linked to intensive management of land for driven grouse shooting. The Moorland Association, which represents grouse moor owners, recently restated its “zero tolerance towards raptor persecution and wildlife crime”. And the newly formed Aim to Sustain Partnership of nine UK wide shooting organisations is looking to develop and promote sustainable shooting with a key aim to “conserve and improve the environment” and “comply with the law” .

The RSPB says that 24 successful nests this year represent a tentative first step on the path towards a recovering population in England. A Joint Nature Conservation Committee report published in 2015 shows that the full potential for hen harriers on English uplands is 323-340 pairs.

Mr Wardill continued; “We know how important the management of our uplands is for the recovery of these birds and hope that this year’s success signals that attitudes are changing towards issues such as persecution. We are in a nature and climate emergency. Whether the land is managed for water supply, farming, forestry or shooting, we need everyone to work together to build on this success and restore England’s population to the known potential of more than 300 nests.”

Released, captive reared Curlews phone home - British Trust for Ornithology

Two Curlews fitted with GPS tags as part of a project to help boost numbers of the species in the East of England, are keeping scientists up to date with their movements using the mobile phone network.

Curlew being tagged (photo: BTO)
Curlew being tagged (photo: BTO)

Throughout July & August, over 80 young Eurasian Curlew have been released at Sandringham and Wild Ken Hill as part of a Natural England project to boost Curlew numbers in the East of England. All of the birds have been fitted with uniquely coded coloured leg rings to be able to identify them if they are seen later on. A sample have also been fitted with radio and GPS tags to be able to keep tabs on them following their release by monitoring their movements and behaviour. For the two Curlew fitted with GPS tags, the results are proving to be very interesting, allowing scientists to monitor the birds’ activities in ‘real time’ when the tags download daily locations over the mobile phone network.

After a few days, Curlew ‘0E’ began exploring its surroundings, checking out the fields adjacent to the release site before moving a little further afield and onto the Wash, only for short periods initially. Now, it is behaving just like the non-breeding Curlew that visit the Wash in large numbers over the autumn and winter, using the estuary around the mouth of the Ouse and the Nene rivers.

Curlew ‘3A’ has been less adventurous, mainly staying around the release site, although it has recently begun to explore the Snettisham Coastal Park, moving north and south along the outer sea wall.

Dr Sam Franks, Senior Research Ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology, said, "These tags have revealed for the first time how young headstarted Curlew learn about the landscape into which they’ve been released. It has been fascinating to observe the different behaviour between individuals. Just like people with different personalities, some Curlew are more adventurous and exploratory, while others are more risk averse, avoiding novel conditions and sticking with what they know."

New research sheds light on crimes against birds of prey in Wales - RSPB

The theft of eggs and chicks of birds of prey has almost ceased in Wales, but persecution rates are not declining - according to a new RSPB Cymru review, published today (24 August, 2021).

Crimes against raptors in Wales 1990-2019 - written by RSPB Cymru and published by the Welsh Ornithological Society - summarises the plight of raptors in Wales over the past three decades.

One of the key findings is that since the 1990s, egg and chick theft has almost ceased. Theft used to be a major problem in Wales, with eggs of raptors such as peregrines and red kites stolen by collectors. The chicks of goshawks and peregrines have also been targeted for the purposes of selling to falconers, including in the Middle East. But tougher penalties and a shift in public awareness and attitude has resulted in the detection of only a handful of cases in Wales over the past decade.

On the other side of the coin, the picture for raptor persecution (by shooting, trapping and poisoning) is less positive. While the number of confirmed incidents of raptor persecution fell in 2000 - 09 compared to the previous decade, there has been a marginal increase seen in the past decade. However, the real total could be much higher, as the number of confirmed persecution cases could only be the tip of the iceberg.

Most worryingly of all, the rate of poisoning cases has increased in the last 30 years, with 52 cases confirmed in the last decade. While laying poison baits in the open has been illegal since 1911, the review suggests that it remains a problem for wildlife in the Welsh countryside. Birds of prey, wild mammals and even household pets can fall victim to the abuse of pesticides.

Julian Hughes, RSPB Cymru Head of Species and lead author of the paper, said: “There has been good progress made over the past three decades to reduce the rate of crimes against our majestic birds of prey. The dramatic reduction in the theft of egg and chick shows that tougher action really does work. This has helped the welcome return of birds such as red kite that was once on the brink of extinction. However, the rise in persecution, and especially poisoning cases, is a big worry. There’s still work to be done to root out these deplorable acts of crime against wildlife.”

Bitterns breed in Sefton for the first time in centuries - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

A bittern flies over the reedbed at Lunt Meadows by Phil Boardman
A bittern flies over the reedbed at Lunt Meadows by Phil Boardman

A pair of one of the UK’s rarest birds, the Eurasian bittern, has successfully bred at Lunt Meadows nature reserve for the first time in the reserve’s short 10-year history.

This is the first time that bitterns have bred at our Lunt Meadows Flood Storage Reservoir and Nature Reserve in Lunt village in Sefton, and the first time in the local area in approximately 200 years.

Bitterns are a type of heron, with golden brown feathers that are striped with darker browns. Once common in wetlands, bittern numbers plummeted over the centuries, mostly due to the huge loss of the reedbed habitat which they depend on for survival. In 1997, there were only 11 breeding males recorded in the UK, confined to the reedbeds of north Lancashire and Norfolk.

Since then, thanks to targeted conservation efforts to create extensive areas of wetland such as Lunt Meadows, there are an estimated 200 breeding bittern pairs in the UK today.

That these endangered birds have bred at Lunt Meadows is great news for the reserve, which was previously arable farmland. Now, owned by the Environment Agency and managed by Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Lunt Meadows has been transformed into a mosaic of reedbed; wet, marshy and dry grasslands; pools, ponds, hedgerows and scrub. It is renowned locally as a haven for wetland species, especially birds, and is designed to hold excess water from the River Alt during periods of heavy flow or excess rain.

Oxfordshire celebrates first crane fledgling in 500 years - RSPB

Joy is in the air as RSPB Otmoor celebrates the first crane fledgling in Oxfordshire for 500 years.

Attempts to encourage cranes to breed at the nature reserve have been ongoing for the past six years, as part of the Great Crane Project, and there are now hopes of many more crane chicks to come. The 5-year reintroduction project, completed in 2015, saw the first nesting pair – Maple-Glory and Wycliffe - arrive that year, but they failed to produce any offspring.

Crane chick with parent on Otmoor. Credit: Fergus Mosey
Crane chick with parent on Otmoor. Credit: Fergus Mosey

The arrival of a second nesting pair – Excalibird and Ted – in 2020 changed the fortunes of the Otmoor cranes, and their first chick has now fledged. The as-yet unnamed fledgling, which has ginger colouration, is the first crane to have hatched in Oxfordshire in 500 years.

There has been hope and disappointment in six years since cranes were reintroduced as part of the Great Crane Project, but the recent fledgling success points to a bright future for the species in Oxfordshire.

Damon Bridge, from the Great Crane Project, said: “It’s wonderful to have this success with the cranes at Otmoor. This is one of 14 chicks to fledge this year from the birds reintroduced through The Great Crane Project and marks the best year on record. Cranes from the South West reintroduction have now bred in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and South Wales. Outside of the breeding season, when they are highly territorial, cranes are very social birds and form large wintering flocks. The return of the Otmoor pair to the Somerset Levels and Moors is so that they can mix and mingle with the other cranes and increase their chances of finding food through the tough winter months.”

Common crane chicks take 10 weeks to fledge, with the new addition taking its first flight last week, before making a short migration to South West England. In winter, cranes group together before they pair up, with females usually outnumbering the males.

Until then, Otmoor is the ideal place for crane breeding, as they like to have a platform over the water and feed on the insects that live in wet grassland. Cranes have exceptional eyesight, and are also very secretive, so reeds and tall sedge grass provide an ideal hiding place.

A haven for wildlife, Otmoor reserve is based around an expansive floodplain grazing marsh, which is home to wading birds and wildfowl all year round. Warblers and songbirds add to the ambience of the beautiful atmosphere from their homes in the reedbed.


Extinction risk defined for Britain’s amphibians and reptiles - Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

Credit: Ray Hamilton
Credit: Ray Hamilton

Almost one third of Great Britain’s amphibian and reptile species are threatened with risk of extinction, according to a new report by ARC. Moreover, two species often considered common may be heading down a similar route.

With support from Natural England, ARC has undertaken the first regional assessment of extinction risk using the IUCN Red List method, a globally recognised approach. Whilst typically applied across the global range of a species, Red Listing can be applied at smaller scales, and ARC did this for all native amphibians and reptiles at Great Britain and country levels.

The exercise reveals that 4 out of 13 species (31%) are in one of the “Threatened” categories, meaning they face a tangible risk of extinction at country level. The most threatened species is the northern pool frog, now classed as “Critically Endangered”. The natterjack toad, sand lizard and smooth snake are each assessed as either “Endangered” or “Vulnerable”. The common toad is “Near Threatened” in Great Britain, England and Scotland, and the adder is “Vulnerable” in England and “Near Threatened” at all other scales.

All of the species are deemed “Least Concern” at a European or global level, the lowest threat category, meaning that is there is no appreciable risk of extinction. These new results therefore usefully highlight how extinction risk varies substantially according to the spatial scale of assessment. The main factors driving threat levels for amphibians and reptiles appear to be the loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat. The results echo findings for British butterflies, pointing to the possibility of common threats.

ARC hopes the results will prove invaluable for conservation. Red List categories could, for example, be used to inform revised approaches to protected site designation. The findings for common toad and adder are especially useful since they reinforce the message wide ranges may mask declines, and these species deserve greater conservation attention. The Red List assessment will be reviewed as new data emerge in future, possibly meaning some species shift category in years to come.

New report on widespread reptile status assessment - Amphibian & Reptile Conservation

Today ARC is publishing a technical report into methods for better understanding the status of our widespread reptiles. These four species – slow-worm, common lizard, grass snake and adder – have a broad range in England yet have suffered from local or regional declines. Impacts arising through development are common, and yet current mechanisms for addressing such threats often appear to fail or meet with limited effectiveness. The patchy understanding of distribution and conservation status across the country is one of the key issues that hinders conservation action for these species.

Discussions between ARC and Natural England resulted in a project to better understand the steps needed to generate a baseline dataset that describes fine-scale distribution and regional conservation status. Through an examination of past work including ARC projects, literature review and consultation with researchers, we undertook an options appraisal and costed the highest ranked options. We outlined the most promising approach to key stakeholders and sought their views.

We concluded that the most effective approach would be a two-stage modelling method, combining Species Distribution Modelling and new field surveys. We outline methods and calculate costs for implementation, and note some important considerations for increasing the likelihood of stakeholder acceptance. Paramount among these is ensuring that the final output is useful in both a development and a conservation context. ARC would like to thank Natural England for funding towards this project, and all those who helped in the consultations.

The report is available at ARC’s “Technical reports” page


Record-breaking breeding success for critically endangered native insect - The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)

Efforts to save a rare native insect from extinction have been boosted by a record-breaking breeding season at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.

Staff at the wildlife conservation charity are celebrating the hatching of 6,925 pine hoverfly larvae within the conservation breeding programme this year, marking the most larvae of this species ever bred in captivity and a significant increase for the critically endangered British population.

hoverfly on white flower
Adult pine hoverflies emerge in early Spring and mate before dying in mid-Summer. The team have to find fresh food for the hoverflies to eat throughout this window. (Credit RZSS)

No one has seen an adult pine hoverfly in the wild in Britain for over eight years, and just 25 larvae were brought into the RZSS pine hoverfly conservation breeding programme in 2019.

Planning for releases back into newly restored habitat in the Cairngorms is now underway in collaboration with the Rare Invertebrates in the Cairngorms project, a partnership between the RSPB, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Buglife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, and NatureScot.

Dr Helen Taylor, RZSS conservation programme manager, said, “This record-breaking season is a vital lifeline and could represent a real turning point for the pine hoverfly, which is on the brink of extinction in Britain due to habitat loss over the past century. Invertebrates are crucial to healthy ecosystems and are disappearing at an alarming rate, though sadly these species are often overlooked until it is too late. The wild population of this important pollinator is currently restricted to just one site, a forest patch in the Cairngorms National Park, which means we are now caring for many more individuals at Highland Wildlife Park than are thought to remain in the wild. There has been a huge amount of work involved in this project from our keepers, vets and conservation staff. Thanks to this dedication and collaboration, the future is looking much brighter for this rare species and it is really exciting to be able to progress plans to release some individuals back into their wild habitat.”

Thousands of spider crabs gather on Cornwall’s south coast in spectacular natural phenomenon - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Huge spider crabs have been witnessed gathering in their thousands in a rarely-seen event by one of Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Conservation Officers.

Mass aggregation of spider crabs 2, credit Matt Slater/Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Mass aggregation of spider crabs 2, credit Matt Slater/Cornwall Wildlife Trust

The mass aggregation of male crabs was filmed in knee-deep water just a few metres from a popular Falmouth beach at low tide.

This undersea spectacle, which takes place annually between late summer and early autumn, involves crabs rallying together to protect themselves from the threat of predators. This is because they are extremely vulnerable during the moulting process, as they crack open their exoskeletons and grow a new outer shell.

Matt Slater, Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Conservation Officer who filmed the incredible gathering, said: “I have seen spider crabs on every dive and snorkel I have done for the past four years, but I have never seen a group as large as this! Looking down at the mass of crabs scuttling on the seabed was a truly incredible experience. Our seas are full of surprises - most locals would have no idea that one of the world’s great wildlife aggregations is occurring not too far from where they sleep. It goes to show how important our Cornish seas are and why we all need to look after them better.”

The formidable-looking spiny spider crab is a common species in Cornish waters, known for its characteristically long, spiny legs and claws which can span up to one metre. Populations appear to have thrived in recent years as a direct result of climate change and warming sea temperatures.

LED streetlights reduce insect populations by 50% - UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

‘Eco-friendly’ LED streetlights are even more harmful for insect populations than the traditional sodium bulbs they are replacing, a new study has shown.

The negative impacts of light pollution on insects including moths - which provide essential food sources for a variety of animals and are important pollinators - are well known. However, scientists behind this latest research say it is the first investigation into the effects of the whiter outdoor LED lights on insect populations in ‘real world’ conditions.

A selection of caterpillars from a sweep net sample for the study. Pictures: Douglas Boyes
A selection of caterpillars from a sweep net sample for the study. Pictures: Douglas Boyes

Field studies by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), Newcastle University and Butterfly Conservation found the abundance of moth caterpillars in hedgerows under LED street lamps was 52 per cent lower than in nearby unlit areas. This compared with a 41 per cent lower abundance in hedgerows lit by sodium lighting.

Meanwhile, in grass margins, the moth caterpillar numbers near LEDs were a third lower than in unlit areas, whereas sodium lights had little effect on abundance in this habitat.

Almost all previous research on light pollution has focused on adult insects, but studying caterpillars, which are a lot less mobile, enables researchers to get more precise estimates of the impacts of street lighting on local populations. The authors add the large diversity of moths means they are broadly representative of nocturnal insects, with any negative impacts from a threat likely to also be experienced by other species.

Douglas Boyes of UKCEH, who led the study, published in the journal Science Advances, spent more than 400 hours sampling for caterpillars along roadsides at a total of 55 lit and unlit sites in the Thames Valley over the past three years.

He says: “The effects observed – on local abundance, development and feeding behaviour – were more pronounced for white LEDs compared to traditional yellow sodium lamps. The rapidly increasing prevalence of LED lights, which are often much brighter as they are so energy-efficient and cheap to run, is likely to increase the negative impacts of light pollution on insects. This is expected to have knock-on effects on other species, including predatory insects, hedgehogs, and songbirds, which need to find hundreds of caterpillars a day to feed themselves and their young.”

Read the paper: Douglas H. Boyes, Darren M. Evans, Richard Fox, Mark S. Parsons, Michael J.O. Pocock. 2021. Street lighting has detrimental impacts on local insect populations. Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi8322

Ecology and Biodiversity

New research set to unlock nature mysteries and tackle biodiversity crisis - The National Trust

  • Innovative partnership project will unpick and examine the essential elements required for ecosystem restoration
  • Results will provide essential building blocks for landscape restoration
  • 100 sites in the process of being restored will be involved including the Knepp Estate, South Downs and Stonehenge landscape

Four year project will be funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

A four-year research project has been launched to help tackle the biodiversity crisis by identifying how the UK’s most precious woodland and meadow habitats can be successfully restored by looking at how all the different plants, animals and other organisms in ecosystems work together.

The £2 million project, funded by Natural Environment Research Council, aims to reverse habitat loss and the degradation of land caused by agricultural intensification, urban development, climate change and pollution.

Hawthorn bush in flower and buttercup pasture at Slindon Estate, West Sussex.
Hawthorn bush in flower and buttercup pasture at Slindon Estate, West Sussex. (Credit: NT Images & John Miller.)

It will look at how these ecosystems knit together through complex individual processes like nutrient cycling, carbon capture and pollination - rather than simply looking at the presence and number of particular species. This is an innovative approach to understanding ecosystem processes and will have major implications for ecological restoration target-setting.

The research is due to get under way at over 100 meadow and woodland sites, currently in the process of being restored, across the country including the Knepp Estate, South Downs and Stonehenge landscape as well as at heavily degraded landscapes such as mining and quarry sites and intensively farmed agricultural land.

The partnership project is led by Cranfield University including the National Trust, Stirling University, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and Forest Research.

It hopes to provide evidence to improve the effectiveness of ecosystem restoration, using woodlands and meadows as examples of some of our most heavily ecologically degraded environments.

The research will help conservationists and those involved in restoration ensure interventions such as tree planting or re-introducing species are made to maximum benefit.

Professor Jim Harris of Cranfield University, Lead Principal Investigator for the project, said “Improving our ability to restore functional ecosystems is crucial to ensuring we restore nature and achieve net gain in line with Government plans ‘to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. We are trying to understand how the nuts, bolts and cogs of the ecosystems that we are interested in reassemble and function, and whether this can be done quickly – or whether we need a lot of patience with Mother Nature – who you simply cannot fool.”

Local Nature Recovery Strategies: how to prepare and what to include - Defra consultation

Seeking views on how Local Nature Recovery Strategies should be prepared and what should be included.

We want to know what you think about preparing the Local Nature Recovery Strategies and what to include.

The strategies are a new system of maps and proposed actions for nature’s recovery. The Environment Bill will create a legal requirement for these to be created across England.

Each strategy will:

  • agree local priorities for helping nature and improving the wider environment
  • map areas of current and potential importance for nature
  • We’ll encourage public bodies, housing developers, land owners and others to use these maps and priorities so that we can work together for nature’s recovery.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 2 November 2021

Take part here.

£3.2million for the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project - National Lottery Heritage Fund

A major project will support wildlife in London and other UK cities through a biodiverse green space, scientific innovation and engaging young people.

The natural world faces unprecedented declines and needs help now more than ever. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, The Urban Nature Project will help to monitor and safeguard nature in cities across the UK. The project aims to help people form a lifelong connection with the natural world and empower them to understand and protect it.

A transformed green space

The Natural History Museum's five-acre site in South Kensington is to be transformed into a welcoming, accessible and biodiverse green space in the heart of London.

The new, sustainable design extends the existing habitats and turns the area into a haven for wildlife ‒ including grazing Greyface Dartmoor sheep.

Over 3,300 species have been found in the museum's garden since it opened 25 years ago, many of which have contributed to scientific studies. The figure is expected to double when the renovation is completed in 2023.

The Urban Nature Project will create a diverse learning area for the thousands of visitors that walk through the museum gates each year. This incorporates:

  • trails taking visitors through the history of life on Earth
  • a live laboratory
  • an outdoor learning centre
  • a range of fun and educational activities

Plans to improve access to the space include updated walkways, step-free access and new seating areas.

A nationwide urban nature movement

The project is set to reach over 1.5m people via the creation of a collaborative, nationwide movement to urgently address the rapid decline of urban biodiversity and habitat loss.

The museum garden will be used for national monitoring programmes to record changes in Britain's urban wildlife, some of which involve piloting new technology. These innovations can then be shared with partners around the country to build up a bigger picture of how wildlife is changing over time.

Through an extended schools programme, museum staff will work with organisations across the UK to inspire the next generation, create new opportunities for young people in cities and help everyone to learn about humanity's impact on the natural world.

Kicking to see what’s alive: wildlife surveys carried out - Yorkshire Dales National Park

people in waders carrying out sampling in river
The Riverfly survey took place at Linton Step (image: Yorkshire Dales National Park)

A riverfly survey on the Wharfe was one of hundreds of wildlife surveys carried out or commissioned by the National Park Authority this spring and summer.

A three-minute gentle kick of the sediment at Linton Steps saw a large number of nymphs of mayflies and caddis flies caught in a net, suggesting good water quality, although invasive signal crayfish were present.

Wildlife or farm conservation officers have also monitored mammals, birds, plants and butterflies, and have carried out habitat condition surveys to support farmers entering agri-environment agreements.

The aim is to understand the state of nature in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. All the data — together with information collected by many other organisations —will be represented in the triennial ‘Trends and Status Report’, to be published by the Yorkshire Dales Biodiversity Forum in the backend.

Senior Wildlife Conservation Officer Tony Serjeant, who conducted the riverfly survey with Land Management and Conservation Apprentice Lizzy Grieve (see pictures), said: “The Riverfly Survey helps us work out the health of the river in terms of the life it supports. Right at the bottom of the food chain there are these invertebrates, which become the mayflies and the stoneflies eaten by fish, birds, bats and all sorts of wildlife. It’s a national survey that we’ve been taking part in for about three years now, run by the Riverfly Partnership. We’ve been playing a minor role by contributing results from this particular site at Linton Steps. The Freshwater Biological Association maintains the databases and accept the records – so there is a whole network of people doing this survey across the country. It’s the way we want to go with our whole monitoring programme, aligning ourselves with national programmes – and always working in partnership with others.”

Deer numbers placing unprecedented pressure on environment - Forestry and Land Scotland

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is to carry out a cull of female deer in September as it manages increasing levels of negative impact from deer in Scotland’s national forests.

Deer numbers across Scotland have doubled to almost a million now from 500,000 in 1990, leading to the recent call from the Independent Deer Working Group for proactive deer management. At any one time on Scotland’s national forests and land, there are up to 150 million young trees vulnerable to damage from deer – and the cost of the damage done is several million pounds annually.

September culling, which is widely practised by land managers, is licensed by NatureScot and is being carried out following discussion with stakeholders, including Scottish Environment Link and the Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG), which accepts such actions are sometimes necessary to protect woodland from damage.

Ian Fergusson, FLS’ Head of Wildlife Management, said; “The total number of all four deer species across Scotland is now estimated to be around 1million and our surveys show deer population levels ranging from 4 deer per km2 to as high as 64 deer per km2 in some areas. A widely accepted sustainable population balance for woodlands and biodiversity protection is between 2-7 deer per km2. The current high levels of deer numbers pose a particular threat to establishing young trees and areas of forest regeneration which are a vital part of Scotland’s response to the climate emergency. It can also be ruinous to biodiversity projects and also poses a threat to the overall health of the herd, which in winter could struggle to find enough food and may result in many animals suffering a slow death from starvation. As responsible land managers of a significant area of Scotland’s forests and land, we have to act and achieving the necessary balance within the deer population is something that can only realistically be attained through culling.”

Keeping deer numbers to a level that is in balance with the habitats that they occupy will help to reduce these negative impacts and create conditions that allow deer to remain the vital part of Scotland’s biodiversity that they are.

Donald Fraser, NatureScot Head of Wildlife Management, said: “Deer are an iconic part of Scotland’s nature and contribute greatly to its biodiversity. However, while there has been a lot accomplished to lower deer numbers in Scotland, in some areas high numbers mean they negatively affect woodlands and other habitats."

Landmark Environment Bill strengthened to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 - Defra

oak tree against blue sky
oak woodland (Photo: Robin Greenwood / pixabay)

New strengthened Government commitments to protect the environment for future generations made today in landmark Environment Bill amendments.

The Government has strengthened its commitment to protect the environment for future generations and build back greener with new amendments to the landmark Environment Bill that will see the UK build on its reputation as a global leader in conservation.

Following work with parliamentarians and wider stakeholders, new amendments tabled yesterday (26/08) include strengthening the duty to set a legally-binding target to halt species decline by 2030.

This will solidify the Government’s commitment to leave a richer, more biodiverse environment for future generations with a clear need for action: between 1932 and 1984, we lost 97% of our species-rich grassland, five species of butterfly have disappeared from England in the last 150 years, and indicators showing the state of birds dependent on farmland stand at less than half their value compared to 1970.

This new amendment reflects the Prime Minister’s pledges on the international stage during the UK’s leadership of this year’s G7 summit and will enable us to meet our ambition to make this world-leading target the net zero equivalent for nature.

New measures will also tackle storm overflows through a new requirement for water companies to monitor the water quality impacts of their sewage discharges and publish this information. This monitoring will drive action by water companies to reduce sewage discharges that do the most harm, to better protect the environment and public health. Water companies will also be required to publish near real-time information on when their storm overflows operate.

The Environment Bill will bring forward action to address environmental challenges including biodiversity loss, climate change, waste and pollution of the air, water and land.

Scientific Research, Results and Publications

Farmers help create ‘Virtual safe space’ to save bumblebees - University of Exeter

Solutions to help pollinators can be tested using a “virtual safe space” tool created by scientists at the University of Exeter in collaboration with farmers and land managers.

BEE-STEWARD is a decision-support tool which provides a computer simulation of bumblebee colony survival in a given landscape.

The tool lets researchers, farmers, policymakers and other interested parties test different land management techniques to find out which ones and where could be most beneficial for bees.

bumblebee in a purple foxglove flower
bumblebee in foxglove (image: Matthias. Becher)

BEE-STEWARD – which is freely available online – is a powerful tool that can make bumblebee survival predictions, according to a new study.

“We know that pollinator decline is a really big problem for crops and also for wildflowers,” said Dr Grace Twiston-Davies, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall. BEE-STEWARD takes into account the many complicated factors that interact to affect bumblebees. This provides a virtual safe space to test out different bee-friendly management options. It’s a free, user-friendly tool and we have worked with land managers and wildlife groups on the ground to create it together.”

Disentangling the many factors that affect bumblebee colonies is incredibly complicated, meaning real-word testing of different methods by land managers is often not feasible.

This problem prompted the Exeter scientists to create the BEEHAVE (honeybees) and Bumble-BEEHAVE (Bumblebees) computer models. But to help bumblebees thrive across our landscapes, these tools need to be used by people on the ground and not just scientists.

BEE-STEWARD has been designed with and for land managers, farmers and conservation practitioners to test out different ideas for land management and predict the impact that these may have on bumblebee survival.

BEE-STEWARD is being used by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to help test and guide land management to help bumblebees and farm business thrive in Cornwall. Using BEE-STEWARD, bee-friendly actions are being tested across 1,500 ha of land in collaboration with the Duchy of Cornwall Estate, the National Trust, Treiwthen Dairy and Kellys of Cornwall.

Read the research and find out more about the tool

Twiston-Davies, G., Becher, M. A., & Osborne, J. L. (2021). BEE-STEWARD: A research and decision-support software for effective land management to promote bumblebee populations. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.13673

Cities are making mammals bigger - Florida Museum of Natural History

A new study shows urbanization is causing many mammal species to grow bigger, possibly because of readily available food in places packed with people.

The finding runs counter to many scientists’ hypothesis that cities would trigger mammals to get smaller over time. Buildings and roads trap and re-emit a greater degree of heat than green landscapes, causing cities to have higher temperatures than their surroundings, a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. Animals in warmer climates tend to be smaller than the same species in colder environments, a classic biological principle called Bergmann’s Rule.

But Florida Museum of Natural History researchers discovered an unexpected pattern when they analyzed nearly 140,500 measurements of body length and mass from more than 100 North American mammal species collected over 80 years: City-dwelling mammals are both longer and heftier than their rural counterparts.

raccoon looking over an empty rubbish skip
raccoon scoping out garbage bin (image: Overture Creations / unsplash)

“In theory, animals in cities should be getting smaller because of these heat island effects, but we didn’t find evidence for this happening in mammals,” said study lead author Maggie Hantak, a Florida Museum postdoctoral researcher. “This paper is a good argument for why we can’t assume Bergmann’s Rule or climate alone is important in determining the size of animals.”

Hantak and her collaborators created a model that examined how climate and the density of people living in a given area – a proxy for urbanization – influence the size of mammals. As temperatures dropped, both body length and mass increased in most mammal species studied, evidence of Bergmann’s Rule at work, but the trend was stronger in areas with more people.

Surprisingly, mammals in cities generally grew larger regardless of temperature, suggesting urbanization rivals or exceeds climate in driving mammal body size, said Robert Guralnick, Florida Museum curator of biodiversity informatics. “That wasn’t what we expected to find at all,” he said. “But urbanization represents this new disturbance of the natural landscape that didn’t exist thousands of years ago. It’s important to recognize that it’s having a huge impact."

Not all animals respond to human-induced environmental changes in the same way, Hantak added. The researchers also investigated how the effects of climate and urbanization may be tempered or amplified by the behavior and habits of certain species.

They found animals that use hibernation or torpor, a temporary way of slowing metabolic rate and dropping body temperature, shrank more dramatically in response to increases in temperature than animals without these traits. The finding could have important implications for conservation efforts, Hantak said. “We thought species that use torpor or hibernation would be able to hide from the effects of unfavorable temperatures, but it seems they’re actually more sensitive,” she said.

The researchers published their findings in Communications Biology.

Scientific Publications

Michaela Roberts, Katherine N. Irvine, Alistair McVittie, Associations between greenspace and mental health prescription rates in urban areas, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 2021, 127301, ISSN 1618-8667, doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2021.127301.

Rasmussen, J.J., Andersen, L.W., Johnsen, T.J., Thaulow, J., d'Auriac, M.A., Thomsen, S.N. et al. (2021). Dead or alive — Old empty shells do not prompt false-positive results in environmental DNA surveys targeting the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera L.). Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 1– 9. doi: 10.1002/aqc.3677

Seabed recovers more quickly following extreme storms than from the impacts of bottom-towed fishing, study suggests - University of Plymouth

pink sea fan and lots of new shoots in the mud
By 2016 there had been a good deal of recovery and both adult and juvenile pink sea fans were in evidence (Credit University of Plymouth)

Extreme storms can result in major damage to the seabed similar to that caused by prolonged periods of bottom-towed fishing, according to new research. However, important seabed habitats and species recover more quickly following extreme storms than in the wake of such fishing activity.

That is one of the key findings of a first-of-its-kind study which examined the impact of the 2013/14 winter storms on the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area (MPA), off the coast of southern England.

Academics from the University of Plymouth have been monitoring the area using underwater cameras and other techniques since 2008, when a ban on bottom towed fishing was introduced as part of a range of conservation measures.

They have previously demonstrated that several species have returned to the area since the MPA was introduced, resulting in the significant recovery of seabed life and fish and shellfish stocks.

However, there have been no previous studies looking at how extreme storms impact seabed habitats or the potential for MPAs to increase ecosystem resilience from storms.

To address that, researchers analysed the impacts of the 2013/14 series of storms, which separate studies by the University found to be the most energetic to hit western Europe since 1948.

Through annual surveys of seabed life in the MPA, they were able to see the immediate impact of the storms but also how the seabed was able to recover in subsequent years.

Writing in Frontiers in Marine Science, the researchers say that with extreme events likely to become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change, up to 29% of coastal reef MPAs around the UK may be similarly impacted by extreme storms.

‘Bee Box’ provides stress-free insight into hidden life inside the hive - Lancaster University

L-R: One of the prototype bumblebee nests, and a bumblebee © Dr Philip Donkersley
L-R: One of the prototype bumblebee nests, and a bumblebee © Dr Philip Donkersley

Researchers seeking ways to discover more about bee behaviour without disrupting the nest have built the world’s first ‘wild bee nests’ with built-in webcams.

Lancaster University Environmental Scientist Dr Philip Donkersley, working with Engineer Jenny Roberts CEng, developed prototype bumblebee nests after being inspired by bird boxes with built in cameras.

Using 3D printing and moulding, they created a light-proof chamber with a small narrow entrance pipe. Once buried beneath ground, the prototype dome-shaped nests have already proven to be popular with queen bees on the hunt for a safe place for a nest.

Robust enough to withstand the elements, the nests offer a safe potential nesting site which can even withstand the attention of large mammals such as cows.

And because the nests already have cameras installed in them before being put in the ground, it’s possible to see what the bees are up to without the need to disrupt or distress their colony.

The researchers hope the nests will be the first of many, offering a glimpse of life inside the hive to environmental scientists, conservationists, wildlife-friendly gardeners and the general public alike.

They are also talking to pest control companies who remove bumblebees from buildings, offering the nests as a ‘rehoming’ rather than ‘pest control’ solution.

Dr Donkersley has installed one of their early prototypes in his own garden. Fitted with a camera complete with infrared lighting and powered and processed by a Raspberry Pi computer, the nest is now colonised by ‘bombus terrestris’ bees and the researchers are already streaming the live footage via Youtube.

New Tree Health pilot to protect trees from pests and diseases - Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission has opened expressions of interest to pilot a new scheme to protect trees from pests and diseases in England.

The Government is inviting land owners and managers, including farmers, to express their interest in taking part in a new Tree Health pilot designed to support action against pests and diseases affecting their trees. The pilot will first focus on ash, sweet chestnut, larch and spruce.

The three-year Tree Health pilot will be delivered by the Forestry Commission and will cover parts of the North West, West Midlands, London and the South East of England. The pilot aims to establish 100 agreements with interested land owners and managers to help deal with trees affected by a pest or disease outbreak.

The Forestry Commission will support the felling and restocking of trees as well as providing maintenance payments for restock sites. Learnings from the pilot will inform the future Tree Health scheme, being rolled out in 2024. The pilot will work alongside the existing Countryside Stewardship Woodland Tree Health grants, which will continue to be on offer until 2024 when the new Tree Health scheme will be adopted.

As the pilot will trial new elements of the future scheme only, payments made as part of the Tree Health pilot will differ to payments made as part of the existing Countryside Stewardship Tree Health grants.

Among the incentives being tested through the pilot, support will be available for diseased and infested trees outside of woodland, for roadside ash with ash dieback, and for trees affected by the spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) and sweet chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica).

The UK’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Prof Nicola Spence, said: “Plants and trees deliver £10.5 billion per year in social, environmental and economic benefits, from providing a safe environment for wildlife and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, to enabling a sustainable timber industry. I encourage eligible stakeholders to help us protect these vital national assets by submitting their expressions of interest to the Tree Health pilot.”

And finally some sunny sunflowers making a difference:

Sunflowers power £2 million for nature’s recovery - The Wildlife Trusts

Bee on sunflower Vine House Farm (© Matthew Roberts)
Bee on sunflower Vine House Farm (© Matthew Roberts)

Wildlife friendly farm, which grows wild bird seed, and 100 acres of sunflowers, celebrates raising £2 million for wildlife conservation.

Vine House Farm announced the amazing £2 million milestone as sunflowers bloomed on the family farm in Lincolnshire. The black sunflower seeds are part of 400 acres of bird seed crops, which will go into wild bird food mixes, along with red millet, canary seed, oil seed rape and naked oats, all home grown on the farm.

Thanks to hedges, ponds, and wildflower margins at field edges, all created by farmer and award-winning conservationist, Nicholas Watts, the farm is also a haven for flocks of wild birds including, rare and declining tree sparrows, red-listed linnets and lapwing. The money, raised over 14 years, supports the nature conservation work of The Wildlife Trusts.

Lucy Taylor, manager at Vine House Farm, and Nicholas’ daughter said: “Our partnership with The Wildlife Trusts have long been very important to us. Along with the practical measures we take on the farm to, for example, to reverse the trend of declining songbird numbers; a percentage of each purchase of Vine House Farm bird seed goes to support Wildlife Trusts, enabling a greater conservation impact across the country. The Wildlife Trusts has always been the obvious choice for us to champion, and it’s been a proud time for me, my father and all our family to be able to reach the two million pound milestone. Now we look forward to the future and being able to eventually reach five million and more.”


Training Directory.

Browse the Training Directory online here for short courses (up to 10 days long), or here for longer courses, distance learning and centres and providers

The Directory includes a wide range of courses providing certification in practical skills such as chainsaw use, need to learn how to identify dragonflies, or want to find out the best way to get the community involved in your project then this is the section to read. We include details of many professional courses in the online short courses pages. There are also sections for longer courses, training centres and other events (eg conferences).

Search for your next CPD course here.

Recently added online events and learning including calendar of short courses happening in November 2021

Online Events

22/09/2021 Free Webinar - Kevin Anderson and Zero Carbon Britain: responses to the climate emergency at Online 1 Day

Centre for Alternative Technology Contact:

Climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson lays bare the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, and offers thoughts on what needs to happen at COP26 to create profound change. CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain Hub team will host the webinar and deliver an overview of their change making work.

06/10/2021 Balancing nature and health for the future at Online 1 Day

European Centre for Environment and Human Health Contact:

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) is celebrating 10 years of conducting world-class research. For a decade the European Centre for Environment and Human Health has worked to put the complex relationships between people and the environment at the top of local, national and international agendas.

Online Learning - Short Courses

15/09/2021 Bitesize Bats 5, 2 hour workshops over sequential weeks

A collection of workshops designed to work as both a complete programme and as stand-alone sessions, suitable for licence trainees and interested individuals: ‘Introduction to British Bats’, ‘Bats and the Law’, ‘Bat ID’, ‘Roosts and Signs’, ‘Training for a Licence’. 20% of profit donated to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Cost £25/workshop, £100 for all 5

15/09/2021 Bitesize Bats 5, 2 hour workshops over sequential weeks

A collection of workshops designed to work as both a complete programme and as stand-alone sessions, suitable for licence trainees and interested individuals: ‘Introduction to British Bats’, ‘Bats and the Law’, ‘Bat ID’, ‘Roosts and Signs’, ‘Training for a Licence’. 20% of profit donated to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Cost £25/workshop, £100 for all 5

20/09/2021 Bats in Winter 2, 2 hour workshops over 2 weeks

A closer look at the behaviour of bats during winter. Workshop one focuses on bats' adaptations to cold weather and hibernation (physiological, behavioural etc.), and the nature of hibernacula. The second workshop will cover species identification and surveying. 20% of profit donated to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Cost £50

20/09/2021 Bats in Winter 2, 2 hour workshops over 2 weeks

A closer look at the behaviour of bats during winter. Workshop one focuses on bats' adaptations to cold weather and hibernation (physiological, behavioural etc.), and the nature of hibernacula. The second workshop will cover species identification and surveying. 20% of profit donated to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Cost £50

Above courses online with Tragus Training. Contact:

21/09/2021 Hydrometry: River Discharge Monitoring using ADCPs 4 Days

Online, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology 01491 69 2225

This practical live and interactive training is for new starters and moderately experienced ADCP users. It introduces you to how ADCP instruments work. You will learn how to collect river discharge measurements (Teledyne and Sontek). You will process and validate data. You will learn how to trouble-shoot problem data files.

04/10/2021 Bats and Trees 2 hours (6pm-8pm)

The workshop will discuss the way in which bats use trees, with special emphasis on roosting behaviour. We will look at different tree features that can form roosting opportunities and discuss how they can be identified. The basics of surveying trees for bat roosts will also be covered.

Cost £25

04/10/2021 Bats and Trees 2 hours

The workshop will discuss the way in which bats use trees, with special emphasis on roosting behaviour. We will look at different tree features that can form roosting opportunities and discuss how they can be identified. The basics of surveying trees for bat roosts will also be covered.

Cost £25

Above courses online with Tragus Training. Contact:

08/11/2021 Nature friendly gardeners' Question Time (online course) 0.25 Day

Online course - to ask the experts for advice and suggestions to help you improve your garden for biodiversity

Cost £5 per person donation

30/11/2021 Pollinator friendly gardening (online course) 0.25 Day

Online course - Learn how to encourage pollinators into your garden

Cost £5 per person donation

Above two courses with Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622662013

15/12/2021 Transforming Environmental Data in R 2.5 Days

Online, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster University 01491 69 2225

The 2-day interactive online course will help you understand the benefits of data transformation tools. You will learn about auditable workflows, repeatability, time-saving, improving efficiency & reduced risk of dataloss. You will participate in practical data transformation exercises using real environmental datasets to combine & manipulate datasets for analysis-ready data.


Online Learning - Longer Courses

Feeding Animals Self-Study Course at ACS Distance Education

Feeding Animals - self study short course. Learn the essentials of what is required to feed animals. The course has 10 lessons. Introduction to feeding animals, industry opportunities, composition of feed, forage, concentrates, feed additives, managing feed production and supply, feeding small companion animals, pets, livestock, wildlife, eating and nutritional disorders.

Landscape Photography at ACS Distance Education

Learn the techniques necessary to capture the individual expressions of each landscape. Learn about special affects, colour richness, photographic terms, & achieving sharpness. Develop your skill in creating different effects, and using different materials and equipment and see the difference show in your pictures. Distance learning. Start any time.

Above courses with ACS Distance Education. Contact: 01384442752


16/11/2021 CIEEM 2021 Autumn Conference: Management, Mitigation and Monitoring 2 Days
TBC, CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626
Our two-day conference will support excellence in the survey, management, and monitoring of, and mitigation of impacts on, habitats and species by sharing new case studies, introducing novel approaches and stimulating debate with expert practitioners. Presentations will cover practice at a range of scales and in a variety of contexts including conservation management, development planning and sustainable land use.

24/11/2021 NBN Conference 2021: Biodiversity data - from collection to use 1 Day
Online, NBN. Contact:


Administrative and Office Skills

02/11/2021 ArcGIS: Introductory 2 Days
Southampton, GeoData, University of Southampton. Contact: +44 (0)23 8059 2719
This course introduces the underlying principles of Geographical Information Systems and examines the processes involved in the capture, storage, analysis and presentation of spatial data. This course is intended for those who have little or no GIS knowledge or who wish to undertake some formalized training in ArcGIS having been largely self-taught in the past.

02/11/2021 GIS for Beginners: Guide & Application - Online 2 Days
Online, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372 379523
In this online course, learn how to capture and manipulate data using a Geographic Information System. The first day runs from 10am-3pm and the second day is a follow-up from 10am-noon.

16/11/2021 ArcGIS: Advanced 2 Days
Southampton, GeoData, University of Southampton. Contact: +44 (0)23 8059 2719
In this course the basic functionality of the main elements of ArcGIS (ArcMap, Catalog and ArcToolbox) is expanded upon and some extensions are introduced. Topics covered include: geodatabases; advanced labelling and symbology; advanced editing; using model builder; GIS customization with Python; extensions, online data, manipulating coordinate systems and spatial analysis/statistics tools.

24/11/2021 GIS for Beginners: Mix of live training and online tuition. 2 Days
Nower Wood & online, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523
Learn to use GIS software to analyse data and present it in a practical format. The first part of this course is taking place in person at our Nower Wood location, which will better suit certain types of learners. The follow up session will be Online.


Community Engagement and Environmental Education

15/11/2021 L3 Learning Support for Additional Learning Needs (Outdoors) 4 Days
Milton Keynes, Muddy Feet. Contact: 07432611008
Suitable for those who would like to work with children or young people with autism, mental health issues and challenging behaviour outdoors. It has key skills for education, SEN, mental health, social and youth workers, community workers, forest school leaders, scout leaders and guide leaders.

15/11/2021 Team Challenges and Games Workshop 1 Day at Daventry Country Park, Daventry,
CPD for Forest School; Hands-on workshops covering team games and challenges for all ages

16/11/2021 Quick and Easy Makes Workshop 1 Day at Daventry Country Park
CPD for Forest School; Hands-on workshop exploring quick & easy makes for all ages

17/11/2021 Taking Learning Beyond the Classroom Training Course 1 Day at Forge Farm, Cropredy, Banbury
An accredited (level 3) training course designed to show you how to make the most of Curriculum-Linked Outdoor Learning opportunities using your school grounds/local open spaces. The course will provide you with everything you need to get outside and mana

18/11/2021 Outdoor Learning Curriculum Activity Ideas 1 Day at Forge Farm, Cropredy, Banbury
Join us for a participatory day’s training looking at a wide range of Curriculum based Outdoor Learning Activity ideas. We’ll explore the all across the National Curriculum and give you lots of ideas to take away and use with your groups. Aimed at all

Above courses with Forge Learning. Contact:

22/11/2021 Online Woodland Activity Leader Training 7 Days
Findhorn and Online, Wild Things!. Contact: +441309690450
Gain the skills and confidence you need to become an Outdoor Leader. Learn the theory online, fully supported by our instructors, and then join us in Findhorn to complete the course with a short 3 day practical which will be from the 11th to 13th March 2022. 


Countryside Management Techniques

06/11/2021 Woodland Coppicing 1 Day
Guiting Manor Farm, Guiting Power, GL54 5UX, Cotswolds National Landscape Rural Skills. Contact: 01451 862000
This is the method of periodically harvesting small areas of woodland, traditionally for a wide array of products. It encourages the re-growth of trees and shrubs. Learning: the skills of coppicing, using tools, a little of the history of woodland coppicing and the potential uses for harvested coppice.

22/11/2021 Sustainable Woodland Management 5 Days
Machynlleth, Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact: 01660 704966
Learn how to make the most of our natural resources on this highly practical course. Gain a comprehensive overview of how to manage woodland sustainably, looking at biodiversity conservation and woodland management skills. This course covers both practical and theoretical aspects of managing a small wood, and you’ll be spending most of your time in CAT’s beautiful and sustainably managed woodland Coed Gwern.

First Aid, Risk Assessment and other Health & Safety Related Courses
06/11/2021 ITC Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
Pinkston Watersports, 75 North Canal Bank Street, Glasgow, G4 9XP, The Adventure Academy CIC. Contact: 0141?628 8521
Our 16-hour outdoor first aid course is perfect for outdoor leaders, teachers and youth workers. A wide range of National Governing Body Awards recognises our outdoor first aid course. Including Mountain Training UK, British Canoe Union, British Cycling, Scottish Rafting Association and Sports Leaders UK.

29/11/2021 First Aid for Forest School Training Course 2 Days
Daventry Scout Centre, Daventry, Forge Learning. Contact:
This course will provide you with two qualifications; Level 3 Paediatric First Aid & Level 3 Outdoor First Aid.  


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

25/11/2021 Assessing Trees for Bats 2021 1 Day
Abinger Hammer, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539
A one-day course giving participants knowledge of legislation relating to bat roosts, a better understanding of tree health and safety surveys, an opportunity to view and survey a range of trees on site, and improved ability to categorise bat tree roost potential.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

06/11/2021 Identification of Fungi III 1 Day at West Wood car park near Rhodes Minnis
Helpful tips on identification of larger fungi and their habitats in the field.

20/11/2021 Getting to know Conifers 1 Day at Tyland Barn
Pine, spruce, larch, fir, cedar, redwood?. an introduction to identification in the classroom through foliage and cones. Linked to next day.

21/11/2021 Conifers at Bedgebury Pinetum 1 Day at Bedgebury Pinetum
Field studies amongst the largest collection of conifers in the UK. Linked to previous day.

27/11/2021 Broad-leaved Trees in Winter 1 Day at Tyland Barn
Learn how to identify native broad-leaved trees and shrubs by their twigs, buds and bark

28/11/2021 Lichens for Beginners 1 Day at Tyland Barn
Make a start on identifying these notoriously difficult yet intriguing, beautiful and environmentally sensitive plants

Above courses with Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622662012

30/11/2021 Winter Tree Identification 2021 1 Day
Middle Woodford, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539
A 1-day course giving participants the skills and confidence to identify trees and shrubs when not in leaf, both in the field and from twig specimens. A full set of twigs will be available to label and take home, and a free copy of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees guide.


Practical Countryside Skills

20/11/2021 Dry Stone Walling - Beginners

2 Days at Burford, Oxfordshire

You will be building a wall that will remain part of the Cotswolds landscape for the next 100-200 years! You can expect to learn about: dismantling walls, laying foundations, building up of the wall, adding through stones and copping stones, dressing the stone, the tools and how to use them.

27/11/2021 Hedgelaying 2 Days at Manor Farm, Sopworth, SN14 6PS
You will learn to: clear/prepare the hedge, cut and lay the pleachers, fix stakes, correctly use and maintain hedge laying tools and the benefits of hedgelaying for wildlife and landowners. In the Cotswolds, the most commonly used are the Midlands and Somerset styles, and it is these that we teach.

Above two courses with Cotswolds National Landscape Rural Skills. Contact: 01451 862000 


Practical Countryside Skills - Machinery

01/11/2021 Lantra Brushcutters & Trimmers 2 days Days
Stirling, TCV Scotland. Contact: 01786 479697
This course will teach you all you need to know about Brushcutters and Trimmers and will lead to a LANTRA certificate.

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