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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: Countryside Classroom

Find out more about our featured charity here.
Including how to join and donate.

CJS Professional: 11 August 2022

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

Jobs

Featured Job: Two permanent Arborist roles with Kirklees Council

At Kirklees we want to be innovative and creative in the way we work to deliver our services to our communities and we are always looking for better and smarter ways to work. The Parks and Greenspace Operational Delivery team work together to manage and maintain the councils parks, greenspaces, play areas and trees. The primary role of the Arborist is to undertake works on behalf of the council working within the Forestry section who are responsible for the management of trees. [more]

33 adverts for posts including one self-employed contract included in this edition.

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

CJS Updates and other useful information 

logo: CIEEM Awards sponsor 2023

We're delighted to be sponsoring the CIEEM’s Higher Education Programme Award again.
CIEEM Awards 2023 will soon be opening for nominations!
The first Awards open for nominations in August and are outlined below, with the rest of the Awards opening in October. Keep an eye on the CIEEM website for updates. Awards Launching in August: CIEEM’s Higher Education Programme Award, sponsored by CJS. CIEEM’s Postgraduate Student Project Award, sponsored by Stantec [more]

  

Organisation profile: RSN - National Champion for Rural Services:  CJS are RSN members and we were delighted that they chose to profile CJS in the July newsletter. The Rural Services Network is an independent organisation that campaigns for a better deal for rural communities in England. Find out more about RSN aims and benefits of membership here.  

 

old metal padlock on a wooden gate, hasp open. Text in one corner readers: Unlock your future

Unlock your future. About to or just graduated? Looking for your first countryside, conservation, ecology job?

CJS offers all new graduates and current students a full year's subscription to CJS Weekly completely free of charge. All you need to do is fill in the form and we'll start sending you weekly copies. [more]

Please share our free subscription information with any new graduates or current students looking to start their careers. You'll find the same information on our facebook page here so you can share that post if it's easier.

 

New to Nature – Opportunity for employers in the environmental sector Groundwork has launched a new programme of paid work placements designed to help diversify the natural environment sector. Applications are now open for organisations across the UK who can provide natural environment-focused work placements from the start of 2023 [more]

  

logo: Countryside Classroom

From our Featured Charity for 2022: Countryside Classroom Passport
Countryside Classroom works with partners to produce the very best curriculum linked resources covering a range of issues relating to healthy eating and sustainability. One popular resource aimed at Primary school aged children is an activity booklet called the Countryside Classroom Passport. The Countryside Classroom Passport has three exciting sections with a range of challenges asking children to find out, write, make, draw, do, and visit, all encouraging students to discover topical issues relating to food, farming and the natural environment. [more]     

Features and In Depth Articles

Virtual Fencing, a Conservation Graze-Changer? By Kelly Hunt, Assistant Ranger, Stour Valley (BCP Council)
Thought sheep were stupid did you? Well turns out even they can learn the technicalities of virtual fencing. Kelly's recent MSc dissertation involved a trial investigating the effectiveness of using virtual paddocks for conservation grazing purposes. By the end of the trial, the sheep were successfully grazing in paddocks with incomplete physical fencing or a lack of fencing all together.  [more]

image of bare soil with a large crack through the middle, a few strands of grass straggle in from the sides

A meet the CJS Team post. Will the water always flow? By Amy Worley, CJS Features Commissioning Editor
Spring water tastes nice, it has no chemicals added to it; yeah sure it  contains all sorts of organisms that can be harmful to mankind but Amy at CJS wouldn’t swap it for mains even though at the moment the supply is running low. After one of the driest winters she’s known and the incredibly hot weather with no real rain for months and no rain on the horizon. Can she make it through? Find out about the measures Amy takes to keep the water flowing. [more]

National Highways: Low Nutrient Grasslands - reducing maintenance and increasing biodiversity by Ben Hewlett, Senior Environmental Advisor – Safety, Engineering & Standards MSc, BSc (Hons)
The government owned National Highways operates, maintains & improves the Strategic Road Network. As part of this they also look to improve biodiversity on our roads. A policy introduced in 2020 stopped the use of topsoil for newly created sites instead leaving the area as bare substrate to naturally regenerate. Discover more on the reasons behind this and the success seen. [more]

For Plastic Free July: #PlasticInMammals research – Looking at the ingestion of plastic by our UK small mammal populations By Emily Thrift, MSci graduate from University of Sussex
Plastic pollution is a worry. Would you be surprised to know that small terrestrial mammals have plastics in their body?  Read about the  #PlasticInMammals project, the findings indicated that four of the seven species studied, hedgehog, field vole, wood mouse and brown rat were found to contain microplastics in their faeces. Delve in to more indepth analysis. [more]

It’s all about balance, an opinion piece by  Henry Barnard, Lead Ranger, Central Surrey Hills, National Trust
A refreshing take on an employer getting it right. Henry says “During the past ten years I have never once felt that I could not put my family first, or that it would harm my career to do so. In fact, since working for the National Trust I have been actively encouraged to take time with my family and prioritise home life over work life. He wants to give other people the benefits but is struggling to recruit.  [more]

If you want to write an article for CJS about your experiences in the conservation sector then click here to find out more about how to do it. And we're always on the look out for more Job Profiles find more about how to send yours here.

Job profile: Highways and PROW Officer For the Isle of Man Government [more]

CJS Focus

Current edition  CJS Focus on Employability – published on Monday 23 May Read it in full here.
Next Edition:
CJS Focus on Working with Wildlife, in association with The Wildlife Trusts, due for publication on 7 October. 
Now accepting early adverts, more information here.

Features from CJS Focus on Employability.
Working for Denbighshire Countryside Service: learn about Claudia's role as a Ranger and how she secured a career in environmental conservation. More information here or read the article here.

Make Connections: Aidan Neary who now works for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has had a winding path to his current job. Discover his tips and read about the journey. More information here or read the article here.

News

This year's Green Flag Awards list was published this week, 2208 greenspaces are now proudly flying their flags along with 565 miles of Canal and River Trust waterways. UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology reports that agri-environment measures boost wildlife populations in long-term farm study. The Big Plastic Count report was published by Greenpeace and it makes for depressing reading.

More good news for beavers and pine marten too. Kent Wildlife Trust released bison into the wild to tackle climate change. There was a milestone moment for the ospreys in Kielder with the successful rearing of their 100th

And finally some excellent news for our sector: Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities announced that over 100 new and revamped parks across the UK and Groundwork launched a new youth employment programme to support 70 young people into environmental jobs.

    

Training and Events

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

Classified

Sarah Warburton, Freelance Proofreader - with a lifelong love of the outdoors

Sarah offers discounted rates for non-profits. [more]

 

Reminder that you can post useful Information to our new bulletin board page, it's the place for all sorts of useful information that doesn't really fit anywhere else! 50 word text is free.


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. 

Daily email with details of latest vacancies, news and general information. Sign up free here

Jobs.

View all Online Jobs here. Please remember to say you saw the advert in CJS Professional.



  

Freelance, Self-employed and Contracts Out to Tender.

Volunteers.


See all listings online at: https://www.countryside-jobs.com/volunteers/intro

screen grab of the volunteers directory index.

Latest additions, adverts posted within the last week.
Sectors: Volunteering by what you'll be doing.
Region / Location: Volunteering by location.
Volunteering from Home: details of opportunities for things to do from home.
Volunteering Organisations: Organisations and groups which offer volunteer opportunities but might not have any current adverts.
Conservation Working Holidays: 'Feel good holidays': go on holiday, have a wonderful time and do some conservation work along the way.
Organisations don't forget all of this is advertised FREE! Send us your voluntary opportunities Advertise your volunteer opportunities - it's free.


CJS announcements, information and other articles of interest.

logo: CIEEM Awards Sponsor 2023

We're delighted to be sponsoring the CIEEM’s Higher Education Programme Award again this year.

CIEEM Awards 2023 will soon be opening for nominations! The Awards aim to recognise and celebrate high levels of achievement for individuals, projects and organisations within the ecology and environmental management sector. The first Awards open for nominations in August and are outlined below, with the rest of the Awards opening in October. Keep an eye on the CIEEM website for updates.

Awards Launching in August:

CIEEM’s Higher Education Programme Award, sponsored by CJS.

This is a valuable opportunity for higher education institutions to showcase their high standards of teaching and to be recognised for their work in promoting employability and entrepreneurship within their Level 3 – 7 teaching programme(s).

Judges will be looking for demonstrable evidence of the way students are prepared for their future careers in ecology and/or environmental management. We are particularly keen to see innovation and examples that go above and beyond the national requirements.

CIEEM’s Postgraduate Student Project Award, sponsored by Stantec

Have you recently graduated from your Master’s degree course and received a high mark for your final dissertation? Or are you a project supervisor whose student has completed an outstanding project? Being shortlisted will be a fantastic way to show future employers the individual has the capability to produce award winning work and there is the added bonus for the winner of a £250 cheque!

The judges will be looking for a winning project that demonstrates excellence in planning, undertaking and reporting of a Master’s-level project in a relevant aspect of ecology or environmental management.


logo: members of Rural Services Partnership

RSN - National Champion for Rural Services

CJS are RSN members and we were delighted that they've chose to profile CJS in this month's newsletter: "A one stop shop for countryside jobs
Nine miles inland from Whitby in the middle of the North York Moors National Park is the small honeypot village of Goathland. It's here that you'll find CJS." Read the full profile piece on their website here.

The Rural Services Network is an independent organisation that campaigns for a better deal for rural communities in England. The RSN represents over 500 organisations across the public, private and third sector - including, local authorities, health care providers, housing associations, transport operators, colleges, and utility providers, plus many more! The RSN is the national champion for rural services, and helps members to share best practice and expertise, and ensures the rural voice is heard by parliamentarians and decision makers.

The RSN’s primary aim is to campaign for fairer funding for rural public services. Rural Local Authorities receive 37% less per head in Settlement Funding Assessment compared to urban residents. A historical lack of funding for rural has meant that council tax has increased to balance the budget with residents paying on average £104 more per head than urban residents. The RSN want fair funding that takes into account the increased costs of delivering services in rural areas.

The RSN provide a variety of services, from opportunities to network and learn from each other at popular online seminar events, to understanding implications of Government policy and White Papers through to Rural Lens Reviews, that provide an at a glance summary of key issues for rural communities.

If you’re interested in joining the Rural Services Network and tapping into the following member benefits contact: Nadine.Trout@sparse.gov.uk

RSN Membership benefits include:

To find out more about the RSN, please see the video at this link or visit https://www.rsnonline.org.uk/


   

Unlock your future

About to or just graduated? Looking for your first countryside, conservation, ecology job?

We know that you're facing a difficult time setting out looking for your first 'real' job in a profession that you hope is going to sustain you, body and soul, for the rest of your working life. This year in the middle of the worst inflation rates and highest costs of living for a generation it's even more difficult and every penny counts.

To help our next generation of rangers, ecologists, wildlife warriors, landscape managers and environmental educators CJS offers all new graduates and current students a full year's subscription to CJS Weekly completely free of charge. All you need to do is fill in the form and we'll start sending you weekly copies.

More information and the sign up form are here: c-js.uk/CJSsubsOffer

Please share our free subscription information with any new graduates or current students looking to start their careers. You'll find the same information on our facebook page here so you can share that post if it's easier.


logo: Groundwork / Heritage Lottery / Queens Platinum Jubilee Fund

New to Nature – Opportunity for employers in the environmental sector

Groundwork has launched a new programme of paid work placements designed to help diversify the natural environment sector.

New to Nature, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, will create at least 70 12-month placements for young people (aged 18-25) from groups that are currently underrepresented in the environmental sector. Working with partners The Prince’s Trust, Disability Rights UK, and Mission Diverse, the programme aims is to provide young people with access to good jobs that tackle the climate and nature emergencies but also help the environmental sector to continue to diversify its workforce. Groundwork will also be working with the Youth Environmental Service to help ensure the programme acts as a stepping stone for a longer-term journey of change in the sector.

Applications are now open for organisations across the UK who can provide natural environment-focused work placements from the start of 2023. More information is available here.

Information about how young people can apply will be available in the coming months. For any other enquiries, please email:

newtonature@groundwork.org.uk


Featured Charity for 2022:  Countryside Classroom.

CJS Focus.

logo: CJS Focus

Current Edition: CJS Focus on Employability  published on Monday 23 May Read it in full here.

Next Edition: CJS Focus on Working with Wildlife in association with The Wildlife Trusts, due for publication on 7 October. More information about this edition here.

Many of our readers are already working with wild animals and many more are striving to do just that. CJS has been advertising jobs working with wildlife for over 25 years and it's a very popular area with 94% of readers saying they find the area interesting. This year we are dedicating a whole focused edition on this area of our sector. Due for publication on 17 October the issue will contain articles about the different types of work within, job profiles and all things associated with working for the conservation of wildlife. We are now looking for adverts to run alongside articles from industry professionals (free of course). 

Suggestions and queries  please contact Focus Co-ordinator Amy on focus@countryside-jobs.com

To book your advert click here.


Features from CJS Focus on Employablity

photo of a sandy beach bisected by a tall wire fence, people are on both sides of treh fence attaching the wire to the posts.
image: Claudia Smith

Working for Denbighshire Countryside Service

I’m a Countryside Ranger, working for Denbighshire County Council’s Countryside team in the north of the county. My role involves the practical management of our 43 Countryside Sites in a variety of habitats, including woodland, wetland and sand dune, as well as allotments. Learn more from Claudia about the job and how she secured a career in environmental conservation here.

a group of people gathered around a table covered with pressed botanical specimens, a man in a blue polo shirt is learning over the table pointing to one of the specimens
image: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Make Connections

Aidan Neary who now works for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has had a winding path to his current job, initially completing a BSc Ecology and Conservation degree he realised that to get a foothold in the world of work after the degree he needed to ‘prove’ an interest and dedication by volunteering for nature conservation organisations. Discover his tips and read about the journey here.

Features and In Depth Articles.

A meet the CJS Team article

We're always looking for more job profiles and informatino about careers in the sector. If you would like to submit a profile of your job role there are more details here.


This opnion piece was published on Tuesday 9 August, join the discussion on our facebook pages here.

News.

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.

Environmental Education

Glowing report for Generation Wild at the end of a busy school year - Wildfowl and Wetland Trust

As schools around the country break for their summer holidays, it’s a clear A+ in the end of term report for Generation Wild – the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust’s innovative nature-connection programme for children from economically disadvantaged areas.

At the end of its first year, Generation Wild has already:

  • brought 12,500 children from more than 150 schools to one of seven participating WWT sites to help create a lifelong desire to protect and care for nature
  • delivered more than 350 Generation Wild school visit sessions
  • inspired an amazing 24,500 nature connection activities to be completed in school grounds, gardens and local green and blue spaces
back view of three school children (two girls and one boy) all looking up at the Ava the bird girl puppet
Generation Wild is based on the story of Ava the bird girl (WWT / Nigel Wilson)

Nature-based activities form an integral part of the school visits and top of the list for popularity with the children was building a nest, followed by meeting a mini-beast and listening to bird calls. Other popular activities including making friends with a tree and hiding a stone – but according to WWT’s National Learning Manager Mark Stead, all the nature activities went down well: “Overall, the Generation Wild programme has been extremely well received by teachers and families,” he said. “Participation levels have been good – which is particularly pleasing considering that the early stages of year one delivery were still significantly impacted upon by Covid. Where we have tried something innovative and potentially risky, it has paid off,” he added. “The Ava story, puppet and translatorphones have been incredibly well received. They provide an added element of magic, which the children love.”

Read more about Generation Wild in this article : Generation Wild: Inspiring the next generation of nature lovers written for CJS By Mark Stead, National Learning Manager at WWT.

Derbyshire’s young ‘Green Influencers’ awarded £15,000 to launch their own environmental action projects - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Young people working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have been awarded £15,000 to launch their own projects to reduce plastic waste and tackle sustainable travel and littering thanks to The Ernest Cook Trust’s Green Influencers Scheme.

Under its Green Influencers Scheme, The Ernest Cook Trust is helping 36 Host Organisations – including Derbyshire Wildlife Trust - to fund the employment of 44 Green Mentors. Each Green Mentor’s role is to enable young people to lead the way as ‘Green Influencers’ on environmental social action projects, and the aim is to recruit 5,000 across the country.

The scheme is match-funded through the #iwill Fund, which is a £54 million joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to support young people to access high-quality social action opportunities.

A group of pupils at the David Neiper Academy in Alfreton started out conserving water by installing water butts for the gardening club to use. Since then, they have become concerned by the number of single-use plastic water bottles being used in their school and applied for funding to provide every pupil with a reusable water bottle and install recycling bins in all classrooms.

With more than 600 pupils in the school, this project has the potential to save 600 single-use plastic bottles being used every day and the group now has plans to secure more funding from local businesses to continue the water bottle scheme for future school years and to start new projects.

Another group of Green Influencers from Allestree Woodlands aim to encourage sustainable transport to and from school. The ‘Super Cyclists’ plan to purchase a fleet of bikes to allow pupils to learn to ride safely. Teachers will also become trained on how to maintain the bikes and share these skills with pupils, so that the scheme can continue to benefit pupils for years to come.

Boost for Kent’s Woods and Schools - Royal Forestry Society

close up of woodland flowers at the base of a tree
Woodland flora flourishes in well managed woodland (Royal Forestry Society)

A new three-year programme of funding for Kent is all set to ignite young people’s interest in woodlands. It will also bring woodland owners and managers together to create a thriving local wood economy.

The Ready to Earn project has been developed by the Royal Forestry Society with the support of a charitable donation. It recognizes the need for existing woodland to be well managed to help in the fight against the climate crisis. It will also help to prepare future generations to take on the task of bringing woodland back into management.

Our new dedicated Project Officer, Philip Mearns, will begin work on this exciting new project on 26 July 2022. Philip will lead a forum for woodland managers to discuss common issues and opportunities. He will also oversee research and trials around the use of renewable energy driven kilns for drying woodfuel to meet new environmental standards.

The results of the kiln trials will be widely shared to help woodland owners around the country make informed decisions about certifying their woodfuel as ‘Ready to Burn’.

Local woodland owners are being invited to express an interest in taking part.

Students from local schools will be invited join the rollout of a new ‘Forestry in the Community’ Level 1 qualification. They will also be invited to take part in a competition to design an eco-kiln to dry woodfuel.

RFS Development Officer Jen Turner said: “As we face a climate emergency, managing our woodlands well is more important than ever. By creating this forum and running kiln trials we will be helping local woodland owners find shared solutions which will help them keep their woodland healthy and productive.”


Employment and Training

Groundwork launches new youth employment programme to support 70 young people into environmental jobs - Groundwork UK

Groundwork has launched a new £2million programme to create 70 paid placements for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the natural heritage sector, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

New to Nature – funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund – will see young people aged 18-25 given new, full-time, temporary jobs in nature and landscape organisations across the UK, increasing diversity and representation.

The programme is being delivered by Groundwork UK in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, Disability Rights UK, Mission Diverse and Youth Environmental Service and will target those who may not have considered a career in natural heritage and may need extra support to find work.

The programme, which will run until May 2024, will provide high quality and potentially life-changing experiences for marginalised young people struggling to enter the labour market, at the same time supporting the landscape and nature sector to be more inclusive and diverse. It will also build a UK-wide network of Jubilee Trainees to champion greater diversity and youth voice within the sector, encouraging longer-term change.

The funding is the second tranche of a £7m investment in nature by the Heritage Fund, as part of The National Lottery’s £22million investment to mark the Jubilee.

Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive of Groundwork UK, says: “Delivering our ambitions for nature recovery and net zero will mean investing in new skills and capacity in the environmental sector. However, many young people don’t see the sector as their first-choice career option, either because the jobs needed are not visible to them or they feel excluded. We’re proud to be working in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and our other partners on New to Nature, as we know that offering supported paid placements to young people can be a hugely effective way of widening access to opportunities and providing a stepping stone into permanent roles.”

Community and Volunteering

New Report: Supporting community action will help us level up and tackle the climate and nature emergencies – here’s how - Groundwork

A new report by community charity Groundwork sets out what works in helping to empower communities to take action on poverty and the environment – something that will be vital if we’re going to deliver promises to level up and make a ‘just transition’ to net zero.

The ‘From the Ground Up: empowering communities through environmental action’ report is being published in Groundwork’s 40th year of operations – and demonstrates the benefits of tackling poverty and environmental issues through community-centred approaches.

The report sets out five key ingredients for successful community projects as well as evidencing the wider benefits this approach can bring to address health and social inequalities, supporting a just transition to a low carbon economy and ultimately levelling up the country:

  • Project longevity: having enough time to develop trust and deep local networks
  • Community hubs: having space to meet and develop relationships
  • Acting as mediators and capacity builders: providing an interface between local people and services and equipping communities to take a more active role in their delivery
  • Variety and detail: offering a range of activities to promote inclusion and paying attention to the ‘little things’ that make people feel valued
  • Building the communities workforce: having staff who understand the issues communities face and are expert in supporting empowerment

Insight from the report includes examples of good practice and models of working to show the variety of ways in which community empowerment can be achieved through nurturing social and environmental infrastructure.

@TheGrange is a community centre located in Grange Park in Blackpool that hosts a thriving community garden as well as shops, a café, and flexible community space. The centre also acts as a hub for local services to provide additional support to the local community. Local people are involved in deciding what goes on there through the Friends of Group and many volunteering activities.

Cath Powell, Development Manager @TheGrange, said: “The benefits of having a hub with different groups and organisations is that it becomes a more well-rounded facility that can cater to, and engage with, a wider range of what is going on in the community. Somebody may come in who has a housing need and we’re lucky because the housing offices are on-site and together we can sit down and work out a package of measures for that person and try to get them a safe space. So, we work together on that and having those partners in the building is amazing.”

Trainee GPs encouraged to prescribe a bigger dose of nature - Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) are piloting training sessions for trainee GPs on why connecting patients to nature is good for their health and well-being.

Two adults and a child walking through a woodland (credit NRW)
Two adults and a child walking through a woodland (credit NRW)

Evidence and research from around the world shows that spending time in the natural environment has many health and well-being benefits.

People are often more active outdoors, which can guard against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and improve core muscle strength and balance. Daylight increases Vitamin D in the body, which regulates mood and prevents bone problems. The immune system also benefits from exposure to microbes found in soil, with studies showing a reduced rate of asthma in children exposed to ‘farm-like’ bacteria.

The natural environment is good for the mind too. For people living with dementia, being outside engages the senses, sparks memories, and lifts mood which may slow their symptoms.

Connecting to nature also benefits the environment by helping to prevent the loss of environmental knowledge over time. For future generations to value and protect nature and its resources, environmental knowledge and understanding needs to be passed down through the generations.

To demonstrate the health and well-being benefits of being in the natural environment, NRW has been working in partnership with HEIW to deliver a pilot training session on the value of nature to the GP Training Programme Directors in Wales.

This session was piloted with trainee GPs at the Nevil Hall Postgraduate Centre in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, as part of their curriculum. Trainee GPs were taken outdoors to experience nature-based activities in the hospital grounds as well as discussing the evidence about how nature supports health and well-being and how that can improve patient care.

The organisations will continue to work together to explore ways to include the positive impact of the natural environment on health and well-being in the trainee GP curriculum in Wales.

Has the ‘COVID effect’ worn off for nature lovers? - Butterfly Conservation

Big Butterfly Count sees a drop in participants compared to 2020 and 2021, and urges the public not to forget the benefits of being connected to nature – and it’s not too late to take part!

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is urging people not to become disconnected from nature, after the start of their Big Butterfly Count saw a significant drop in people taking part, in comparison with the last two years.

Chris Packham with ID Chart. Image: Butterfly Conservation
Chris Packham with ID Chart. Image: Butterfly Conservation

Dr Zoe Randle, Senior Surveys Officer at Butterfly Conservation, said: “In 2020 and 2021 we saw a big increase in the number of people taking part in the Big Butterfly Count. During the COVID restrictions people were spending more time at home, and maybe without the day-to-day busyness and distractions, they noticed nature more and were able to enjoy spending more time outside. However, since Big Butterfly Count started on the 15th July, we’ve only had half of the Counts compared with the same time last year. It’s left us wondering whether, now there are no COVID restrictions, are people beginning to forget about nature and the wildlife that needs our help to survive?”

It's something Butterfly Conservation’s Vice President, the TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, is also worried about. Chris said: “During lockdown many people used the opportunity of having a little bit more time to engage with nature, and many of them found some respite and solace there. Now we are asking people to re-connect and give something back to nature by taking part in the Big Butterfly Count.”

A lack of butterflies could also be putting people off taking part this year. Chris adds: “Last year was our poorest year ever in terms of the amount of butterflies people were seeing. It’s too early to tell if this year will follow suit, but certainly, anecdotally we are hearing that people feel there are fewer butterflies around. That might have put people off taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, but it’s equally important for people to tell us that because when it comes to submitting data we need to know where there aren’t these insects as well as where there are. Butterflies and moths are important indicators of the wider health of our environment. If they are struggling then so is the rest of the natural world. It is so important people continue to take part in the Big Butterfly Count. If we don’t know what is happening then we can’t deliver good quality conservation”

Search for ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’ begins - People’s Trust for Endangered Species

Credit Phillip Horwood
Credit Phillip Horwood

Public asked to help hedgehogs by connecting as many gardens as possible and submitting entries online

Two wildlife charities are asking members of the public to link their gardens this summer in a bid to help hedgehogs and find ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, who together run nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street, are urging people to connect as many gardens in their area as possible. This will allow local hedgehogs to roam between them in search of food, mates and nesting materials – a small action vital for the species’ long-term survival.

The idea is simple: become a ‘Hedgehog Champion’ and connect as many gardens as possible via ‘Hedgehog Highways’ (a 13cm or CD case sized square gap under garden fences or walls), and then submit your entry online. Free dedicated invitations for Hedgehog Champions to share with neighbours explaining the idea, and window posters highlighting Hedgehog Highways, are also available online.

The highest number of gardens linked will be crowned ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’, with prizes including special Hedgehog Highway plaques and a hamper packed with hedgehog-themed goodies.

Prizes will be on offer for those on smaller streets too, so tell PTES and BHPS all about your Hedgehog Street even if you’re not sure if it’s big enough to win – think community effort, creative solutions and decorated Hedgehog Highways! Anyone can take part, from families and summer-school groups to university students and professionals. Existing ‘Hedgehog Streets’ can also enter, though expansion is recommended.

The search for ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’ will run over the summer holidays until Saturday 10th September. Throughout the summer, PTES and BHPS will be sharing hints, tips and examples on their social media channels, where the winner will be announced at the end of September.

“Splatometers” at the ready for Bugs Matter this Summer! - Buglife

June 1 saw the much-anticipated launch of Bugs Matter 2022, the annual national insect survey led by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife. So far in 2022, citizen scientists have recorded over 3000 journeys across the UK! The data collected provides vital information on the health of our insect populations, and our environment as a whole. The survey continues until the end of August – so there is still time to download the Bugs Matter app and get involved.

(image: Buglife)
(image: Buglife)

Participation across the four countries of the UK in this vital citizen science project varies greatly. So far, 2627 journeys have been recorded across England, 400 across Wales, 220 across Scotland and 47 across Northern Ireland. With the Bugs Matter 2022 survey period running until 31 August, fresh calls are being made to those making car journeys around the UK to become citizen-scientists and put their “splatometers” in action.

Andrew Whitehouse from Buglife said: “We are really pleased that so many people have signed-up for the Bugs Matter survey this year, helping us to measure the health of insect populations across the UK. The response so far has been fantastic. There are locations where we are keen to see more journeys recorded; in particular the north of Scotland, central Wales and across Northern Ireland but there’s still plenty of time to get involved. Let’s make every journey count this summer!”

Dr Lawrence Ball from Kent Wildlife Trust said: “It’s great to see so many citizen scientists getting involved in the survey in its second year. We’ve just overtaken the number of journeys we recorded at this time last year, which is brilliant because a larger dataset means we can get a clearer picture of how insect numbers are changing over time. The data we’re collecting is so important, so keep going everyone!”

The fast approaching school summer holidays offer the ideal opportunity to take part in Bugs Matter, with increased travel for short breaks or visits to family. All journeys provide useful data – long or short, day or night, and no bug splats is just as important as many bug splats!

Smartphone users can take part by downloading the free Bugs Matter app from their app stores. The concept is simple; before making a journey in a vehicle, clean the number plate, and tap “Begin Journey” in the app.. On reaching the destination count the bugs squashed on a section of the number plate by holding the “splatometer” grid against the number plate. Take a photo and submit the information via the app.

Ecology and Biodiversity

Scotland’s Minister for Biodiversity takes a stand on deer - John Muir Trust

a red deer stag in full antler (6-7 points) standin on grass moor with heather clad hills behind
Red deer stag on moorland at Kinlochourn (image: Pixabay)

A welcome statement from Lorna Slater, as the John Muir Trust and other environmental groups have long campaigned for Government to give a clear direction on tackling the immense challenge that high deer numbers pose to wild places.

Scotland’s Minister for Biodiversity Lorna Slater has publicly committed to addressing the country's deer problem, in a recent opinion piece published in the Herald.

This piece is a clear comment on the Scottish Government’s intent to reduce the negative impacts of deer for the benefit of Scotland’s biodiversity, animal welfare, and for climate change action.

The John Muir Trust and other environmental groups have long campaigned for the Scottish Government to give a clear direction on tackling the immense challenge that high deer numbers pose to wild places.

Agri-environment measures boost wildlife populations in long-term farm study - UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

A linnet bird standing on vegetation
Numbers of the linnet, a seed-eating bird, doubled at Hillesden over the period studied (Lucy Hulmes)

Agri-environment schemes can significantly increase local bird and butterfly populations without damaging food production, a long-term research project has found.

Scientists from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) spent a decade intensively monitoring the impacts of a large-scale Defra-funded experiment at Hillesden, a 1,000-hectare commercial arable farm in Buckinghamshire. Beginning in 2005, this involved creating several wildlife habitats, including seed-bearing plants for birds, wildflowers for pollinators and tussocky grass margins to support a range of birds, insects and small mammals.

The experiment assessed the effectiveness of these agri-environmental measures in reducing biodiversity losses caused by the intensification of UK farming practices since the Second World War, including declines in species that are essential for agricultural production such as pollinators and predators of crop pests.

In the longest-running monitoring study of its kind, researchers found numbers of the majority of species did better at Hillesden than in other comparable farmed landscapes without agri-environment measures over the same timeframes. There were increases of a third across populations of all bird species between 2006 and 2016, compared to an average of just under 13 per cent at other monitored sites, and 40 per cent among all butterflies 2009-2017, compared to 21 per cent elsewhere.

A previous UKCEH study of six years’ harvesting data found overall yields at Hillesden were maintained – and enhanced for some crops – despite the loss of agricultural land for habitat creation.

Abundance of the common linnet more than doubled at Hillesden, while other seed-eating birds that fared better there compared to other sites included yellowhammer and chaffinch. Meanwhile, birds that usually feed on insects benefited from the shelter provided by hedges and grass margins, including the great tit (up 88 per cent) and blue tit (up 73 per cent).

IUCN 2022 Red List Update: Migratory monarch butterfly now Endangered - IUCN Red List

The migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus), known for its spectacular annual journey of up to 4,000 kilometres across the Americas, has entered the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as Endangered, threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. All surviving sturgeon species – also migratory, found across the northern hemisphere – are now at risk of extinction due to dams and poaching, pushing the world’s most Critically Endangered group of animals yet closer to the brink. The tiger (Panthera tigris) has been reassessed, revealing new population figures.

The IUCN Red List now includes 147,517 species, of which 41,459 are threatened with extinction.

two butterflies on frothy purple flowers, the butterflies are mainly orange with vivid black veins on the wings and black spotted with white wing borders
monarch butterflies

“Today’s (21/07/22) Red List update highlights the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometres,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General. “To preserve the rich diversity of nature we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems. In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water and sustainable jobs.”

Climate change has significantly impacted the migratory monarch butterfly and is a fast-growing threat; drought limits the growth of milkweed and increases the frequency of catastrophic wildfires, temperature extremes trigger earlier migrations before milkweed is available, while severe weather has killed millions of butterflies.

The western population is at greatest risk of extinction, having declined by an estimated 99.9%, from as many as 10 million to 1,914 butterflies between the 1980s and 2021. The larger eastern population also shrunk by 84% from 1996 to 2014. Concern remains as to whether enough butterflies survive to maintain the populations and prevent extinction.

“It is tragic to see one of the world’s most well-known butterfly species, with remarkable migratory behaviours and local cultural significance, threatened with extinction. Assessments like these provide us with the foundations for conservation actions to try and help protect a species and avert further loss,” said Sophie Ledger, ZSL (Zoological Society of London) Indicators & Assessments Unit researcher and member of the IUCN SSC Butterfly and Moth Specialist Group. “Here at ZSL, we are collaborating with global experts to shed light on the status of a wide range of species, including butterflies. Considering the current global biodiversity crisis, it is critical to uncover what is happening with diverse and functionally important species such as these before it’s too late.”

on the same day as the updated Red List is published NHM issues a warning on bird diversity

The biodiversity crisis is making birds more similar - Natural History Muesum

The birds of the world are becoming less distinctive as the more unusual species are driven to extinction.

Vultures are among the most at risk, with the loss of their unique features and traits likely to harm the health of global ecosystems.

The days of the most distinctive bird species could be numbered as the most unusual forms bear the brunt of global extinctions.

A new study suggests that species with extreme traits, such as the largest and smallest birds, are among those most at risk of being lost. Groups such as vultures, which carry out vital services to support the health of ecosystems, are also vulnerable to extinction.

The loss of these traits may impact on the ability of ecosystems to recover from the unprecedented threats they face, such as climate change, habitat destruction and pollution.

Dr Emma Hughes, the paper's lead author who works alongside the Museum's bird group, says, 'As species go extinct, you expect the traits that they represent to also be lost. But we found that traits are being lost at a much greater rate than species loss alone could predict. This demonstrates that the impacts of the global extinction crisis go beyond the loss of species. Species extinctions are going to lead to a major loss of ecological strategies and functions, which will have important ramifications for humans as ecosystem services are lost. The loss of unique traits and evolutionary history could also risk the loss of benefits to humanity that are currently unknown.'

The findings of the study were published in the journal Current Biology.

Call for protection for important wildlife haven - RSPB

Local community and wildlife organisations have come together to call for one of Ayrshire’s most important wildlife sites to be protected. The groups are asking for the Garnock Estuary to be urgently designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its importance for nature, as well as growing threats from development.
The Garnock Estuary is a unique mosaic of dunes, grassland, woodlands, scrub and wetlands. Although it has been modified by the site’s complex industrial past, it remains an incomparable haven for wildlife, including species that have been lost across much of the landscape.

A letter has been sent to the Chief Executive of Scottish Government agency NatureScot asking for the area to be given protected status. The move is supported by independent wildlife experts and former senior statutory agency officers and highlights the urgent need for designation.

A report by the Ardeer Action Group (a coalition of wildlife organisations and representatives from the local community) shows that the Garnock Estuary is of national importance for nature and home to:

  • More than 1,000 invertebrate species, including 99 species of conservation concern, and some found nowhere else in Scotland.
  • One of the best breeding bird sites on the Lower Clyde coast.
  • Dozens of rare flowering plants.
  • A unique mosaic of high-quality wildlife habitats which are listed on the Scottish Biodiversity List.

However, this rich diversity of life is under-threat from a Special Development Order dating back to 1953. This means that planning permission is not required for development and activities which would require consent almost anywhere else in Scotland.

The site is already suffering from ongoing sand extraction which is damaging its unique dune habitats. With a number of large and potentially damaging developments proposed, including housing, golf courses, and even a nuclear fusion plant, time is running out to save one of Scotland’s most fascinating wildlife sites.

Bees’ Needs Week buzzes into action - Defra

Public called upon to take five simple actions to support pollinators

At the start of Bees’ Needs Week, new research today (Monday 18 July) revealed that improving pollinator populations could help stabilise the production of important crops like oilseeds and fruit.

The new research, published by the University of Reading, found that crops visited by pollinators had more stable yields, with 32% less variation than those crops grown in the absence of pollinators.

Thousands of pollinators – bumblebees, butterflies, moths, flies and honeybees – are essential for food production and biodiversity. But they are under threat, facing growing challenges from climate change, pests and diseases, invasive species and habitat loss.

This year Bees’ Needs Week (18 – 24 July) makes a call on the public to take Five Simple Actions to help pollinators.

These actions are easy to do, and it doesn’t matter how much space is available – every action, big or small, counts. To sustain bee populations, everyone can:

  1. Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
  2. Let your garden grow wild
  3. Cut your grass less often
  4. Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots
  5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Monitoring for insects in your local area is also a great way to help scientists understand what pollinator populations look like. The Pollinator Monitoring Scheme is the first scheme in the world to generate data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects at a national scale. It will provide information that will help us measure trends in pollinator populations and target conservation efforts.

Whole-site management of Marine Protected Areas can lead to a 95% increase in reef species - University of Plymouth

The seabed with plants, shells and fish
The seabed in the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area is thriving following a ban on bottom-towed fishing (Credit University of Plymouth)

The findings have been revealed through the University's ongoing monitoring of marine conservation measures in Lyme Bay

The whole-site management of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) can increase the total abundance of reef species within its borders by up to 95%, according to new research.

This is in contrast to regions where only known features are conserved, with species abundance increasing by just 15% in those areas compared to others where human activity is allowed to continue unchecked.

The findings are highlighted in a study by the University of Plymouth, and are the latest to emerge from its long-running monitoring of marine conservation measures in Lyme Bay, off the south coast of England.

The area is home to two co-located MPAs that have adopted different management styles in their exclusion of bottom-towed fishing.

There is a 270km2Special Area of Conservation (SAC), where measures are in place to protect the known extent of sensitive reef habitats. Within that is a 206km2 area – including a mosaic of reef and sedimentary habitats – where the whole site is protected under a Statutory Instrument.

The new study, published in Fisheries Management and Ecology, showed that in addition to an increase in overall reef abundance, the whole-site approach can have significant other benefits.

Bison released into the wild to tackle climate change as UK temperatures soar - Kent Wildlife Trust

Two bison standing amongst trees in the sunshine
(Robert Canis)

As experts predict the hottest day of the year – two leading conservation charities release bison into the wild to help tackle the climate crisis.

  • A ground-breaking project to slow the climate crisis using wild bison has reached a major milestone on what is predicted to be the hottest day on record this year.
  • The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning with temperatures potentially reaching 35C – with Britons set to endure the very real effects of the climate crisis.
  • In the cooler part of the day, shortly before 7am, European bison were released into West Blean and Thornden Woods, Kent.
  • The bison are ‘eco-system engineers’ which means they will restore life to the woodland through their natural behaviours and offer a nature-based solution to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis.
  • This is the first-time bison have roamed in the UK for thousands of years.
  • The historic event occurs two years into a five-year project by the charities Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust, funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

A pioneering conservation project reached a historic milestone as European bison were released into an ancient woodland in Kent on what is predicted to be the hottest day of the year so far, Monday 18th July 2022.

The bison will create a more climate resilient landscape within West Blean and Thorden Woods, near Canterbury, and their natural behaviours restore dynamic and complex habitats.

By creating layers within the forest and naturally felling trees, the woodland will move away from being a monoculture, and wetter areas will not only store carbon, but reduce flood risk.

Environment Agency report sets out urgent need to work with nature - Environment Agency

EA Chief Executive warns of a ‘silent spring’ for wildlife if warnings are ignored and urges action ahead of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity.

An Environment Agency report that lays bare the scale of change needed to halt England’s biodiversity and climate crisis has been published today (Tuesday 12 July).

It sets out how significant changes will be needed to how land is used in England, with the need for significant landscape scale interventions and the use of nature-based solutions to help wildlife recover, and for humans to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The ‘Working with Nature’ report compiled by Environment Agency scientists sets out the global challenges facing the basics for life on Earth - clean water, climate regulation and food. It describes the potential loss of complex natural ecosystems that provide such essentials as an existential risk to human survival.

Referencing Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, considered by many to be the most important piece of environmental writing of the 20th century, Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan today spoke about the ‘silent spring’ that awaits humanity unless action is taken by businesses, government and individuals to prevent further damage and rebuild the natural environment.

The report was unveiled at event today hosted by the Green Alliance, ahead of the COP15 Biodiversity Conference taking place later this year.

On the ‘elevator to extinction’: arctic-alpine plants endangered in Scottish Highlands - University of Stirling

Rare arctic-alpine plants are being driven higher up Scotland’s mountains by climate change and will soon become extinct if we don’t intervene, new research from the University of Stirling has found.

Snow pearlwort, drooping saxifrage and mountain sandwort, which all enjoy a cool climate at high altitude, are retreating up the slopes of the Ben Lawers range in the Highlands.

The rate of decline of snow pearlwort – 66% since the mid-1990s – has led to it being moved from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’ conservation threat status by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI). It is the first ‘vascular’ plant – a grouping that includes flowering plants and ferns – to become endangered due to climate change, the BSBI said. The study found that drooping saxifrage and mountain sandwort have both declined by over 50 per cent.

Sarah Watts, a PhD researcher from the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Natural Sciences and a former seasonal ecologist with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), has spent 12 years monitoring 10 rare species growing on Ben Lawers alongside NTS staff and volunteers, adding to a data set that goes back 40 years.

Miss Watts said: “Our research signals a rapid loss of biodiversity happening right now which means that, if it’s allowed to continue on this accelerated trajectory, due to climate change, we will see the extinction of species like these. What we are seeing here is range contraction – where species that grow in cold places, in the north and at high altitude, are moving further north and higher up the mountain. But at some point, they’ll have no further to go and will disappear. For example, drooping saxifrage is now only found 50 metres from the top of Ben Lawers.”

Fungi new to the UK discovered in the Cairngorms - Plantlife

Two species of fungi new to the UK have been discovered in Scotland’s Cairngorm mountains by a team of volunteers working with Plantlife, the international wild plant conservation charity and the James Hutton Institute.

Amanita groenlandica is an arctic species originally described from Greenland and circumpolar in its distribution, with Scandinavia its previously recorded most southerly location. Acrodontium antarcticum is a fungus originally described from Antarctica.

Volunteer sampling soil on Munro ©Andrea Britton
Volunteer sampling soil on Munro ©Andrea Britton

These rare fungi, previously found poles apart, both favour the unique cold habitat and climate of Scotland’s Cairngorms. This internationally important landscape which, due to its elevation and distance from the sea, experiences an exceptionally cold and snowy climate, supports the best examples of arctic-alpine vegetation found anywhere in the UK.

This unique collaboration of mountain enthusiasts, cutting-edge science at the James Hutton Institute and experts from Plantlife is helping us to understand the pressures from climate change and atmospheric pollution on this fast-changing habitat. Our knowledge of the close connection between plants and fungi means that the data collected can be used to prioritise habitats for conservation and restoration and provide a baseline against which the effects of climate and environmental change can be monitored.

219 soil samples were collected by the hillwalking community at various altitudes from 55 of the 58 Munros of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park last summer, and DNA was extracted from the soil and sequenced by scientists at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, resulting in over 17000 records of 2748 fungal species in just three months.

Other notable discoveries include the unforgettably named “Strangler” fungus (Squamanita contortipes), which was considered very rare, with only one previous record in the UK from the 1950’s, until recent studies - its name derives from its parasitic ability to take over other fungi. While another species of the “Squamanita” genus that was previously unknown to science was also uncovered.

Buglife applauds revolutionary use of trade measures to save global pollinator populations. - Buglife

Buglife, the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, has strongly welcomed the momentous step by the EU to effectively ban the import into the EU of crops grown with two widely used neonicotinoid insecticides.

What might appear to be an innocuous adjustment the EU has set the Minimum Residue Levels of Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam for imported food to zero.

However, this step is being described as a ‘hand grenade’ and a potential revolution for the impacts of global trade on biodiversity. By setting the residue levels to zero the EU is effectively banning the use of these two dangerous insecticides by anyone wanting to export crops to the EU.

In a communication to the World Trade Organisation the EU justifies their bold action saying “Given the global nature of pollinator decline, there is a need to ensure that also commodities imported into the European Union do not contain residues resulting from good agricultural practices based on outdoor uses of clothianidin and/or thiamethoxam, in order to avoid the transfer of adverse effects on bees from food production in the European Union to production of food in other parts of the world.”

This is the first time that the global biodiversity crisis has been used to justify general trade restrictions. If it is allowed to stand it will set a new principle and should open the door for countries to take sweeping actions to ensure that their trade does not result in the exportation of environmental harm to other parts of the planet.

The measure could be further justified as populations of key pollinators, including hoverflies and moths are migratory; covering huge distances and crossing many world borders. The use of neonicotinoids in North Africa or Ukraine will reduce insect numbers in the EU.

Buglife first raised concerns that neonicotinoid insecticides were likely to be damaging to bumblebees and mayflies in 2009. The European Commission eventually banned these two insecticides in 2018 after the UK changed position and voted in favour of the ban. However, they are still used in many non-EU countries and the UK is currently using Thiamethoxam on sugar beet.

In January 2020 Buglife, representing 29 European eNGOs, wrote to the Vice President of the EC Frans Timmermans asking for greening of trade to better protect pollinator populations and in a meeting in March 2020 with Timmermans cabinet members Buglife CEO Matt Shardlow asked for a halt to the importation of crops grown with the banned neonics to prevent the EU simply exporting biodiversity damage overseas.

Publications: Defra statement: Government to hold back data on the state of biodiversity in England
Defra statement: We can now confirm that we plan to publish a reduced publication in 2022 and will be updating data for a limited set of indicators. The following UK and their associated England indicators have been chosen based on data availability, user needs and timeliness:

  • A4 Global biodiversity impacts
  • B5a Air pollution
  • C1 Protected areas
  • C4a Status of priority species: relative abundance
  • C6 Butterflies
  • D1c Pollinating insects
  • E2 Biodiversity Expenditure

We do not anticipate that this will lead to missing data for the indicators which are not updated this year, data which would have been published this year will be available in 2023



Animal and Wildlife News

Mammals

New legal protections edge England closer towards wild beaver return - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts welcome new legislation and call for sensible beaver management guidance

Defra has announced new legislation that will provide legal protections for beavers in England and could pave the way for the animals to be released into the wild under licence.

photo shows an adult female beaver side on to the camera, behind and beside her are two smaller young beavers. All three are in shallow muddy water holding food to their mouths with their front paws. A muddy river bank and some twiggy vegetation forms the backdrop.
Beaver female with kits (© Mike Symes, Devon Wildlife Trust)

The Wildlife Trusts welcome the protections for “nature’s engineers”, calling for sensible management guidance and incentives for landowners to make space for beavers on their land.

Beavers are key to creating thriving wetland ecosystems – which are critical for climate adaptation –and provide a wealth of benefits for nature and people.
Government had promised the legislation would be laid in parliament on Tuesday 19th July but pulled the plug at the eleventh hour, causing uproar among nature charities and the wider public.

The change in legal status will make it an offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb, or injure beavers, or damage their breeding sites or resting places – without holding the appropriate license. The legislation is scheduled to come into force in the autumn.

In parallel, Natural England is developing guidance on the management of beavers, setting out which actions will or will not require a licence, and where people can go for advice.

Craig Bennett, chief executive, The Wildlife Trusts, says: “We’re delighted to see the Government give beavers the vital protections they deserve. It is important that guidance is now developed quickly to bring farmers and landowners on board with reintroductions of these brilliant animals, providing reassurance and, crucially, incentives to make space for beavers on their land. The widespread return of wild beavers can be a game changer for restoring lost wetlands, benefitting all kinds of wildlife, and helping people by holding back water in the landscape, reducing the risk of wildfires, and the risk of flooding downstream. Bringing back wild beavers isn’t just a dream, it is a critical part of addressing the climate and nature crises.”

First beaver kit born in Dorset for over 400 years - Dorset Wildlife Trust

Beavers have bred in Dorset for the first time in over 400 years at Dorset Wildlife Trust's enclosed beaver site in West Dorset. Trail cameras inside the enclosure have captured images of a young beaver, known as a kit, and its mother, exploring the watery woodland created by its parents since they were released in February 2021.  

Rivers Conservation Officer, Steve Oliver said, "We have been closely monitoring the pair since their release and it has been clear that they have formed a strong bond in the time they have been on site, and this latest discovery is further evidence of this, alongside their industrious dam building activity. The trail cams have only identified one kit so far, but beavers can typically have one to four kits in a litter, and we are discreetly observing their activity to see if any others have been born.  Seeing the first kit is an incredibly exciting moment for the project and breeding is a clear indication of normal behaviour and that the adult pair are healthy and happily settled in their Dorset surroundings. This local project is an enormous step forward on the journey to restore beavers to Dorset, helping us to raise awareness and understanding of what it means to have these influential mammals back in our county. Beavers have the potential to make a huge difference to our natural environment and can assist nature's recovery as well as providing other benefits for humans.” 

This landmark project for Dorset is hosted by Dorset Wildlife Trust working alongside lead partners, University of Exeter and Wessex Water to undertake a scientific study to assess all the impacts that beavers make on the natural environment including river flow, water quality and biodiversity. Since the beavers were introduced to site, they have built dams, creating a wetland to suit their needs but which also provides habitat for many other species, such as frogs and newts which depend on water.  

and following the beavers success story, another re-introduction looking to make a positive impact

New plans to reintroduce pine martens to South West England - Devon Wildlife Trust

• New project investigating possibility of return of the native pine marten

• Sites in Exmoor and Dartmoor could see first animals released in 2024
• Reintroduction to South West would help one of England’s most critically endangered animals
• Return of pine martens is ‘important, positive step to address the crisis facing UK nature’

Plans for the possible reintroduction of pine martens to the South West of England are announced today (Friday 22 July 2022) by a partnership of leading conservation organisations.

Pine martens are part of the weasel – also known as mustelid – family of animals. Other members include stoats, polecats and otters. The species disappeared from the region around 150 years ago.

Now a partnership of conservation bodies including Dartmoor National Park Authority, Devon Wildlife Trust, Exmoor National Park Authority, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust hopes to reintroduce the species.

Together the conservation bodies have launched the Two Moors Pine Marten Project to explore the possibility of bringing pine martens back to the region. The plans are being seen as an important positive step in response to the wider crisis facing the UK’s nature.

In recent months, the partnership has begun discussing the proposals with people, farmers, landowners and other stakeholders in two areas – one in Exmoor National Park, and the other in Dartmoor National Park. These discussions are planned to continue for the next 18 months. The first pine martens could then be released in stages beginning in autumn 2024.

Find out more about the Two Moors Pine Marten Project on the Devon Wildlife Trust's website here.

First pine marten discovered on Anglesey - Bangor University

a pine marten climbing up a tree with a feeder on
A rare pine marten caught by a camera trap on Anglesey (Bangor University)

A rare pine marten has been photographed on Anglesey. This is the first confirmed sighting on the island in over thirty years of intensive wildlife monitoring.

A team of Bangor University researchers made the exciting discovery whilst undertaking research on the islands nationally important red squirrel population.

Dr Simon Valle, Dr Graeme Shannon and Dr Craig Shuttleworth had established a network of cameras in different types of woodland across Anglesey to monitor local red squirrel abundance. The ground-breaking project was funded by Natural Resources Wales in an attempt to better understand which woodland habitats are optimal for red squirrels and how changes to forest management may affect their numbers.

Trawling through over 15,000 images of red squirrels, great tits and other forest birds collected this spring, the researchers came across a sequence of three images of a pine marten pictured in the bright spring sunshine.

Dr Graeme Shannon said “After working my way through a few hundred great tit photos – seemingly the same individual hopping back and forth – I was thrilled to suddenly come across three clear images of a curious pine marten looking back at the camera. A species that until recently was extremely rare in Wales. An unexpected but very exciting discovery”

Pine martens were released near Bangor in the period 2018-20 as part of the ‘Gwynedd Pine Marten project’ and scientists have very occasional photographic evidence of individuals in Faenol woodland near the Britannia railway bridge. There have also been anecdotal reports of animals close to Holyhead, fuelling suspicion that perhaps an animal may have stowed away on an incoming ferry from Ireland where the species is abundant. In addition, 51 pine martens were released in Mid Wales in 2015-2017 to help boost numbers and some of these animals have been sighted more than 50km from the release site.

New legislation to crack down on illegal hare coursing now in force - Defra

Tougher sentencing and improved powers introduced under the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 to tackle the cruel practice of chasing hares with dogs

Tough new measures to tackle the cruel practice of hare coursing come into force today (1 August 2022). Anyone caught hare coursing will now face an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison.

Hare coursing - an illegal activity where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares – is a serious problem in some rural areas. Not only does it involve cruelty to wild animals, it is also associated with a range of other criminal activities, including theft, criminal damage, violence and intimidation.

Brown hares are widespread across the UK but numbers are declining and are now estimated at less than half a million in England. An iconic sight in the British countryside, they are known for their long, black-tipped ears and fast running - reaching speeds of 45mph – and are most commonly found on arable land and open grassland. Brown hares face a range of threats, including poaching and habitat loss.

These new measures strengthen law enforcement for hare coursing by increasing the maximum penalties for convictions under existing legislation, introducing new criminal offences and new powers for the courts to disqualify convicted offenders from owning or keeping dogs. They include:

Increasing the maximum penalty for trespassing in pursuit of game under the Game Acts (the Game Act 1831 and the Night Poaching Act 1828) to an unlimited fine and introducing the possibility of up to six months’ imprisonment.

Two new criminal offences: trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; and being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare. Both are punishable on conviction by an unlimited fine and/or up to six months’ imprisonment.

New powers for the courts to order, on conviction, the reimbursement of costs incurred by the police in kennelling dogs seized in connection with a hare coursing-related offence.

New powers for the courts to make an order, on conviction, disqualifying an offender from owning or keeping a dog.

Chief Inspector Phil Vickers said: “Police colleagues have long been frustrated that hare coursing legislation did not adequately reflect the suffering of human and animals. These new powers will better equip police forces to prevent cruelty and offending, targeting those who cause the greatest harm to our rural communities and wildlife. These changes have been made possible through collaboration with rural police forces, the Crown Prosecution Service and government. I am grateful for the support we have received in getting to this point.”

Look out for a feature article by Phil Vickers towards the end of September on the measures they are taking to tackle this cruel practice.

Can you name a beaver kit?

National Trust calls on football fans to name new beaver kits, following England’s historic victory - National Trust

Beaver kit walking through woodland
Rare shot of one of the new kits in daylight on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset (National Trust)

Fans of the England Lionesses have the chance to name two new beaver kits after their footballing heroes, following Sunday’s victory in the Euros.

The National Trust has announced that a beaver family on Exmoor had welcomed two new arrivals, with the second only just recently confirmed thanks to new video footage, and that it was launching a Twitter competition to find names for the young, known as kits.

Last year, the Trust asked its social media followers to name the first beaver kit born on Exmoor for 400 years, with ‘Rashford’ chosen after the men reached the final of the Euros.

The two new kits are siblings for Rashford, with parents Grylls and Yogi.
Footage from a static camera captured the new kits in their enclosure on the Holnicote Estate, where beavers were first released by the Trust in 2020.

Ben Eardley, Project Manager at Holnicote, said the England women’s team had inspired a nation and a new generation of football fans: “Last year we were overwhelmed by the interest in our first beaver kit, with thousands of people helping us choose a name. After Sunday’s historic victory, we’re anticipating even more excitement this time, and hopefully, some Lioness-inspired name suggestions.”

Over the past two years, the beavers have created a complex of dams that have helped slow the flow of water through the catchment, creating ponds and new channels to hold more water in the landscape.

Belfast Zoo welcomes endangered giraffe calf to the herd - BIAZA

An endangered Rothschild’s giraffe was born at Belfast Zoo on Sunday 24 July 2022.

Proud mum, Casey, laboured for two hours and gave birth naturally at 2.30pm, inside the giraffe house, which was closed to the public to provide privacy for bonding. Zookeepers report that the male calf is doing well and that Casey is doing a great job. Casey is a second time mum, after giving birth to Ballyronan in May 2020.

Belfast Zoo traditionally names giraffes after places beginning with “Bally”. The male Rothschild’s giraffe calf is named Ballyhenry, a townland in County Antrim, which was chosen by Curator Raymond Robinson.

New-born giraffes usually weigh around 100kg and are around 5 feet 9 inches tall, but little Henry measures 5 feet 7inches. Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the most endangered giraffe subspecies. Estimates suggest that only around 2,000 remain in the wild, due to illegal hunting for meat and hide and a continuing loss of habitat.
Sustained conservation action has helped the general giraffe population move from ‘endangered’ status to ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, but the Rothschild’s giraffe subspecies remains endangered.

Alyn Cairns, Zoo Manager, said “We’re delighted to welcome little Henry to the herd at Belfast Zoo. We first welcomed Rothschild’s giraffes in 1988 and have since celebrated the birth of 39 calves. We’re proud to participate in a European breeding programme and collaborate with zoos around the world. Our breeding success helps to ensure that that there is a ‘safety net’ population of this endangered subspecies.”

Birds

Avian flu task force announced - NatureScot

NatureScot is setting up a new task force to co-ordinate a national response to the avian influenza crisis that is devastating vulnerable seabirds, and other wild bird populations in Scotland.

NatureScot will lead the new group which will come together this month and draw on experience from across government, conservation organisations, local authorities and the research community to drive forward a collective response to the crisis.

The task force will initially focus on sharing expertise and co-ordinating action to tackle the current outbreak of the H5N1 strain of avian flu.

Key priorities will include planning for an effective response to potential future outbreaks and variants, taking action to help protect and restore our bird populations and improve their resilience.

NatureScot chief executive Francesca Osowska said: “The avian flu crisis has been rapidly evolving and deteriorating. Tragically, this disease could be with us for some time to come, with early evidence confirming avian flu has moved into our urban gull and raptor populations, developments we and partners are monitoring closely. Responding to this crisis involves a national endeavour, and this task force will bring together partners who are already doing fantastic work, to better share expertise and co-ordinate action on the ground. In the long-term we know this is an international crisis which requires an international response. As we look ahead to the biodiversity COP15 in Montreal this December, protecting and restoring our biodiversity will have a key role to play in our response and resilience to viruses such as avian flu. Here in Scotland, the Scottish Government’s new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, which is currently out for consultation, is responding to this challenge, setting out ambitious plans to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045.”

NatureScot is also forming a sub-group of our Scientific Advisory Committee to provide further support on surveillance, monitoring and related research that is crucial to helping our wildlife’s resilience against future viruses.

Resurgent ospreys notch up a century in Kielder - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

osprey (brown and white raptor) skimming above green water, wings oustretched
osprey (image: pixabay)

The one hundredth osprey chick has successfully taken to the air in Kielder Water & Forest Park!

The milestone was reached when a chick called Fourlaws summoned up the courage to leave its nest and earn its wings in the 63,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Northumberland beauty spot.

Breeding ospreys returned to Northumberland in 2009 for the first time in over two centuries when a single nest produced three chicks. Since then their success has delighted conservationists as Kielder becomes a key location for nature recovery, acting as a bridgehead for ospreys to continue re-colonising England.

Experts have been eagerly anticipating reaching the historic fledging century mark for weeks and thanks to cameras monitoring nests they had a front row seat. The chick had been beating its wings and leaping into the air in recent days, a sure sign that the first flight was imminent. This year osprey couples occupied eight nests in the forest park, six of which produced offspring.

Tom Dearnley, Ecologist with Forestry England, said: “To have 100 chicks successfully fledge in just thirteen years and by a bird that had been absent for so long is amazing. This is the restoration of a population, a reservoir of animals which can spread outwards creating a huge boost to biodiversity. It’s full repayment for the effort invested in building nesting platforms in the years before their arrival and the work of the whole team involved in ospreys at Kielder."

Iconic white-tailed eagles celebrate silver anniversary with 25th chick - RSPB

A white tailed eagle chick on a nest of twigs and moss high up in the trees
Credit: Steve Bentall

A pair of white-tailed eagles on Mull have recently celebrated their 25th anniversary by successfully fledging their 25th chick.

Skye and Frisa are the UK’s oldest known white-tailed eagle pair at 28 and 30 years old respectively. They paired up in 1997 and had their first chick the following year, before becoming household names in 2005 with their televised debut on the first ever episode of BBC’s Springwatch.

Since then, they’ve appeared on numerous other programmes including Countryfile, The One Show and Springwatch spin-offs Autumnwatch and Winterwatch. In 2008, their chicks Mara and Breagha were filmed by Gordon Buchanan and featured on Springwatch as the first white-tailed eagles in the UK to be satellite tagged. This allowed the public to follow their movements online and Mara became the first UK white-tailed eagle to be tracked from chick right through to his first nesting as an adult.

White-tailed eagles were driven to extinction in the UK in the early 20th century, before re-introduction programmes beginning in 1975 helped re-establish the population. There are now estimated to be at least 150 pairs across Scotland, with much of this recovery being driven by Skye and Frisa.

The pair’s newest chick – thought to be a female – is the latest in a white-tailed eagle dynasty. In 1985, Frisa’s mother, Blondie, became the first eagle to successfully hatch a chick in Scotland following the re-introduction. Moreover, one of their descendants, Finn, has been featured on live cameras at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten Nature Centre in the Cairngorms this year, fledging two chicks with his partner, Shona.

RSPB Mull Officer Dave Sexton said “What an incredible achievement for Skye and Frisa after 25 years together. Their 25th chick is now out of the nest and well on her way to independence after a few more months of care from her hard-working parents. I love the family connections right back to Blondie and now right up to date with Finn and Shona in the Cairngorms.”

Also known as sea eagles, white-tailed eagles are the UK’s largest bird of prey with a wingspan of 2.5 metres. Their distinctive, broad shape in flight has led to them being nicknamed ‘flying barn doors’.

Rare Meller’s ducks hatch at Washington Wetland Centre - Wildfowl & Wetland Trust

A duck on the verge of becoming critically endangered has successfully bred at a Wearside wetland reserve.

Four Meller’s ducklings – one of the world’s rarest and least known species of waterfowl – hatched on 7 July at Washington Wetland Centre, where they are now thriving and on show for visitors to see, under the watchful eye of expert keepers.

Although adult Meller’s ducks look similar to a female common mallard, they are a distinct species native only to Madagascar, with as few as 1,300 thought to exist in the wild due to hunting and habitat destruction.

This makes their arrival – the first in eight years and only the second time ever in the site’s 47-year history – an incredibly important conservation breeding achievement for both the WWT Washington team and the species as a whole.

The centre’s Living Collections manager Rhys McKie said: “Although to many it appears to be just a simple brown bird, the Meller’s duck is actually one of the world’s rarest and least known species of waterfowl and one of only three duck species that occur naturally in Madagascar. “They are classed as endangered at the moment but that looks due to be changed to critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List, the official information source on the global conservation status of different species. “To have them successfully hatch here at WWT Washington for the first time in eight years and only the second time ever is such an important conservation breeding moment, both for our team and the species as a whole.”

North Wales’ rare hawfinches threatened by disease - RSPB

RSPB Cymru and BTO Cymru call on householders to suspend providing food for birds in Meirionnydd for the remainder of the summer.

In a move to reduce the risk of the disease trichomonosis spreading in the hawfinch population around Dolgellau, RSPB Cymru and BTO Cymru are calling on householders to suspend providing bird food in Meirionnydd gardens for the remainder of the summer and to stop providing water for birds at any time in this region. This area includes the towns of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Y Bala, Penrhyndeudraeth and Barmouth/Abermaw.

The hawfinch is a scarce and localised woodland breeding bird that is attracted to sunflower seeds provided in gardens. The area around Dolgellau holds one of the five most important populations of hawfinch in the UK and is one of the two principal breeding areas in Wales.

David Smith, RSPB Cymru Senior Conservation Officer, said: “We’re extremely concerned about the spread of this deadly disease among the hawfinch population near Dolgellau. That’s why we’re asking for people living in Meirionnydd to cease providing food and water for birds for the remainder of the summer, which will cause birds to disperse across the countryside where they are less prone to transmitting disease.”

Despite the dry weather, there is plenty of natural food and fresh water in the Meirionnydd area during the summer. Householders are asked not to provide drinking or bathing water for birds to reduce the risk to hawfinch’s survival in this region of Wales.

David Smith added: “This will help to stop the spread of trichomonosis and will protect a rare and vulnerable bird. While we’re specifically only asking for people living in Meirionnydd to stop feeding altogether, it’s vitally important for anyone who’s feeding birds in their gardens to clean their bird feeders regularly to avoid the spread of this disease and other infections. Providing water for birds is unnecessary in this part of Wales and removing bird baths may reduce the risk of disease transmission.”

People have been reporting sick and dead hawfinches in gardens throughout spring and summer in the Dolgellau area, making it the worst year since studies of hawfinches began 10 years ago. Trichomonosis is the primary cause of a 79% decline in greenfinch in Wales over the last 10 years, and a 38% decline in chaffinch, so a similar decline could be catastrophic for the hawfinch population.

Swans sacrifice rest to squabble - WWT

a number of whooper swans and other waterfowl on a body of water some looking at the camera
Whooper swans. Credit Paul Rose

Swans give up resting time to fight over the best feeding spots, new research by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the University of Exeter shows.

Scientists studied the behaviour of mute and whooper swans via a live-streaming webcam at WWT Caerlaverock to see how they used their time and energy. Watching four key behaviours – aggression, foraging, maintenance (preening, cleaning and oiling feathers) and resting – they found a "trade-off" between aggression and rest, meaning that "increased aggression is achieved at the expense of resting".

The study could help managers of nature reserves design habitats that reduce the need for aggression.

"These swans use aggression if there's competition over foraging areas," said Dr Paul Rose, from WWT and the University of Exeter.

"Our findings show this this requires a trade-off, and that both species reduce resting time to allow for this aggression. This was the strongest trade-off we found, but there was also a trade-off for both species between foraging and resting. However, there was no apparent trade-off between some behaviours, such as aggression and foraging, and aggression and maintenance."

Whooper swans are migratory, and those observed in the study spend their winters at Caerlaverock.

Mute swans live there all year round, and Dr Rose said this means they can be more "flexible" in their behaviour because they don't share the whooper swans' urgent need to store fat ahead of migration.

"By providing enough foraging spots for the birds, we can reduce the need for aggression around desirable feeding spots, giving them more time to rest," Dr Rose said.

Positive signs for curlew restoration at the Rare Upland Birds Project in Elan Valley - Natural Resources Wales

Copyright Mike Hammett
Copyright Mike Hammett

Positive changes are underway for curlew conservation in the Elenydd Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Elan Valley, thanks to the Rare Upland Birds Project.

With resources from Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) Biodiversity Funds for Ecosystem Resilience (BERF) and Heritage Lottery, and the Nature Recovery Fund, the project is run as part of the Elan Links scheme. It works to turn the trend on the decline of this important species, with positive results for this nesting season. Five more nests were located compared to only one in previous years, and at least two more adult pairs were recorded in the valley, but it is likely there were more.

The Eurasian Curlew is currently one of the highest bird conservation priorities in Wales, with an estimated 90% loss of curlew since 1993, at a rate of 6% every year, leaving around 400 to 1,700 breeding pairs. It is listed as a rare upland bird, along with Red Grouse and Golden plover.

With the extra funding from NRW’s BERF, Heritage Lottery and Nature Recovery Fund, the project focussed on landscape heritage to improve the management of bogs and cattle-grazed areas that provide the right mix of conditions to attract curlew to nest. It also increased its monitoring capacity and nest protection practices, which gave a better understanding of how many curlew use and breed in the Elenydd, and provided better protection for established nests.

Eluned Lewis, Elan Links Scheme Manager, said: “The results during this year’s nesting season are looking positive so far, with a comprehensive attempt to identify all nest sites. We have been able to provide a good mix of cattle-grazed areas and improved bogs, which are so important to attract the curlew here, and for them to be able to feed and breed. Monitoring the curlew can be quite tricky. They can nest in dense Molinia grass and so can be hard to find, needing specialist knowledge to spot them. We were able to invest more in monitoring this year, so we could better protect the nests we found from predators. Even so, while protecting the nests lets eggs hatch, chicks are still vulnerable to predators like foxes and monitoring becomes difficult as the chicks are well camouflaged in the dense vegetation. There is still more work to be done, but we’re seeing definite signs that things are on the up and we have successes to build on. Tenants and farmers from the surrounding areas have also been really helpful in letting us know where they’re seeing the curlew, and it’s causing quite a buzz in the community. The tenant in the Important Upland Bird Area (IUBA) in the valley has been actively involved in locating and protecting nests”.

Herpetology

Amphibian microbiome could be key to fighting deadly fungal disease - Natural History Museum

Bacteria and fungi living on amphibians could help in the fight against a deadly fungal disease.

Frogs with less diverse microbiomes are more severely affected by chytridiomycosis than those with a greater range of microbes, suggesting possible new treatments.

Scientists looking to stop a devastating disease which has pushed amphibians into extinction may have found a clue to stopping it.

Chytridiomycosis is a fungal disease which has been implicated in the extinction of over 90 amphibian species in the past 50 years, as well as causing declines in hundreds more.

Australian researchers found that frogs with a more diverse set of bacteria and fungi living on their body, collectively known as the microbiome, may be better able to resist the disease.

Dr Donald McKnight, who led the research, says, 'Why some species and populations are able to survive chytridiomycosis, and others are susceptible, is not entirely clear, but variations in microbiomes may play a key role. In our study, lace-lid frogs showed the lowest ability to recover and were also the species with the fewest types of bacteria and fungi present on it. That matches what some other studies have found and suggests that diverse microbiomes may be important.'

Their findings also suggest that the presence of bacteria which inhibit chytridiomycosis is not itself enough to stop the disease.

'Lace-lids had high levels of anti-fungal bacteria that are thought to play a protective role against chytridiomycosis,' Donald adds. 'In fact, the individuals with the highest levels of chytridiomycosis also tended to be the individuals with the highest levels of anti-fungal bacteria. This was really surprising.'

The research, published in the journal Ecosphere, opens new avenues for scientists and conservationists to consider in their battle against chytridiomycosis.

Invertebrates

An extremely rare sea slug has been spotted off the coast of the Isles of Scilly. - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

A rare and multi-coloured sea slug has been recorded in UK waters for the first time, credit Allen Murray
A rare and multi-coloured sea slug has been recorded in UK waters for the first time, credit Allen Murray

The incredible sighting marks the first confirmed record of the species in the UK according to Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust.

The multi-coloured sea slug, Babakina anadoni, measures just 2cm in length and was captured on camera by Seasearch volunteer Allen Murray during a dive near Melledgan, an uninhabited rock island in the Isles of Scilly, during The Wildlife Trust’s National Marine Week

This species is a member of the aeolid nudibranch family and has only been recorded a handful of times along the West coast of Spain and further south in the Atlantic.

Matt Slater, Marine Conservation Officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Co-ordinator of the Seasearch programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “What an incredible find! We were extremely excited to hear about the sighting of this colourful nudibranch – a species that we believe has never been recorded in the UK before. It’s one of the prettiest sea slugs I’ve seen and, given its less than half the size of your little finger, it’s amazing Allen spotted it at all! There’s still so much out there that we don’t know about our marine environment. Records like this from our Seasearch divers are vital in helping us understand and better protect our seas.”

Lucy McRobert, Communications Manager at Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, said: “We never cease to be amazed at the wildlife turning up in Scillonian waters. From rare and beautiful nudibranchs to violet sea snails to great whales like humpbacks and fins, every time we dive beneath the surface we learn and see something new!”

First sighting in Scotland of sallow-shoot piercer moth - Scottish Wildlife Trust

A species of moth has been recorded in Scotland for the first time.

The sallow-shoot piercer moth (Cydia servillana) was spotted perched on a nettle at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Cathkin Marsh Wildlife Reserve near Glasgow by regular visitor Bill Higgins.

side view of a moth with folded wings, the head and tail ends are a dusty charcoal grey, the middle section is a white / pale grey. The moth is sitting on greyish-green coloured twig
Sallow-shoot piercer moth © Patrick Dlement

There are currently just 29 records of the sallow-shoot piercer moth on the National Biodiversity Network Atlas and none north of Birmingham. However, the species is likely to be under-recorded.

The sighting came when Bill Higgins spotted an unfamiliar moth during a visit to Cathkin Marsh Wildlife Reserve. He was initially unable to identify it by consulting books and websites but the mystery was solved when he reached expert Dr Mark Young through an online forum.

Bill Higgins said: “I'm thrilled about my find, even though luck determined that I was there when the moth alighted on a nettle. Another few minutes either way and it may not have been there at all.”

Billy Gray, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s West Central Reserves Manager said: “Bill’s exciting discovery shows there is lots we don’t know about Scotland’s wildlife. It’s likely that this species of moth has been in Scotland for some time and has simply gone unseen or unnoticed. Much of what we do know about wildlife is thanks to a small army of citizen scientists who record and report what they see. It’s incredibly useful to receive information about what people see on our wildlife reserves and there’s information on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s website for anyone who’d like to get involved.”

Sustainability and Climate Change

Offshore wind partnership report identifies ornithological knowledge needs - JNCC

A Manx shearwater bird taking off from water, flapping it's wings
Manx shearwater (Lewis Thomson)

The Offshore Wind Strategic Monitoring and Research Forum (OWSMRF) has published a new report on high-priority ornithological knowledge gaps and the research needed to inform the sustainable development of offshore wind energy.

JNCC Report No. 719 (Towards better estimates of Manx shearwater and European storm-petrel population abundance and trends, demographic rates and at-sea distribution and behaviour) focuses on Manx shearwaters and European storm-petrels, and builds on earlier work by the OWSMRF around black-legged kittiwakes.

OWSMRF is led by seven offshore wind developers (EDF Renewables UK, Equinor, Ørsted, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables and Shell) and is delivered by JNCC.

The Forum has collaborated with nature conservation agencies, NGOs, scientific experts and regulators to identify priority needs for improving understanding of the impact of offshore wind farms on marine birds. Following the successful completion of the Forum's Pilot Year in 2021, which focussed on the black-legged kittiwake, the group has taken a closer look at a set of less well-known species – Manx shearwaters and storm-petrels.

Shearwaters and petrels reproduce in significant numbers on several UK islands, often at remote locations. Related to albatrosses, they can travel large distances for food, and during the breeding season they only leave and return to their colonies at dawn and dusk. This makes them difficult to study and, compared to other species, very little is known about their use of the marine environment, how their populations are faring and how they interact with offshore wind farms.

UK climate continues to change in 2021 - Met Office

The latest annual report shows the continuation of warmer than average years and increasing rate of sea level rise around the UK.

The State of the UK Climate 2021 report reviews the climate and significant meteorological events of the year across the UK. This year’s report continues to show the impact of global temperature rises on the climate in the UK, reaffirming that climate change is not just a problem for the future and that it is already influencing the conditions we experience here at home.

Temperature

In what was in some regards a relatively unremarkable year in the UK’s recent climatology, the maximum temperature recorded in 2021 was 32.2°C. Compared to years from recent decades this was a relatively low peak temperature, but is still considerably warmer than the average hottest day of the year for the period 1961-1990 of 31.4°C.

In a changing climate we expect variability from year-to-year, but cooler conditions of today are warm relative to past climates, as indicated in the annual mean temperature graph below. While the year 2021 would be considered near normal compared to the last three decades, before 1990 a year like this would be the second warmest in our national series that began in 1884.

Winter and spring were both near-normal compared to the climate of a few decades ago (1961-1990) but summer and autumn were much warmer (+1.5°C, +1.8°C). The UK continues to warm on a rate broadly consistent with, but slightly higher than, global temperature increases, with the most recent decade 1.0°C warmer than the 1961-1990 climate period. 2021 was the UK’s 18th warmest year in a series dating back to 1884.

Mike Kendon, from the Met Office National Climate Information Centre and lead author of the report, said: “As ever the weather we experienced in 2021 was highly variable, with extreme events like Storm Arwen bringing impacts to our daily lives. When considering the UK climate over the whole year it might seem rather unremarkable, however it is telling that whereas we consider 2021 as near-average for temperature in the context of the current climate, had this occurred just over three decades ago it would have been one of the UK’s warmest years on record. Although 1°C of warming might not sound like much, it has led to maximum temperatures like the 32.2°C we saw in 2021 becoming routine rather than the exception. This is particularly stark when considering the record breaking heat the UK experienced just last week.”

The report details notable weather events from 2021, putting them into the context of the UK’s climate. Events such as Storm Arwen in November, Storm Darcy in February, a new Northern Ireland temperature record in July and exceptional rain in October are all reviewed.

Scientists envisage climate change will severely impact bird communities by 2080 - Durham University

Leading ecologists from our Department of Biosciences and Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Germany have predicted in their latest research that bird communities will change worldwide in 2080 due to climate change, largely as result of shifting their ranges.

To predict changes in species distributions, the team of scientists related past bird distributions to climate data and then applied these relationships to two future climate scenarios – based on low and medium greenhouse gas emissions.

Phylogenetic diversity

The team looked not only at changes in numbers of species in areas but also at the types of species that would occur. To summarise changes in species types, they calculated something called phylogenetic diversity that summarises how many different types of birds would occur.

For example, a community that had a lot of closely-related species, such as insect-eating songbirds, would have a much lower phylogenetic diversity score than a community that included a mix of more distantly-related species, for example songbirds plus other species such as birds of prey, partridges or gulls.

Global warming on bird diversity

The researchers evaluated data for a total of 8,768 bird species globally to predict how many different lineages could be lost regionally, or added, as species respond to climate change by shifting their distributions.

Although the researchers project species losses to be most common in tropical and subtropical areas, phylogenetic restructuring of species communities is expected to occur around the world.

Examples of bird species that are currently increasing phylogenetic diversity in the UK, probably largely driven by climate change, include bee-eaters, a type of insect-eating bird, black-winged stilts and spoonbills, all of which normally breeds further south in Europe but now occasionally breeds in the UK.

Global warming may not be as bad for animal reproduction as thought, study suggests - University of Aberdeen

Animals are more likely to mate in warmer environments, a study analysing the impact of climate change on reproductive behaviour has found.

Looking at the impact of temperature changes on 22 species which included a huge variety of animals such as geckos, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and sea life, research from the University of Aberdeen suggests animals are more likely to mate at higher temperatures, contrary to what was expected.

The aim of the research was to increase the understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on mating patterns in animals.

Dr Natalie Pilakouta, Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Conservation in the School of Biological Sciences, said: “Our results suggest that climate change may not have as detrimental an effect on animal reproduction as we might assume. Contrary to what we expected, our main finding is that animals are more likely to mate with each other at higher temperatures. Previous research has typically focused on single species, making it difficult to generate general predictions for how animal populations will respond to climate change. This study has by contrast, brought together data from a series of published studies allowing us to detect common patterns across species. As a result, this has provided us with a powerful tool for better understanding the effects of rising temperatures on natural populations.”

Published in the Journal of Animal Ecology the findings could help scientists to predict the impact climate change will have on animal reproduction. It will also help with understanding how populations may be able to adapt to a warming world.

Dr Pilakouta added: “In light of global climate change, there is a pressing need to understand how populations will respond to rising temperatures. Understanding the effects of temperature changes on mating behaviour is particularly important, given its implications for population viability. Our research has looked at 53 studies carried out all over the world including in Asia, North America, Australia and the UK and is the first study of its kind. Disruption to animal populations due to human activity is a big conservation concern and this study is important in helping us understand these effects.”

Scientific Publications

Mundinger, C., Fleischer, T., Scheuerlein, A. & Kerth, G. Global warming leads to larger bats with a faster life history pace in the long-lived Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii). Communications Biology. DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-03611-6

Almost £5 million awarded to projects to fight climate change in Scotland - NatureScot

Almost £5 million has been today awarded to 46 projects in Scotland to improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species, improve biodiversity, and tackle climate change.

The Scottish Government’s annual Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot, funds projects that help Scotland's species, woodlands, rivers and seas, as well as improving the health and wellbeing of local communities. These projects will take practical steps to help against the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and restore Scotland’s natural environment.

Nature Restoration Fund - Spey Catchment Initiative - Large Woody Structure Installation - credit ScotlandBigPicture.com
Nature Restoration Fund - Spey Catchment Initiative - Large Woody Structure Installation - credit ScotlandBigPicture.com

Organisations granted funding include the following:

  • The Crail Community Partnership – to re-wild a former airfield at South Kilminning by turning tarmac into a wet wildflower meadow (£209,041).
  • Seawilding – to expand the existing seagrass meadows in Loch Craignish, leading to improvements in biodiversity, fish stocks, carbon storage, and coastal erosion prevention (grant of £200,946).
  • The Spey Catchment Initiative - to install 80 to 100 large natural woody structures within a 3.6-mile stretch of the upper Spey to improve in-stream habitats, which will benefit fish and river ecology and reduce flood risks. The work will also boost climate change resilience by creating cooler refuge areas to help aquatic life cope better with the threat of rising water temperatures. (£80,215).
  • Lockett Agri-Environmental – to create a wet woodland by diverting an artificially straightened watercourse back to a natural course spreading throughout the woodland (£39,150).

It is the second year of the project; in 2021, 54 projects were awarded funding. The Scottish Government announced an expansion to the Nature Restoration Fund in 2021, committing at least a further £55m over the next four years, with at least £12.5m annually.

Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: “We know that transformative change is needed in order to protect and restore terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity in Scotland. That’s why we established the £65 million Nature Restoration Fund for projects that help Scotland's species, woodlands, rivers and seas. These diverse, innovative projects are already bringing benefits across the country - not only to the environment, but also to the health and wellbeing of local communities. The Nature Restoration Fund is just one of the ways we are demonstrating our commitment to tackling biodiversity loss and restoring nature for future generations. Later this year we will publish an ambitious new biodiversity strategy which aims to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045.”

The Sizewell C Project development consent decision announced - Planning Inspectorate

Today, 20 July 2022, the Sizewell C Project application has been granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

The application involves the construction of a new nuclear power station producing reliable, low-carbon electricity to help Britain achieve Net Zero. It is intended that Sizewell C will generate enough low-carbon electricity to supply six million homes.

The application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration by NNB Nuclear Generation (SZC) Limited on 27 May 2020 and accepted for Examination on 24 June 2020.

Following an Examination during which the public, Statutory Consultees and Interested Parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, recommendations were made to the Secretary of State on 25 February 2022.

This is the 114th Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and 69th energy application to have been examined by The Planning Inspectorate within the timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008.

The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Sarah Richards said: “The Planning Inspectorate has now examined more than 100 nationally significant infrastructure projects since the Planning Act 2008 process was introduced, ensuring local communities have had the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them. This Examination took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions and the Examining Authority worked hard to ensure that local people, the local authorities – East Suffolk District and Suffolk County Council - and other Interested Parties were able to fully participate. The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to local views and the evidence gathered during the Examination before making its recommendation.”

Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the RSPB are very disappointed to learn that the Government has approved plans for Sizewell C - Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Suffolk Wildlife Trust is very disappointed to learn that the Government has approved plans for Sizewell C, a decision that goes against the advice of the Examiners. The proposed development will be damaging to nature. We will be reviewing the reasons for the decision over the coming weeks and will continue to work with RSPB and others in the best interests of wildlife. We thank everyone who has supported us throughout the planning process and we will do all we can for Suffolk’s important wildlife.

Ben McFarland, Head of Conservation at Suffolk Wildlife Trust says, "We've worked for over a decade to stand up for nature on this precious stretch of coast. During the consultation period, we've made some significant improvements for wildlife over the years, but we maintain that this is not a suitable location, it's far too important for wildlife. We're hugely disappointed."

Scientists embark on world-first study to reveal carbon stored in UK seas - The Wildlife Trusts

Mussel Bed. Credit: Paul Naylor
Mussel Bed. Credit: Paul Naylor

UK governments urged to protect blue carbon in marine habitats which is critical for tackling climate change 
Marine habitats are at risk of releasing carbon when damaged by bottom trawling as well as sea and coastal development

The UK will become the first nation to produce a complete map of its blue carbon stores, thanks to a new, pioneering project. 

The Blue Carbon Mapping project – led by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and funded by WWF-UK in collaboration with The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB – builds on the blue carbon mapping that began in Scotland. 

The final report will be produced by the summer of 2023, with initial findings expected later this year. 

There is currently limited information about how much carbon is stored in and sequestered by UK marine habitats such as saltmarsh, seagrass beds, kelp forest, biogenic reefs, and marine sediments. 

The project aims to address this scientific blind spot, paving the way for better understanding and protection of the UK’s blue carbon habitats. Scientists will assess the carbon storage and sequestration potential of all UK seas, as well as within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 

With two-thirds of the UK underwater, the study will be critical in helping the UK achieve its commitments to achieving net-zero and to protect at least 30% of UK seas for nature by 2030. 

Understanding and mapping blue carbon stores will allow UK Governments to plan and prioritise how we use our marine environments in the future. This includes exploring the impacts of human activities on blue carbon stores.  

Pollution and litter

Natural clean-up: bacteria can remove plastic pollution from lakes - University of Cambridge

Study lake in Norway. Credit: S.G.Woodman
Study lake in Norway. Credit: S.G.Woodman

A study of 29 European lakes has found that some naturally-occurring lake bacteria grow faster and more efficiently on the remains of plastic bags than on natural matter like leaves and twigs.

The bacteria break down the carbon compounds in plastic to use as food for their growth.

The scientists say that enriching waters with particular species of bacteria could be a natural way to remove plastic pollution from the environment.

The effect is pronounced: the rate of bacterial growth more than doubled when plastic pollution raised the overall carbon level in lake water by just 4%.

The results suggest that the plastic pollution in lakes is ‘priming’ the bacteria for rapid growth – the bacteria are not only breaking down the plastic but are then more able to break down other natural carbon compounds in the lake.

Lake bacteria were found to favour plastic-derived carbon compounds over natural ones. The researchers think this is because the carbon compounds from plastics are easier for the bacteria to break down and use as food.

The scientists caution that this does not condone ongoing plastic pollution. Some of the compounds within plastics can have toxic effects on the environment, particularly at high concentrations.

The findings are published today in the journal Nature Communications.

“It’s almost like the plastic pollution is getting the bacteria’s appetite going. The bacteria use the plastic as food first, because it’s easy to break down, and then they’re more able to break down some of the more difficult food – the natural organic matter in the lake,” said Dr Andrew Tanentzap in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences, senior author of the paper.

He added: “This suggests that plastic pollution is stimulating the whole food web in lakes, because more bacteria means more food for the bigger organisms like ducks and fish.”

The effect varied depending on the diversity of bacterial species present in the lake water – lakes with more different species were better at breaking down plastic pollution.

Read the paper: Sheridan, E.A. et al: ‘Plastic pollution fosters more microbial growth in lakes than natural organic matter.’ Nature Communications, 2022. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31691-9

Underwater noise pollution is risking the lives of whales and dolphins - Natural History Museum

Loud sound bursts are scaring cetaceans and causing them to flee into the depths of the ocean.

The noise is throwing their bodies out of balance and risking their health, amid growing concern over the impacts of anthropogenic noise pollution.

The hunt for fossil fuels is pushing cetaceans to their limit.

A recent study found that when narwhals exposed to seismic air guns, which are used for surveying in the oil and gas industry, they immediately begin diving to escape from the noise. These high-intensity dives use much more energy than normal and put the marine mammals' health at risk.

Lead author Professor Terrie Williams says, 'They're swimming as hard as they can to get away, and yet their heart rate is not increasing. We believe this is because of a fear response in the narwhals. This affects how much blood and oxygen can circulate, and that's going to be problematic for the animals.'

'Not only is this reaction costly in terms of the energy needed for diving, the escape time will also take away from time spent foraging for food and other normal behaviours.'

The study, published in the journal Functional Ecology, provides some of the first evidence of how the physiology of cetaceans is affected by loud noise immediately after exposure.

It adds to a growing body of evidence that has linked marine noise to strandings, decompression sickness and behavioural changes in whales and dolphins, putting pressure on populations which already face a range of challenges.

One-stop policy shop opens with solutions to end plastic pollution - University of Portsmouth

The Global Plastics Policy Centre (GPPC) online platform is the latest development from the University of Portsmouth’s Revolution Plastics research initiative.

Free to all, it is a “one stop shop” of independent, evidence-based advice on plastic policy. The new website is a knowledge sharing platform that comes under the GPPC umbrella, which was launched by Revolution Plastics at COP26.

Plastic pollution is exacerbating the climate crisis and reducing the resilience of communities and the natural world to cope with the effects of climate change. Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of being made and the vast majority isn’t recycled. Eleven million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. If nothing is done, it is estimated this figure will triple to nearly 29 million metric tons by 2040. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth believe action needs to be taken at the planning stage of plastic policy.

The GPPC online platform will give the latest guidance to anyone with an interest in plastics policy. The website is designed to give governments and businesses the evidence needed to make informed, evidence-based decisions around plastic policies. It is also aimed at giving citizens the knowledge to understand the actions their governments are taking. It will ultimately increase the accountability of policy makers in both government and businesses by identifying strengths and weaknesses of plastic policy action.

The launch of the GPPC online platform is well timed to support the international process to establish a global treaty to end plastic pollution. Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre at the University of Portsmouth, said: “By the end of 2024, the text of a new agreement to end plastic pollution should have been developed. Through the Global Plastics Policy Centre we can provide independent, evidence-based analysis and advice on plastics policy. We are now in a great position to feed our research into this ambitious process.”

Pandemic face masks could harm wildlife for years to come - Natural History Museum

The protective equipment that kept us safe during from COVID-19 could pose a lethal threat to nature.

While no longer as prevalent as they once were, the billions of face masks and gloves that were produced during the pandemic are making plastic pollution an ever-greater issue.

The use of face masks in nests risks chicks and their parents becoming entangled, which can be lethal. Image © Declan Friel
The use of face masks in nests risks chicks and their parents becoming entangled, which can be lethal. Image © Declan Friel

The impacts of COVID-19 go far beyond the disease itself, and are set to stay with us for centuries to come.

A study using community science observations from around the world found that disposable face masks and plastic gloves could pose an ongoing risk to wildlife for tens if not hundreds of years. Entanglements were one of the most prevalent threats, with some animals being killed after becoming caught in the plastic debris.

Dr Alex Bond, the Principal Curator and Curator in Charge of Birds at the Museum, was a co-author on the paper. 'Ultimately, we really don't know how big a problem pandemic waste could be,' Alex says. 'As many areas of the world had restrictions on non-essential movement, we will never be able to know the true extent of the issue, but this study gives us a snapshot into the sheer diversity of species that were affected.'

While the study captures only 114 observations from around the world, it is likely that it represents just a fraction of the much larger impacts of COVID-19 waste on wildlife.

With an estimated global demand of over 129 billion masks per month at the height of the pandemic, the effect of pandemic waste will become more pronounced as even more plastic works its way into our ecosystems.

'We filter out most litter in our environment, as it represents examples such as crisp packets or cigarette butts that we've seen for years or decades,' Alex adds. 'When PPE [personal protective equipment] flooded our waste management systems in the early days of the pandemic, it was a lot more obvious because it was new. Now we don't even flinch when we see a blue face mask on the ground. It's rapidly become part of our everyday experience of waste in our environment.'

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect plastic pollution?

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, it kickstarted what the scientists describe as an 'unprecedented increase in the production and use of single-use plastics.'

The market value of the PPE industry jumped by around 200 times in the first year of the pandemic as legal requirements were introduced in countries around the world to stem the spread of the virus.

Research shows potentially dangerous levels of medical drugs for wildlife in British rivers - Buglife

Wildlife charity Buglife are concerned that medical drugs are a widespread occurrence in rivers across Britain – the presence of these chemicals in our waterways may be contributing to the loss of freshwater life.

The drugs including painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and antidepressants are likely to contribute to the decline of freshwater invertebrates – like snails, shrimps, and mussels – by altering reproduction, behaviour, and development. Wastewater treatment works are a major source of contamination with concentrations for the 14 drugs examined exceeding recommended levels in discharges up to 94% of the time.

Pharmaceuticals are essential for human and animal health. However, increasingly they are recognised as environmentally damaging when they enter freshwater systems. To assess the potential risks and impacts posed by medical drugs in our waterways, Buglife examined concentration data across England, Scotland, and Wales, alongside current scientific research.

“Freshwaters are haemorrhaging biological diversity faster than any other ecosystem on earth. Whilst medicines are essential to human health, their residues are making our rivers sick, with commonplace drugs present in concentrations that are harmful to freshwater invertebrates. We need a prescription for our rivers that improves water treatment facilities, properly evaluates the risks, and reduces the opportunities for the most harmful substances to enter the water environment.” Craig Macadam, Conservation Director, Buglife.

Wastewater treatment works are not equipped to fully deal with medical drugs. Discharges of treated water contributed to significant concentration increases in downstream waters for half of the medicines examined. For instance, anti-inflammatory drugs Ibuprofen and Diclofenac were found in 84% and 34% of downstream samples.

View full “Pharmaceuticals in freshwater environments and their potential effects on freshwater invertebrates” report

Government sets out plan to reduce water pollution - Natural England

Plans will benefit protected wildlife sites and create new habitats for nature

New plans to help safeguard England’s precious protected sites by driving down nutrient pollution and allowing for the construction of sustainable new homes for families across the country were announced by the Government today (Wednesday 20 July).

Nutrient pollution is an urgent problem for freshwater habitats and estuaries which provide a home to wetland birds, fish and insects. Increased levels of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can speed up the growth of certain plants, disrupting natural processes and devastating wildlife. While the government has taken substantial steps to tackle the issue, today’s measure will fast track progress in hotspot areas while unlocking homebuilding across the country.

Due to excess levels of nutrients in certain English water catchments and as result of complex and bureaucratic EU-derived domestic legislation and case law, Local Planning Authorities can only approve a plan or a project if they are certain it will have no negative effect on legally protected sites for nature.

Natural England, in its statutory role as an adviser on the natural environment, has advised a total of 74 Local Planning Authorities on the nutrient impacts of new plans and projects on protected sites where those protected sites are in unfavourable condition due to excess nutrients.

Government plans announced today will see:

  • A new legal duty on water companies in England to upgrade wastewater treatment works by 2030 in ‘nutrient neutrality’ areas to the highest achievable technological levels.
  • A new Nutrient Mitigation Scheme established by Natural England, helping wildlife and boosting access to nature by investing in projects like new and expanded wetlands and woodlands. This will allow local planning authorities to grant planning permission for new developments in areas with nutrient pollution issues, providing for the development of sustainable new homes and ensuring building can go ahead. Defra and DLUHC will provide funding to pump prime the scheme.

Today’s measures will not only tackle the long-term issue of nutrient pollution by significantly reducing pollution from existing homes in sensitive areas. Developers will be able to purchase ‘nutrient credits’ which will discharge the requirements to provide mitigation.

Government set out new plans to supposedly reduce water pollution - WildFish

Yesterday (20th July 2022) the Government announced new plans to reduce water pollution by driving down nutrient pollution and allowing for the construction of sustainable new homes.

Make no mistake, these new plans are all about freeing up developers. They are not a serious attempt to address the problem at source.

Our message to Government and regulators alike, is that they should stop dreaming up new plans and new laws. Deliver on the plans we already have and enforce the law on sewage and on agricultural pollution that is already on the statute book and has been for years.

Only if this happens might we see some reduction in the pollution of our rivers.

In the announcement, DEFRA says that “as a result of complex and bureaucratic EU-derived domestic legislation and case law”, planning authorities have only been able to approve housing development if they are certain it will have no negative effect on legally protected sites for nature.

But what DEFRA calls a “complex and bureaucratic EU-derived domestic legislation and case law”, has been necessary to stop a complete free-for-all overwhelming rivers with nutrient pollution.

Sadly, the best anyone can honestly say is that DEFRA has presided, for the last 12 years, over the managed decline of rivers, in terms of the nutrient pollution they have endured, both from water company discharges of raw and under-treated sewage and from poor farming practices.

The Big Plastic Count Results Report is out - Greenpeace

the big plastic count results report front cover showing an image of lots of plastic

The CJS team took part in this plastic counting exercise and everyone was surprised to see how much plastic waste they produced.

The results show that UK households throw away nearly 100bn pieces of plastic packaging a year and only 12% of the single-use packaging used by households is sent for recycling. Shocking results from the Greenpeace project.

Some of the key findings:

  • Nearly a quarter of a million people counted 6,437,813 pieces of plastic packaging waste in just one week.
  • On average, each household threw away 66 pieces of plastic packaging in one week, which amounts to an estimated 3,432 pieces a year.
  • If the totals for count week are assumed to be typical, this indicates that UK households are throwing away an estimated 1.85 billion pieces a week, or 96.57 billion pieces a year.
  • The most commonly counted items were fruit and vegetable packaging (1.02 million pieces), closely followed by snack bags, packets and wrappers (1.01 million pieces), illustrating how difficult it is for shoppers to avoid packaging when purchasing these products.

Land and Countryside Management

Excellent news for our sector, hopefully this will translate in to jobs

Over 100 new and revamped parks to level up towns and cities across the UK - Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

The Levelling Up Parks Fund will create new and improved parks in urban areas, helping communities to come together and enjoy the outdoors.

  • People in urban areas set to benefit from initiative backed by £9 million of government funding
  • Parks to be created in neighbourhoods most deprived of green spaces
  • £2 million of total investment to support tree planting in new parks

People in towns and cities across the UK will benefit from over 100 new and improved green spaces on their doorstep through £9 million in government funding.

The Levelling Up Parks Fund will create new and improved parks in urban areas, helping communities to come together and enjoy the outdoors.

Launching the fund during Love Parks Week, the government hopes each new or improved green space will be an oasis for the local community, boosting creativity and positive mental health whilst also contributing to net zero ambitions.

In England, the cash will be given to councils to create or significantly revamp existing parks in 85 neighbourhoods most deprived of outdoor space. Areas set to benefit include Liverpool, Birmingham, Carlisle and 16 London boroughs.

The new parks will significantly increase access to quality green space for those who need it most, particularly supporting people without a garden to spend time with friends and family in the natural world.

From community gardens to formal greens and town parks – councils will be able to choose the nature and location of the new or improved parks in their local area, meaning that each green space will be as unique as the community it serves.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Greg Clark MP said: “Parks and green spaces are at the heart of our communities, providing sanctuary from the bustling streets of our towns and cities and spaces for people to relax and come together. Over the past few years, the importance of spending time with loved ones and getting outdoors has become even more apparent, and this latest government funding will help people living in urban areas do just that. I look forward to seeing the new parks come to life and making a real difference to people’s daily lives for years to come.”

Manchester’s new sky park set to open to the public - The National Trust

Visitors will soon be able to enjoy Manchester’s new sky park just five months after work began to transform a giant 330 metre steel viaduct into an elevated park with trees, plants and flowers.

Tackling the challenge of ‘greening’ Castlefield Viaduct and to celebrate this well-known, historic landmark, construction company MC Construction, Twelve architects, and four local partners have been working with National Trust gardening specialists and apprentices to create the new park with thousands of plants, shrubs and trees planted over the past five months.

With the final finishing touches now being made, the temporary urban park will open on Saturday 30 July for the next 12 months with green spaces stretching across the elevation.

Foreground is filled with lots of green plants of many different sorts, behind are two people in yellow hi-vis vests and whoite hard hats (back to camera) working to plant trees in a large rust coloured metal container. Behind everything is a complex network of metalwork, girders to one side and arching overhead with a woven effect metal cut out behind the planters.
National Trust gardeners planting trees, planting has turned Castlefield viaduct into a green sky park © National Trust Images / Annapurna Mellor

During this time, visitors will have the opportunity to explore part of the structure and find out more about the viaduct’s heritage, the city’s long relationship with plants and trees and learn urban gardening tips. They’ll experience a variety of planting displays as they walk along the viaduct while enjoying the elevated setting above the historic cobbled streets. They’ll also see the park develop and evolve, responding to the different seasons.

The conservation charity hopes to inspire and capture visitor and community opinions to help shape the longer-term future of the Grade II listed structure.

The design of the planters gives a subtle nod to the industrial architecture of the viaduct which was built in 1892 by Heenan and Froude, the engineers who worked on Blackpool Tower. The shape of the planters mirrors the curve of the viaduct and their width is the same as the railway tracks that once transported goods across the structure to the Great Northern Warehouse.

A section of the viaduct has also been left untouched to provide a sense of how nature has reclaimed the space since the site closed in the late 1960s.

Taking inspiration from what was already starting to grow naturally, much of the viaduct includes shrubs, ferns and grasses which frame the more colourful seasonal planting. Sections of the planting mimic the diamond shape of the viaduct’s criss-cross steelwork, achieved through diagonal blossom hedges and other plants.

Andy Jasper, National Head of Gardens & Parklands at the National Trust said: “Creating a garden on an industrial heritage structure such as this is new territory for us and we have created a test bed that represents how the park in the sky might be, if the people of Manchester want it. I cannot wait to see what people say and I am intrigued to see how the plant life will take in its new surroundings. With more than 3,000 individual plants planted in completely peat free growing media over the past couple of months, we’ve been literally trialling new planting techniques as we go – working with limited growing depths and thinking about how these plants will deal with the more challenging conditions of being 17 metres in the air. Due to weight limits on the structure, we have used a specially commissioned, extra light peat-free compost in all its planting on the viaduct. The planting will take a little while to establish and will develop through the seasons under the care of the Castlefield Gardener and volunteers. "

2,208 green spaces across UK to fly Green Flags with pride - Keep Britain Tidy

A record number of parks and green spaces across the UK reached the high standards required for a coveted Green Flag Award in 2022, environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy revealed today.

The scheme is celebrating as 2,208 parks – the largest number since the scheme began 26 years ago – are proudly preparing to raise their flags.

The Green Flag Award, the international quality mark for parks and green spaces, has seen successful submissions from local authorities and other land managers across the country for a range of sites, from world-famous city parks to unique green spaces.

Four parks that received their first Green Flag Award when the scheme was launched in 1996 have flown it every year since. They are:

  • Cockington Country Park – Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust
  • Worden Park – South Ribble Borough Council
  • Queen’s Park – City of London
  • Highgate Wood – City of London

They are joined by parks and green spaces as diverse as Overleigh Old Cemetery in Cheshire, Kings Heath Park in Birmingham and Walthamstow Wetlands in London.

In addition 133 of the winners have also received a Green Heritage Site Accreditation for the management of historic features, supported in England by Historic England. These include:

  • The Royal Pump Room Gardens – Warwick District Council
  • Birkenhead Park – Wirral Borough Council
  • Alexandra Park – Hastings Borough Council

Never before has the value of free to access parks and green spaces been more important, with parks continuing to provide a sanctuary for communities to engage with nature, improve their physical and mental health, play and come together.

That’s why it’s important that parks are managed to the Green Flag Award standard, which recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces.

Green Flags for 565 miles of our waterways - Canal and River Trust

We are announcing that over a quarter of our canal and river navigations, including urban canals in Manchester and Sheffield, Birmingham, and semi-rural stretches of river in Leicestershire and a navigation in Yorkshire, have been newly awarded prestigious Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy.

As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we secured a further 125 miles of Green Flag waterways across England and Wales, with 565 miles now holding the international quality mark for parks and green spaces. The Green Flags further demonstrate the renaissance of the nation’s 200-year-old canal network after a decade of being looked after by the charitable sector.

Where?

The Midlands saw seven new sites being awarded Green Flags, including sites in central Birmingham and Walsall as the community got involved in showcasing the waterways ahead of the Commonwealth Games. In Manchester and Sheffield, once unloved stretches of urban canal have been transformed into pleasant, wildlife-rich places for the surrounding communities to spend time. More rural stretches along the River Soar and Calder & Hebble Navigation were also recognised. The Kennet & Avon Canal, Macclesfield Canal and Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, together with Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool, the first marina in England to hold a Blue Flag, retained their status, along with 35 other sites.

The spread of Green Flags reflects both the increasing importance of the waterways as vibrant green spaces in the nation’s towns and cities and their longstanding value in providing popular, accessible beauty spots across the country.

Case studies in demand to highlight land and nature improvements - Scottish Land Commission

a family with a small child and pushchair walking on a bridge over a waterway
Claypits (Scottish Canals)

Land experts call for examples of good natural capital practice

Landowners and communities are being urged to celebrate work they are doing to improve land and resources that contribute to Scotland’s just transition to a net zero economy.

The Scottish Land Commission is calling on landowners of all types – private, public sector, NGOs, and charities, as well as community organisations, who are engaged in natural capital projects that create community benefit to come forward to be recognised for the work they are doing.

In partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Commission is working with Community Enterprise and Eunomia, to gather examples of projects that can be showcased as good practice and replicated across the sector. The projects and activities being sought are those that try to improve the way the land around them is used to help fight climate change.

With the growing interest in ‘natural capital’ (the renewable and non-renewable stocks of natural assets, including geology, soil, air, water, and plants and animals that combine to provide benefit to people) landowners and communities are being urged to think creatively about what the ‘community benefit’ of projects to improve natural capital can be.

Community benefit can include restoring peatland to reduce flood risk, training local people to plant trees, working with local communities on how to share the benefits of natural capital funding and much more.

Case studies of initiatives that set out to deliver community benefit, but face challenges and barriers – and how these can be overcome – are also welcome, to support learning around this relatively new area.

The case studies will be highlighted by the Commission to demonstrate how communities can get involved in improving the land and natural environment around them and the benefits they can experience because of this.

Farmers move forward on Broads peat restoration partnership - Broads Authority

A person squatting down looking at peat on wetland
Broads ecologist Andrea Kelly inspecting peat at wetland farming site (Broads Authority)

Over sixty people met (23 May) to explore ways of financing peatland restoration in the Broads and to find out how farming can protect the climate and future landscape.

Peatland restoration will play an increasingly important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural land. The group heard how the UK Climate Change Committee plans to restore three million hectares of peatland, and is expanding woodland across the UK, an area of 18 times the size of greater London.

While the Broads stores vast amounts of carbon, safely locked up in its wet fen and reedbeds, nearly a quarter of its deep peat soils are drained for agriculture, which releases greenhouse gases. In fact, around one million tonnes of carbon have been lost from the Broads in the past 40 years.

‘The Broads Peat Partnership’s introduction to carbon finance’ workshop, led by the Broads Authority, was held to raise awareness of emerging sources of income for nature restoration by Broadland farmers and land managers, and for them to find out how to join in.

The Partnership aims to overcome complex barriers to peatland restoration that exist in the Broads by demonstrating practical solutions for new peatland economics.

National Trust teams up with Severn Trent to help nature and benefit more people at reservoir sites in Derbyshire - National Trust

The National Trust and Severn Trent have announced a new partnership to benefit people and nature at two reservoir sites in Derbyshire – Foremark Water and Staunton Harold Water.

A jay copyright National Trust Images/Derek Hatton
A jay copyright National Trust Images/Derek Hatton

The new collaboration between the UK’s largest conservation charity and the country’s second biggest water company, starts later this month. Severn Trent will continue to manage water at the sites – reservoirs and water supplies - while the National Trust will use its expertise in conservation and caring for buildings, landscapes and estates to boost biodiversity and further enhance the site for visitors.
While the Trust often works with water companies on conservation projects, this is the first time the charity will take on the long-term management of two reservoir sites, with the agreement initially for 25 years.
Both reservoirs are near Calke Abbey, a country house estate in excess of 2,000 acres, which is cared for by the National Trust. Together the three places represent a diverse mix of habitats for wildlife including four sites of special scientific interest, heath grassland, ancient woodland and open water, which are home to species such as ivy-leaved bellflower, giant bellflower, heather and digger wasp, which is nationally scarce. They are also good places to spot buzzards, jays and great-spotted woodpeckers.
Stewart Alcock, General Manager at National Trust Calke Abbey, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be working with Severn Trent on this new partnership, which will enable us to manage the land for both people and nature, improving levels of biodiversity to help tackle the nature crisis. We have a shared ambition to enrich environments and create strong connections between people, places and nature. Working together we can build on our strengths to benefit visitors, the natural world and the provision of high-quality water. Both Foremark and Staunton Harold have areas of woodland and grassland, and by working together we’ll be able to improve habitat quality and create more connectivity both within and beyond the sites.”

UK horticulture sector reports significant drop in the use of peat - Horticultural Trades Association

There has been a dramatic drop in the amount of peat used in compost according to new report led by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and Growing Media Association (GMA). The shift is because of UK suppliers, growers and retailers working together to develop new products and alternatives.

The annual Growing Media Monitor indicates that the use of peat in the retail sector fell from 35.5 percent in 2020 to 29.8 percent in 2021.

During the same period, wood-based alternatives in compost used by UK consumers overtook peat for the first time.

Meanwhile, 2021 saw the most substantial reduction in the use of peat by commercial growers in a decade. They grow the plants and trees sold for our gardens, streets & parks, and which provide fruit, herbs, salads and veg seedlings, and peat fell from 62.3 percent to 51.7 percent.

James Barnes, chair of the HTA said: “These findings demonstrate that our industry is making dramatic and effective strides to voluntarily reducing peat use and that industry led initiatives are already making great progress. We have committed to the removal of peat from compost in retail as early as 2025 and we continue to work with the government on finding pragmatic solutions for a transition to peat-free products. However, to allow us to accelerate this progress we urgently need the government to put its energies into addressing the barriers to alternatives rather than legislating for a goal that the industry is well on track to meeting.”

There are still significant challenges to removing peat from some horticultural crops in Britain and critical to the success of the transition is the availability of alternatives. For example, while the use of wood-based materials has increased, competition and demand from other industries is a considerable barrier. Use of coir fell in 2021 compared with 2020 as shipping routes from India were disrupted during the pandemic, which also illustrates some of the vulnerabilities in the supply chain of peat alternatives to the UK.

Cheshire nature reserve set to be lost to HS2 - Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Sean Hawkins nature reserve will be compulsory purchased by HS2 Ltd despite objections.

Sean Hawkins nature reserve, home to endangered water voles, is set to be compulsory purchased by HS2 Ltd for major utility works associated with building HS2 – the high-speed rail line.

Much of the land surrounding the nature reserve is also under threat from HS2 Ltd plans to cut through this tranquil valley – including the ancient woodland at Millington Clough.

The nature reserve is special for wildlife – it has a beautiful wildflower meadow and water voles thrive in the Agden brook. In summer, orange-tip butterflies can be seen searching for places to lay eggs; in spring the valley is washed with a rich purple and gold tapestry of bluebells and marsh marigolds, and in autumn sycamore trees burn red as they don their richest colours.

Soon all this could be obliterated by High Speed 2.

Dr Rachel Giles of Cheshire Wildlife Trust says: “It’s extremely sad to lose Sean Hawkins Meadow, a wonderful place that was donated to us for the benefit of nature. You only need look at Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve in Buckinghamshire to see what will happen to this wildlife stronghold when HS2 Ltd’s chainsaws and bulldozers move in. The injustice is exacerbated by the lack of plans to make up for this huge loss. We’re not aware of any specific proposals to compensate for the loss of the nature reserve and only 1.5 hectares of new plantation is proposed for the loss of the neighbouring ancient woodland. There are no current plans to catch and relocate the water voles during the construction process. This is unacceptable and is in part due to HS2 failing to use the information that we have provided them. We’re seeing this same story the entire length of the HS2 line. A stretch of 330 miles of special places – nature reserves, Local Wildlife Sites, ancient woodlands and hedgerows – are being damaged with no adequate compensation plans to make up for the loss. There’s a complete lack of recognition for the staggering scale of the damage that HS2 is causing.”

Woodland, Forestry and Trees

Peak District project will put down roots for landmark woodland legacy - Peak District National Park Authority

The Peak District National Park Authority and the Woodland Trust have agreed a landmark collaboration to help increase native woodland in the National Park.

The £1m project will see some 105 hectares (400 acres) – more than 260 football-pitches – of new native woodland created across the next 3 years, supported by a dedicated Woodland Creation officer.

The programme will provide a significant boost to six years of previous work by the Authority on similar projects, which has increased woodland creation by around 15 hectares (37 acres) a year in the National Park.

The project will involve designing and then overseeing the planting of schemes, and supporting landowners to monitor and maintain sites to ensure the woodlands successfully establish.

Local farmers and landowners will be involved in helping to locate and develop the new woodland sites, which will be carefully selected based on their suitability for planting.

Each new Peak District planting site will contribute to the larger Northern Forest that stretches from Liverpool to the Yorkshire coast, and will be delivered via the Defra-Nature for Climate Fund, which supports the Northern Forest Partnership ‘Grow Back Greener’ programme.

Woodlands: Best of the Best in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - Royal Forestry Society

Three people and two dogs standing in a clearing in woodland
In Shere Manor Estate's award winning woods (English Woodlands Forestry Ltd)

Four special woods and two educational programmes have been named by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) as the Best of the Best in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Following five years of regional Excellence in Forestry Award competitions the winners in five different categories went head-to-head this year.

Winners include: Shere Manor Estate in Surrey, England, an extensive area of pine plantation being converted to continuous cover forestry alongside management for biodiversity; Bramshill Plantation – a restored quarry in Hampshire; the remarkable Slieve Gullion Forest Park now one of the premier countryside attractions in Northern Ireland and a small farm woodland in Wales doing big things to promote timber culture.

Tying for Best of the Best education projects were Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire and Coleg Glynlifon in North Wales. Hill Holt Wood is an Environmental Social Enterprise providing education, training and employment for young people, many of whom have special needs. Coleg Glynlifon offers hands-on practical experiences within their Level 2 & 3 BTECs Countryside and Forestry courses.

RFS Chief Executive Christopher Williams said: “All these woodlands are beacons of excellence. They are examples of how different types of woodland needs to be managed and developed in the future. Woodlands like these help tackle the challenges of climate change. They provide benefit to communities and help our environment and local economies. By shining a spotlight on what they are doing we can help others adapt their woodlands."

Silviculture Award: Tom Compton, Director at English Woodlands Forestry Ltd said: “Shere Manor Estate, and their land agents Batcheller Monkhouse, have provided us with a fantastic opportunity. We have evolved our management processes with the estate for over 15 years. That has meant responding to site conditions and to developments in resilience and sustainable management. The estate offers a mosaic of habitats. It supports some rare protected species. It also provides fantastic recreation opportunities for the local community. Moving to continuous cover forestry whilst respecting these features is a very rewarding journey. It has been dependent on a fantastic team of skilled contractors from Powell Forestry.”

Seasalt partners with Cornwall Wildlife Trust on pioneering seagrass restoration project - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Hermit crab in eelgrass, credit Paul Naylor
Hermit crab in eelgrass, credit Paul Naylor

The launch of a new project to restore Cornwall’s carbon-capturing seagrass meadows has been announced today during National Marine Week.

Funded by clothing brand Seasalt Cornwall and implemented by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the ‘Seeding Change Together’ project aims to restore intertidal seagrass found in the Fal Estuary.

Seagrass plays a critical role in absorbing and storing the world’s coastal blue carbon. Using technology never previously trialled in Cornwall before, marine experts will identify and test restoration methods that can be scaled up in the fight against climate change.

The three-year project, based at Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Fal Ruan nature reserve, will begin with an important research and development phase. The Trust will conduct on-site and aerial surveys, as well as water quality tests, to better understand the environmental conditions affecting the seagrass beds. Thousands of seeds will then be collected and planted by volunteers.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust hopes its conservation efforts will expand the size of the reserve’s seagrass bed. Learnings from the project could also identify additional locations for seagrass restoration in the River Fal.

Matt Slater, Marine Conservation Officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: “Many people don’t realise we have seagrass in our UK waters and, sadly, it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. But these underwater meadows are sometimes called the ‘lungs of the sea’ because of their incredible ability to store massive amounts of carbon. We want to see seagrass habitats in Cornwall restored towards their historical levels and for seagrass to be present in all locations that could support it. This partnership with Seasalt will allow us to make headway towards that goal. The first phase of the project involves studying this wonder-plant and understanding the conditions that it needs to thrive. We can’t wait to share the results with you in the future.”

Recreation and Visitor Management

Better Places Green Recovery funding awarded for 2022 visitor season - NatureScot

Almost £1.5m in funding for extra rangers at Scotland’s nature hot spots this summer.

Many of Scotland’s most popular natural sites are to receive a staffing boost this summer, with Scottish Government funding of almost £1.5 million to support better visitor management and help safeguard the environment for visitors and local communities.

The NatureScot Better Places Green Recovery funding will go directly to 48 countryside, coast and island projects across Scotland, enabling an additional 94 rangers and 15 visitor operations staff to be employed this summer across Scotland.

The extra ‘boots on the ground’ will promote the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) and help manage visitor pressure in the North and West Highlands, the islands and the NC500; Highland Perthshire; Cairngorms National Park; Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park; East Lothian, the Pentland Hills and a variety of other locations across Scotland such as the Aberdeenshire and Moray beaches and Loch Ken in Dumfries and Galloway.

Funding has been awarded to 35 organisations - 10 community groups, 13 local authorities, nine voluntary sector bodies, two countryside trusts and one private company (details in Notes below). It complements additional investment in rangers and visitor operations made this year by NatureScot, Forest and Land Scotland, the National Park Authorities and Scottish Water to support the management of busy outdoor places such as the National Nature Reserves, Parks, reservoirs and forests.

Have we all lost our sense of direction? - Ordnance Survey

With National Map Reading Week taking place from Monday July 11, latest survey results from OS reveal just how cautious British adults are about getting lost and exploring off the beaten track.

A new study shows that despite four out of 10 adults getting outside more in Britain compared to last year, the nation’s appetite for adventure was being hindered by a lack of confidence in map reading skills.

The findings come from Ordnance Survey, which has launched National Map Reading Week to inspire people of all ages and interests to brush up on their map reading skills essential to helping them explore more, find new adventures and make lasting memories.

The survey of 2,000 adults, carried out by One Poll, found more than a quarter (27%) of Brits claim they’ve never been taught how to read a map and even those who have say they still don’t know how to read one (14%).

31% of Brits are worried they might get lost when they are out walking, and many adults say they are cautious and much happier if they’re walking with someone else (46%). It explains why tried and tested walks in Britain’s national parks remain the most popular, with Edale in Derbyshire’s Peak District ranked the number one route among UK walkers for the third year running, followed by Ambleside and Grasmere in the Lake District according to 2022 OS Maps app data.

When it comes to getting lost, more than half (56%) of walkers admit they’ve gone astray because they can’t use a map or follow an app correctly, with 39% resorting to calling friends and family, 26% flagging down help, and 10% reporting calling upon mountain or clifftop rescue to get home.

Despite all this, the pandemic has got Brits outdoors more and many were finding unexpected hidden gems. Around a quarter (23%) of people who are out and about on walks found one just in the last week.

Record visit numbers show we are a nation that love our forests more! - Forestry England

Forestry England, the country’s largest land manager, has recorded the highest ever number of visits to the nation’s forests across England over the last year.

Some 363 million visits were estimated to have taken place – an increase of 67 million (over 20% per cent) compared to the previous year’s estimate. This is the second consecutive year we have seen a substantial increase, showing that connection to nature has continued to be vital to people since the pandemic.

Many people visited the nation’s forests for the first time during the pandemic as they offered a space where people could relax, exercise, and meet family and friends. Since then, the nation’s forests have continued to make visitors feel safe and welcome and people have begun to visit more frequently, with more people visiting between once a month and twice a week.

Forestry England has also seen an increase in visitors deepening their connection with the forest landscape and becoming supporters of the forests they love with membership up by 38% from the previous year.

The end of COVID-19 measures has also meant that Forestry England has restarted hugely popular events and activities, welcoming visitors to Forestry England sites across the country. From inspiring arts programmes, sports and physical activities and historical sites to mindful moments, there is something for everyone.

Hayley Skipper, Forestry England Director of Commercial Visitor Development says “The nation’s forests are a living treasure for us all and are among the most popular natural spaces in the country. We want to go further and will keep developing our offer to reach out to new audiences and to make everyone feel welcome in these shared public spaces. They are a space for everyone, and this astounding number of visits shows the value they hold. In 2021 we worked hard to develop products that reflect the richness and diversity of the nation’s forests and welcome visitors to explore, play and have adventures.”

Recognition and awards

Scotland’s wildlife conservation charity brings home 10 awards - RZSS

Three meerkats looking at the award and prize
(RZSS)

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has won 10 awards for its ground-breaking science, conservation, animal care and education work in Scotland and around the world.

Staff at the wildlife conservation charity started off their summer of success by taking home the People’s Choice Award at the Scottish Charity Awards in June, voted for by members of the public. This was followed by the Forth Visitor Attraction Award for Edinburgh Zoo at the Forth Awards later that month.

Most recently, at the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquarium (BIAZA) awards, RZSS was awarded five gold, one silver and two bronze awards.

David Field, RZSS CEO, said, “It is truly wonderful to be recognised by both the public and zoo community for our charity’s dedication and cutting-edge work at the recent award ceremonies. Our teams have an incredible breadth of expertise, from our work protecting species in Scotland and around the world, to making Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park wonderful places where people can visit to learn about and connect with nature.”

RZSS achieved wins for their work with the Scottish Beavers Reinforcement Project, conservation genetics capacity building in Cambodia and conservation research for the Saving Wildcats partnership project.

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 October 2022.

Online Events

23/08/2022 Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water at Online and in Stockholm, Sweden 10 Days

Stockholm International Water Institute Contact: www.worldwaterweek.org/

Welcome to the leading conference on global water issues. World Water Week is the place to explore new ways of managing water and tackle humanity’s greatest challenges: from food security and health to agriculture, technology, biodiversity, and climate.

30/08/2022 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference: Geographies beyond recovery at Newcastle University / Hybrid 4 Days

Royal Geographical Society Contact: c-js.info/3cwNuXN

20/10/2022 London Recorders Day 2022 1 Day
Natural History Museum (London) and Virtual, FSC BioLinks. Contact: biolinks@field-studies-council.org https://c-js.info/3NOXQiG

  

Online Learning - Short Courses

19/09/2022 Transforming Environmental Data in R 2.5 Days

Online, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology 01491 69 2225 c-js.info/317vCcn

This 2-day interactive online course will help you understand the benefits of data transformation tools (such as R). The course includes an "Introduction to R" session. You will learn about aspects such as auditable workflow, repeatability, time-saving, improving efficiency and reduced risk of data loss From £409.
03/10/2022 Around Britain in 20 Ferns and their allies Online 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539 bookings@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk c-js.info/3nyGj1z

Online course looking at ferns and fern allies, covering all the commonly found species as well as a few rarer specialities.

Cost £45

03/10/2022 Online Woodland Activity Leader Training Theory 4 Days

Online, Wild Things 01309 690450 training@wild-things.org.uk c-js.info/3vQ60zU

Join us online to take the theory part of this course. You will be fully supported during these sessions by a qualified instructor. Then complete the qualification with a 3 day practical course in Findhorn. Learn to lead outdoor groups and gain the skills and confidence you need.

Cost £200

07/10/2022 Discovering Amphibians: Identification and Ecology

Online, Field Studies Council ecoskills@field-studies-council.org c-js.info/3OKDg44

This introductory course will introduce you to the key characteristics of amphibians, and will then look more in-depth into the identification and ecology of UK species. It's a great introduction for anyone with an interest and for those looking at taking their first steps into an ecology career.

10/10/2022 How to survey and assess hedgerows using the Hedgerow Regulations Online 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539 bookings@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk c-js.info/3nyGj1z

A half-day online course which will teach participants how to get to grips with the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations.

Cost £40

12/10/2022 Fungi Field Skills

Online, Field Studies Council ecoskills@field-studies-council.org c-js.info/3OTuMHS

This online beginner fungi course is a starting guide to the skills and knowledge required to begin identifying UK fungi in the field. This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about the fungi around them and start to identify fungi groups.

13/10/2022 Dogs in public spaces - behaviour change without enforcement 1 Day
Virtual, Keep Britain Tidy. Contact: 07966491963 training@keepbritaintidy.org https://c-js.info/3uKanNy
This half day virtual course will provide delegates with a heightened understanding of why walkers with dogs do what they do in the outdoors, and how best to influence their behaviours using a wide range of practical interventions from across the UK and internationally.

14/10/2022 Water Vole Ecology, Mitigation and Live-Capture Techniques 1 Day

Online (Zoom), Mammal Society 02380 010983 training@themammalsociety.org c-js.info/3LwhFLs

Designed for professionals, and assumes some prior experience of water vole ecology.

Cost £45+

15/10/2022 Eco Refurbishment: Live online 2 Days

Online, Centre for Alternative Technology 01654 704966 courses@cat.org.uk c-js.info/3BlcJUA

On this new online version of our popular Eco Refurbishment course, you?ll learn from one of the UK?s leading experts on eco refurbishment and discover what key improvements you can make to transform houses and buildings into cosy, low impact, energy-efficient homes.

17/10/2022 Using drones to map habitats 2 Days

Online, c-js.info/38uo5sF

This self-paced on-demand ONLINE course will give you the skills to take images from a UAV platform, process them and generate classified images. It will teach you the steps to produce high quality and accurate maps of vegetation and landforms. You will do exercises practising and consolidating your learning.

17/10/2022 Evidence Synthesis (on-demand) 1 Day

Online, c-js.info/2eKgKwG

This self-paced on-demand ONLINE course gives you the knowledge, skills and confidence to carry out an Evidence Review Synthesis for an area of natural environment research. You will gain & improve skills in undertaking an evidence review. The training involves a min-QSR exercise, developing review questions & undertaking a review.

17/10/2022 Train the Online Trainer (on demand) 2 Days

Online, c-js.info/31iHWaV

This training course will give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to train other people in formal and informal situations. How to communicate and share your expertise via coaching, training courses, workshops, teaching and knowledge sharing. You can do this any time and at your own pace (on-demand course)

17/10/2022 Ozone and tropical Agriculture 1 Day

Online, c-js.info/3sF3bl1

This online course introduces the threat posed by ground-level ozone pollution to tropical agriculture. You will get the knowledge, skills & confidence to identify when & where ozone is likely to pose a threat to tropical crops. You will gain the skills to identify ozone damage in tropical crop species.

Above courses with UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Contact: 01491692225 UKCEHtraining@ceh.ac.uk

21/10/2022 GIS for Beginners: Guide & Application 2 Days

Online, Surrey Wildlife Trust 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk c-js.info/3zhadyE

Learn how to capture and manipulate data using a Geographic Information System. This is a 2 day online course which requires access to 2 full screens.

Cost £72.00

25/10/2022 How to prepare and deliver tool box talks 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07846 694 618 janette@ecologyservice.co.uk c-js.info/2K7xg9M

The fourth in a series of four courses. A must-have approach to help you make judgements of all types of mitigation and compensation schemes.

Cost £30 plus VAT

25/10/2022 Discovering Earthworms (Online) 1 Day

Online, FSC BioLinks biolinks@field-studies-council.org c-js.info/3NQZnov

This course will arm beginners with the underpinning knowledge needed of earthworm biology, ecology, behaviour and diversity to embark on their earthworm journey, as well as putting this knowledge into practice by finding earthworms in their natural habitat and categorising them into one of four ecological categories.

Cost £20

26/10/2022 Conservation Project Management & Design - Online Training Programme

Online, Conservation Careers mail@conservation-careers.com c-js.info/3JvCVAA

Gain key skills in managing and designing conservation projects using the Conservation Standards – the leading approach within the sector. Conservation Project Management & Design is a NEW online training programme which follows the best-in-class Conservation Standards methodology, taught by Certified Conservation Standards Coach, Facilitator and Coach Trainer Felix Cybulla.

Cost £195

28/10/2022 Dormice and Development - Online 1 Day

Online (Zoom), Mammal Society 02380 010983 training@themammalsociety.org c-js.info/3MAf3fB

Designed for consultants or those needing to learn about dormouse legislation. From ?45

Cost £45+

31/10/2022 Aquatic Plant ID Online 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539 bookings@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk c-js.info/3nyGj1z

Online course looking at the key aquatic species of streams, rivers and ponds in lowland Britain

Cost £45

  

Events

10/10/2022 Wildscreen Festival 2022 5 Days
Bristol, Wildscreen. Contact: https://www.wildscreen.org/festival/

12/10/2022 2022 Forestry Conference: Building resilience together 1 Day
Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire, Country Land & Business Association Limited (CLA). Contact: https://c-js.info/3Jz2uB2
The biggest event in the CLA South East calendar, foresters, land managers and landowners from across the area will hear from a range of experts and case studies, share experiences, network and collaborate. This year’s conference theme is 'Building resilience together', and will feature sessions on topics such as ELM, plant health, carbon and woodland management, among others.

15/10/2022 Conservation Detection Dog Conference 2022 1 Day
Reaseheath College, Rease Heath, CW5 6DF, Kryus Ltd. Contact: https://c-js.info/3ReYubZ

17/10/2022 Protect Hampshire’s Environment Eco Conference 1 Day
Winchester College, College Street, Winchester, SO23 9NA, Hampshire Youth Parliament. Contact: https://c-js.info/3uwwnLJ

26/10/2022 Saving Species Conference 1 Day
Central Church, Tor Hill Road, Torquay, TQ2 5RF, Conservation Chat UK. Contact: https://c-js.info/3up1gBF

  

Short Courses - Face to face / on-site

Community Engagement and Environmental Education

05/10/2022 Forest School Assistant (Level 2) Training Course 4.5 Days at Daventry Country Park, Daventry, Northamptonshire
The Level 2 Award for Forest School Assistants qualification is for people wishing to assist with Forest School sessions and for those already assisting and wishing to gain an accredited qualification

05/10/2022 Forest School Leader (Level 3) Training Course 5.5 Days at Daventry Country Park, Daventry, Northamptonshire
The Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders qualification is the professional standard needed to lead and create your own Forest School Project

10/10/2022 Forest School Assistant (Level 2) Training Course 4.5 Days at Archway House West Woodlands, Kings Clipstone, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
The Level 2 Award for Forest School Assistants qualification is for people wishing to assist with Forest School sessions and for those already assisting and wishing to gain an accredited qualification

10/10/2022 Forest School Leader (Level 3) Training Course 5.5 Days at Archway House West Woodlands, Kings Clipstone, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
The Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders qualification is the professional standard?needed to lead and create your own Forest School Project

Above courses with Forge Learning. Contact: 07807620976 sarah@forge-learning.co.uk https://c-js.info/3IuvrvZ

15/10/2022 Woodland Activity Leader Training 7 Days
Findhorn, Wild Things. Contact: 01309 690450 enquiries@wild-things.org.uk https://c-js.info/2X1V6W8
If you are interested in enhancing your skills to lead groups in a woodland environment, this course will provide you with the learning and knowledge you require. Woodland Activity Leader Training is an accredited outdoor learning course and an alternative to forest school training

19/10/2022 Level 1 - Award in Forest School Principles 2 Days
This course is aimed at those who are interested in learning more about the Forest School approach to learning and who would like to help out at an existing Forest School.?

19/10/2022 Level 2 - Forest School Assistant 4 Days
This course is designed for individuals wishing to assist with the delivery of a forest school programme.

Above two courses at Foxburrow Farm, Woodbridge, Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01473 890089 accreditedtraining@suffolkwildlifetrust.org https://c-js.info/35jNH7N

25/10/2022 How to prepare and deliver tool box talks 0.5 Day
Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd. Contact: 07846 694 618 janette@ecologyservice.co.uk https://c-js.info/2K7xg9M
The fourth in a series of four courses. A must-have approach to help you make judgements of all types of mitigation and compensation schemes.

28/10/2022 Woodland Activity Leader Training Practical 3 Days
Findhorn, Wild Things. Contact: 01309 690450 training@wild-things.org.uk https://c-js.info/3vQ60zU
Once you have completed the theory part of this course online finish the qualification with this 3 day practical to gain the full accredited qualification. Please note, you need to have completed the theory part of the course before moving onto the practical.

31/10/2022 Forest School Leader (Level 3) Training Course 5.5 Days
The Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders qualification is the professional standard needed to lead and create your own Forest School Project

31/10/2022 Forest School Assistant (Level 2) Training Course 4.5 Days
The Level 2 Award for Forest School Assistants qualification is for people wishing to assist with Forest School sessions and for those already assisting and wishing to gain an accredited qualification

Above two courses at Tudor Grange Samworth Academy, Leicester with Forge Learning. Contact: 07807620976 sarah@forge-learning.co.uk https://c-js.info/3IuvrvZ


Horticulture and Small Holding

08/10/2022 Apple Day and Orchard Wassailing 1 Day
Cotesbach (near Lutterworth), Cotesbach Educational Trust. Contact: 01455 558 373 hello@cotesbacheducationaltrust.org.uk https://c-js.info/34O8HZq
Formative and winter fruit-tree pruning course, with a focus on Apple trees. Suitable for beginners onwards.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

01/10/2022 Encountering the Spiders of Oxfordshire 1 Day
Rewley House, Oxford, University of Oxford. Contact: 01865 270368 ppdayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk https://c-js.info/3bfzoK7
Spiders play an extremely important role as general insect predators in both natural and urban habitats. Come along and learn about the fascinating spiders in our gardens, parks and nature reserves with two local spider experts – Lawrence Bee and Dr Thomas Hesselberg.

03/10/2022 Learn to Love Springtails 1 Day
https://c-js.info/3RgQmba
If you're interested in finding out more about springtails but don't feel ready for a beginner's ID workshop, then this is the course for you. Learn To Love' is a gentle introduction to the UK species, introducing aspects of their biology, ecology and behaviour.

04/10/2022 Invertebrate Volunteer ID Day 1 Day

https://c-js.info/3yJPd4B
Our Invertebrate Volunteer ID Days are opportunities for people to come to our centres to use our lab facilities, microscopes, identification guides and other resources. They are free to attend, and they will improve your entomology knowledge and skills (booking is essential).

05/10/2022 Cranefly Identification with Microscopes: Species 1 Day
https://c-js.info/3yMgcfN
On this course you can delve into the identification of craneflies through the use of keys and gain an introduction to the species in the UK. Guided by our experienced tutor this course aims to familiarise participants with the techniques and characteristics that aid identification.

Above three courses at FSC Bishops Wood, Worcestershire, FSC BioLinks. Contact: biolinks@field-studies-council.org

07/10/2022 Discovering Amphibians: Identification and Ecology Day
Online, Field Studies Council. Contact: ecoskills@field-studies-council.org https://c-js.info/3OKDg44
This introductory course will introduce you to the key characteristics of amphibians, and will then look more in-depth into the identification and ecology of UK species. It's a great introduction for anyone with an interest and for those looking at taking their first steps into an ecology career.

07/10/2022 Soil Invertebrate Field Recorder Day 1 Day at Tolworth Court Farm, London

https://c-js.info/3NQfAKk
Join like-minded people with an interest in field recording for a day identifying and surveying invertebrates in an informal environment at Tolworth Court Farm. At over 50ha its size and location along the chalk stream of the Hogsmill River in Kingston mean it is an important place for nature.

11/10/2022 Solitary Wasp ID with Microscopes 1 1 Day at FSC London: Bushy Park

https://c-js.info/3Rg60n0
On this course you can delve into the identification of solitary wasps through the use of keys and gain an introduction to the species in the UK. Guided by our experienced tutor this course aims to familiarise participants with the techniques and characteristics that aid identification.

12/10/2022 Solitary Wasp ID with Microscopes 2 1 Day at FSC London: Bushy Park

https://c-js.info/3NOBGNx
On this course you can delve into the identification of solitary wasps through the use of keys and gain an introduction to the species in the UK. Guided by our experienced tutor this course aims to familiarise participants with the techniques and characteristics that aid identification.

18/10/2022 Invertebrate Volunteer ID Day 1 Day at FSC Bishops Wood, Worcestershire

https://c-js.info/3PagItz
Our Invertebrate Volunteer ID Days are opportunities for people to come to our centres to use our lab facilities, microscopes, identification guides and other resources. They are free to attend, and they will improve your entomology knowledge and skills (booking is essential).

18/10/2022 Invertebrate Volunteer ID Day 1 Day at FSC London: Bushy Park

https://c-js.info/3bKlFL5
Our Invertebrate Volunteer ID Days are opportunities for people to come to our centres to use our lab facilities, microscopes, identification guides and other resources. They are free to attend, and they will improve your entomology knowledge and skills (booking is essential).

19/10/2022 Field Identification of Centipedes 1 Day at FSC Bishops Wood, Worcestershire

https://c-js.info/3NNwCJ5
On this course you will learn about centipede classification and how their morphology and ecology are interconnected. Plus, identification of distinctive species of centipedes using a hand lens and field characteristics with support from an expert tutor.

25/10/2022 Invertebrate Volunteer ID Day 1 Day at FSC London: Bushy Park

https://c-js.info/3NNwIjV
Our Invertebrate Volunteer ID Days are opportunities for people to come to our centres to use our lab facilities, microscopes, identification guides and other resources. They are free to attend, and they will improve your entomology knowledge and skills (booking is essential).

25/10/2022 Field ID of Springtails 1 Day at FSC Bishops Wood, Worcestershire

https://c-js.info/3NOXN6u
On this course you will learn about springtail classification and how their morphology and ecology are interconnected. Plus, identification of distinctive species of springtails using a hand lens and field characteristics with support from an expert tutor.

26/10/2022 Field Identification of Woodlice 1 Day at FSC London: Bushy Park

https://c-js.info/3GYqXgN
On this course you will learn about woodlice classification and how their morphology and ecology are interconnected. Plus, identification of distinctive species of woodlice using a hand lens and field characteristics with support from an expert tutor.

26/10/2022 Cranefly Volunteer ID Day 1 Day at FSC Bishops Wood, Worcestershire

https://c-js.info/3PczG2u
Our Invertebrate Volunteer ID Days are opportunities for people to come to our centres to use our lab facilities, microscopes, identification guides and other resources. They are free to attend, and they will improve your entomology knowledge and skills (booking is essential).

27/10/2022 Woodlice Identification with Microscopes 1 Day at FSC London: Bushy Park

https://c-js.info/3Ar6oqL
On this course you can delve into the identification of woodlice through the use of keys and gain an introduction to the species in the UK. Guided by our experienced tutor this course aims to familiarise participants with the techniques and characteristics that aid identification.

Above courses with FSC BioLinks. Contact: biolinks@field-studies-council.org


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

15/10/2022 Discovering Wildlife Tracks and Signs 1 Day at FSC Preston Montford, Montford bridge, Shrewsbury, SY4 1DX

https://c-js.info/3a3gTrD
This introductory course will introduce you to the ancient art of wildlife tracking Tracking involves a range of skills. This course will teach you to follow clues, work out what the animal was doing and when, and maybe even find the animal itself.

15/10/2022 Ecology, Surveying and Conservation of otters and Water Voles 2 Days at FSC Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6UL

https://c-js.info/3NFn2bu
This intermediate course will explore the history of the otters and water voles, their ecology and conservation requirements. This course combines indoor talks with a field-based session each day. The emphasis will be on gaining practical skills to be able to survey for otters and water voles.

29/10/2022 Discovering Wildlife Tracks and Signs 2 Days at FSC Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6UL

https://c-js.info/3OO9c7u
This introductory course is a great place to start for those looking to improve their ability to identify a range of wildlife tracks and signs encountered in rural and urban areas and even gardens. Learn this valuable skill for anyone with an interest in natural history and conservation.

Above three courses with Field Studies Council. Contact: ecoskills@field-studies-council.org


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

01/10/2022 Practical Fungi Field Skills 1 Day at Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Inverness-Shire, Scotland, PH22 1QZ

https://c-js.info/3nr7BZx
This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about the fungi around them and start to identify fungi groups. You will learn valuable observational field skills; what to look for, what to record and how to record it with the support of our expert tutor.

01/10/2022 An Introduction to Lichens 2 Days at FSC Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, North Ayrshire, KA28 0EG

https://c-js.info/3OTuII8
This course is for beginners to learn about lichen biology and the first steps of lichen identification. Lichens are beautiful, fascinating, and all around us, almost all the time. What are they doing, how do they work, and how can you begin to learn about them?

02/10/2022 Field Ecology of Woodland Fungi 1 Day at Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Inverness-Shire, Scotland, PH22 1QZ

https://c-js.info/3NrpkLb
This beginner fungi course will explore woodland fungi and the connections between fungi and their habitat. This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about woodland fungi. This course will focus on the different habitats within a woodland and how fungi interact within a woodland environment.

08/10/2022 Field Ecology of Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts 1 Day at FSC Rhyd y Creuau, The Drapers Field Centre, Betws Y Coed, LL24 0HB

https://c-js.info/3OtIilw
This introductory bryophytes course is a great place to start for those taking their first steps into the world of mosses, liverworts and hornworts. During this course, will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field.

08/10/2022 Field Ecology of Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts 1 Day at FSC Juniper Hall, Old London Road, Mickleham, RH5 6DA

https://c-js.info/3OTuKQg
This introductory bryophytes course is a great place to start for those taking their first steps into the world of mosses, liverworts and hornworts. During this course, will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field.

08/10/2022 Identifying Lichens 2 Days at FSC Rhyd y Creuau, The Drapers Field Centre, Betws Y Coed, LL24 0HB

https://c-js.info/3yw55rt
This beginner lichens course will consist of a blend of field and classroom sessions to provide you with a general introduction to lichens as a group, focusing on morphology, biology, ecology and chemistry, alongside identification and recording.

08/10/2022 Practical Fungi Field Skills 1 Day at Broomlee Centre, Station Rd, West Linton, Scotland, EH46 7BU

https://c-js.info/3yxVFf7
This beginner fungi course is a starting guide to the skills and knowledge required to begin identifying UK fungi in the field. This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about the fungi around them and start to identify fungi groups.

Above courses with Field Studies Council. Contact: ecoskills@field-studies-council.org

12/10/2022 Identification of Fungi II 1 Day
Dering Wood, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622662012 studydays@kentwildlife.org.uk https://c-js.info/3rMjPOj
Helpful tips on identification of larger fungi and their habitats in the field.

15/10/2022 Practical Fungi Field Skills 1 Day
Manchester National Trust Quarry Bank Mill. Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LA, Field Studies Council. Contact: ecoskills@field-studies-council.org https://c-js.info/3OTuNLW
This beginner fungi course is a starting guide to the skills and knowledge required to begin identifying UK fungi in the field. This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about the fungi around them and start to identify fungi groups.

18/10/2022 Fabulous Fungi 1 Day
Nower Wood / Leatherhead, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk https://c-js.info/3PYa5uK
Learn how to find and identify a multitude of fungi living in the ancient woodland of Nower Wood.

21/10/2022 Getting to Know Conifers 3 Days at FSC Preston Montford, Montford bridge, Shrewsbury, SY4 1DX

https://c-js.info/3nsGZaH
This weekend botanical course is concerned with the identification of conifer trees; focusing on accurate identifications and diagnostic features. You will also get the opportunity to practice working with different keys for identification.

22/10/2022 Field Ecology of Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts 1 Day at FSC Preston Montford, Montford bridge, Shrewsbury, SY4 1DX

https://c-js.info/3NyRT9x
This introductory bryophytes course is a great place to start for those taking their first steps into the world of mosses, liverworts and hornworts. During this course, will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field.

29/10/2022 Identifying Autumn Fungi 2 Days at FSC Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6UL

https://c-js.info/3bsSX1a
This beginner fungi course is primarily aimed at those who want to know more about the wonderful world of fungi and build their knowledge of what kinds of things they might find in their local area during autumn.

29/10/2022 Field Ecology of Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts 1 Day at FSC Margam Discovery Centre, Margam Park, Port Talbot, SA13 2UA

https://c-js.info/3nr7nl4
This introductory bryophytes course is a great place to start for those taking their first steps into the world of mosses, liverworts and hornworts. During this course, will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an expert in the field.

30/10/2022 Practical Fungi Field Skills 1 Day at FSC Margam Discovery Centre, Margam Park, Port Talbot, SA13 2UA

https://c-js.info/3OTuOQ0
This beginner fungi course is a starting guide to the skills and knowledge required to begin identifying UK fungi in the field. This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about the fungi around them and start to identify fungi groups.

Above courses with Field Studies Council. Contact: ecoskills@field-studies-council.org


Photography

23/10/2022 Photography: Fungi & Autumn Colours 1 Day
Nower Wood / Leatherhead, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk https://c-js.info/3cRbi97
Learn the techniques needed to take incredible pictures of autumn's fungi with professional photographer Adrian Davies.


Practical Countryside Skills

17/10/2022 Dry Stone Walling Qualification Course 4 Days
Dry Stone Walling Association, Lane Farm, Crooklands, Milnthorpe, Cumbria, LA7 7NH, Dry Stone Walling Association. Contact: 07989848167 / 01539567953 training@dswa.org.uk https://www.dswa.org.uk/
4 day training course delivered by Master Craftsman Instructors, For people looking to gain Lantra Initial and Intermediate qualifications in dry stone walling for career opportunities or to improve skills. Course held Monday-Thursday with an optional Test Day on the Friday.


Long Course Additions

Ecology

12-Week Nature Conservation Training Course with Ambios Ltd
BSc Conservation Management at Craven College

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