CJS Professional

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

Published on the second Thursday every month

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

Featured Charity: Campaign for National Parks

Find out more about our featured charity here.

Including how to join and donate.

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



Happy New Year from the CJS Team. 

Well, this isn't quite what I'd thought I'd be writing to you right now.  As we enter a new lockdown we'd like to remind you that CJS is here and, despite the new lockdown we still hope 2021 will be a better one than 2020.  It's going to be a year of rebuilding (with luck and a following wind!), of standing strong but remaining flexible enough to bend with whatever comes next. 

As before, we will continue to work through the restrictions posting jobs and volunteer opportunities. Both sections have pages for roles which are on a working from home basis, either temporarily or permanently. As last year and the first lockdown showed nature and the countryside was much needed and highly valued by many, our network of 100,000 dedicated countryside professionals will ensure that your vacancies are filled and the job is carried out to the highest standards.  

Last year we simplified our advertising rates but they remain as low as we can make them. [more]



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





Location (basis / contract details)

Assistant Ecologist

Pryor & Rickett Silviculture

based in Brampton Bryan, Nr Knighton, Powys, to cover Wales, Marches and West England (2-year fixed term appointment (with the potential for a permanent contract))

Mobile Park Ranger – Claybury and Roding Valley Park

Vision RCL

Claybury Park and Roding Valley Park (Full time)

Cinder Track Maintenance Ranger

Scarborough Borough Council


Service Manager: Countryside

Sheffield City Council

Sheffield (permanent, 37hpw)


Also seasonal short-term Field Assistants

Taylor Wildlife

Scotland (fixed term contracts of varying length)

Parks Operations Manager

Horsham District Council

Horsham (permanent, 37hpw)

Activity Leader

Tir Coed

Elan Valley, Powys (2 year fixed term contract / 17.5 hpw)

Planning and Communities Officer

West Sussex County Council

County Hall, Chichester (37hpw)

Executive Administrator

Macaulay Development Trust

Scotland (hours vary, between 25 & 50 per month)

Public Rights of Way Officer (Highway Asset Management)

Darlington Borough Council

Darlington (permanent, 37hpw)

Green Recovery for Morecambe Bays Woodlands: Engagement Officer

Butterfly Conservation

Morecambe Bay Limestones, Lancashire and Cumbria (Fixed Term Contract, 2.5 days per week (0.5fte))

Environmental Project Officer

Steel Valley Project

Sheffield (permanent, 22.5hpw)

Head of Environment and Engagement

South West Lakes Trust

South West England (40 hpw)

Visitor Experience Manager – Burrator (Game Fishing Lead)

South West Lakes Trust

Dartmoor (based at Burrator Reservoir, Devon) (40 hpw)


Freelance, Self-employed and contracts

Freelance biodiversity and environmental art tutors

Field Studies Council

Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles

Project Officer

Learning through Landscapes

Environmental Apprentices and Woodland Trainee

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria or Nidderdale (12-18 months of work experience and training, starting February 2021)


CJS Updates and other useful information


picture of the CJS calendar for 2021Have a cheerful woodland scene on your wall all year.  Download your copy of the handy CJS Calendar complete with all the dates, deadlines for CJS publications plus information. (pdf)


Could you spare five minutes to explain a little about your job?  

It's that time of year when many people are looking to new horizons having made life changing decisions at New Yea; after last year perhaps many more than usual and many of those are looking for change of pace, to reconnect with nature and the outdoors having been locked in for so long the value of greenspaces has become evident. [more]


In need of a pick me up?

In normal times - anyone remember those? - next Monday would be Blue Monday a day when everyone is feeling down that Christmas is over, the next pay cheque is still a way off and summer holidays are tantalisingly just over the horizon. But this year everyday feels like a blue day and  I suspect we'd be happy just to share a meal, go to watch the match, have a hug, even simply to get up and go to work like normal.  However, these strange times have made many of us reassess our lives and look at what's important to us, what makes us happy and what we want to do in the future. 

If you're seeking a New Year, New You, New Start read on.


CMA launch FREE Student Starter Membership for one year. One not to be missed! [more]

Routes into a Conservation Career on The Hive – a new podcast from Brian Heppenstall & Mollie Taylor. [more]


Features and In Depth Articles

Keeping a watchful eye on our waterbirds - the Wetland Bird Survey

Great Britain hosts an estimated 13 million waterbirds in winter. Population estimates of our non-breeding waterbirds are just one output from the UK’s Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) – along with annual species trends, site totals, protected site trends, low tide distribution maps of estuaries and the UK’s wintering waterbird indicator. All these statistics rely on the fieldwork of around 3,000 counters, coordinated by 140 volunteer Local Organisers and the WeBS team at BTO, on behalf of the WeBS partnership.

So, as someone working or aspiring to work in the countryside management sector, why might you be interested in WeBS? [more]

CFE supports farmers on their journey to net zero agriculture

2020 was a year of increased focus on the climate crisis and the need for action to mitigate climate change across all emitting industries, including the farming industry. To support farmers in helping to tackle this challenge, Championing the Farmed Environment and its partners across the agricultural and environmental sectors have launched a new Climate Change Mitigation theme to offer guidance and resources for on-farm action. [more]

The Nature Premium – an idea whose time has come

Have you heard of the Nature Premium campaign? We are calling for the government to invest in a Nature Premium to fund regular nature experiences for all children. It’s called the Nature Premium to model it on the Sports Premium that ensures at least an hour of PE for primary school children every week. The Nature Premium would provide ring fenced funding for the statutory requirement to make sure that all children spend regular time in nature. [more]

From Opera Singer to Heritage Horticulturist….. from the Royal Horticultural Society higlighting horticultural career changers.

Promoting your own career can at times be something of a tortuous and difficult campaign, with many a day spent in a school hall waiting patiently for a single student to stop by. This has never been truer than in promoting careers with plants and It can at times be soul destroying as other careers appear to always attract larger numbers of new entrants, especially where parents are involved and rightly want the best for their impressionable offspring. [more]

Bringing opportunity to young people in the Dales.

The Yorkshire Dale Millennium Trust  says: Providing young people with the opportunity to live and work in their own area is vitally important.  This is even more apparent in rural areas such as the Yorkshire Dales where historically, the younger generation has moved away looking for employment. Several schemes are now in place to give young people a chance to take control of their futures – and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s scheme has an 85 per cent success rate in taking people from training into further education or employment. [more]


CJS Focus

CJS Focus on Volunteering is due for publication on 22 February. This edition is in association with the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS) with Parks Community UK. Send your adverts now.



Several reviews of 2020 including a look at changing behaviour due to lockdown and plenty of reports focusing on the current state of wildlife and biodiversity with plans from various organisations including the Wildlife Trusts, NatureScot and RSPB on how to improve the situation.

And as we've brought back our feel good And Finallys to cheer us all up during the latest lockdown: some photos of the animals at London Zoo being counted during the annual stock take.


Training and Events

27 January: Where's your head at...' - A 2021 Reset, The '& another thing' discussion series is an honest and open place for issues in conservation. More and book your place.


Calendar of events and short courses occuring in - March plus additions made over the past month.


Grants and sources of funding

Applications are now open for Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Bursary schemes 2021.


CJS Newsletters and updates:

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

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


CJS Professional: 14 January 2021


Jobs: view all online jobs here


Logo: Pryor & Rickett SilviculturePryor & Rickett Silviculture

Assistant Ecologist

We manage over 30,000 hectares of woodland throughout Great Britain. The properties managed are remarkably diverse, ranging from species rich ancient broadleaved woods to extensive conifer plantations, and from small farm woodlands to whole estates.

After a record year throughout the country, we are seeking an Assistant Ecologist for a 2-year fixed term appointment (with the potential for a permanent contract), based in Brampton Bryan, Nr Knighton, Powys, to cover Wales, Marches and West England to fulfil the expanding need for surveys and reports on our sites in the public, private and third sector.

Candidates must be self-motivated and ambitious, ready to conscientiously support a team with an expanding portfolio.

Good candidates will be able to demonstrate:

As an Assistant Ecologist, you would be supporting the Senior Ecologist and local forest managers to deliver ecology surveys, Ecological Impact Assessments (EIA), Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, peatland restoration assessment surveys and protected species surveys in relation to woodlands and areas for woodland creation.

The following attributes are also essential:

In return we offer a competitive salary, iPhone, laptop and company vehicle.

Applications should be submitted in writing along with CV and directed to

Closing Date: 31st January 2021.

Planned interview dates (by video conference): week commencing the 15th February 2021.

If you have specific questions then please contact

Logo: Vision RCLVision RCL

Mobile Park Ranger – Claybury and Roding Valley Park

Salary: £19,680 - £20,889 (VS03)

Type: Full-Time

Location: Claybury Park and Roding Valley Park

Closing Date: 25th January 2021

Interview Date: TBC

We are looking for a Mobile Park Ranger to join the Nature Conservation Ranger Team and be part of the wider Parks Operations Rangers.
Key Tasks

Key Skills

For further information regarding the role please:  email Francis Castro at  telephone 020 8559 2316

To apply for the position please complete the application form and send to:
CV’s will not be accepted

Job Description

Application Form

Logo: Scarborough Borough CouncilScarborough Borough Council

Cinder Track Maintenance Ranger

Salary: £22,183-£24,491 per annum

An exciting opportunity to work in a dynamic Local Authority on the Yorkshire Coast. You will play a key role on the ground in delivering the Council’s Restoration Plan for the Cinder Track, a 36km shared use trail along a disused railway line between the Borough’s two main resorts.

The council is recruiting a permanent Ranger to their Parks and Countryside Service to repair, maintain and enhance the Cinder Track to maintain the integrity and accessibility, aligned to the Council’s Restoration Plan.

The successful candidate will work closely with other officers and Partners before, during and after capital improvement schemes, to ensure that the investment in the track is appropriately sustained.

The role will suit a dynamic self-starter who can work on their own initiative to establish and carry out a long term maintenance and renewals programme. You will relish working with local communities, volunteers and partner organisations, acting as an ambassador for the Council and our Partners.

Maintenance of the track will require you to carefully balance needs of users, local communities and the route’s ecology and heritage value while addressing its multi-use nature. Promotion of the track will contribute to the Authority’s green recovery and carbon reduction aspirations by enabling a wider range of users and visitors to access the route both for recreation and utility use, such as getting to school, work or local services.

To be successful in this role you will be an achievement-focused self-starter, always aiming to go above and beyond. You will demonstrate strong customer-focused values, a practical, problem-solving flair and good communication skills through a wide range of media. You will be competent in a range of practical countryside management skills, using appropriate tools and machinery and able to carry out work to a high standard.

If you want to challenge yourself in this interesting role as our Cinder Track Maintenance Ranger then we want to hear from you. For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Tim Burkinshaw via email to request a call back.

Apply online here

Closing Date: 12 noon, Wednesday 3rd February 2021

Interviews (conducted online): Thursday 11th / Friday 12th February 2021 (If candidates have not heard from us by this date they have unfortunately been unsuccessful)

Logoi: Sheffield City CouncilSheffield City Council

Service Manager: Countryside

Salary: Grade 11 (£49,791 - £54,708)

Location: Sheffield

Contract Type: Permanent

Hours Per Week: 37

Service: Place

Sheffield is one of the greenest and wooded cities in the Country with 174 woodland sites in its Urban Forest, over 70 semi natural ancient sites, 2.3 million trees across 2000 Hectares of land. It has been clear throughout the Covid-19 pandemic just how important these and other green spaces are to the people of Sheffield and beyond.

The Council is looking to recruit a new Countryside Service Manager. We are looking for a dynamic, forward thinking, and innovative leader to take on this unique and challenging role for the city.

The team manages a wide range of countryside functions and has a dedicated and highly qualified team of Woodland Officers, Community Tree Officers, Rangers, Allotment Officers and Ecologists overseeing the woodlands, trees, countryside sites, 3500 allotments on 71 sites, 254 Local Wildlife Sites and 30 licensed Closed Landfill sites.

Our acclaimed Community Forestry Team has a target of planting 10,000 trees per year set out in our comprehensive and ground-breaking Trees and Woodlands Strategy. Our flagship Woodland Discovery Centre at Ecclesall Woods provides an education centre and offers bespoke craft courses in a range of areas.

To lead the team, you will be suitably qualified in a relevant countryside, environmental or appropriate discipline with over 5 years of experience in a suitable field. You will need to be able to communicate clearly with a range of stakeholders and elected representatives and demonstrate proven financial management and project skills.

Making our services more efficient and effective and reducing our expenditure through increased income opportunities will be critical over the coming years. Working in partnership with leading environmental charities will be essential in securing additional grants and supporting our environmental goals.

The Countryside Service Manager role sits within the Parks and Countryside Service so joins an innovative and forward-thinking Management Team. The Service manages 4130 Hectares of green spaces in total throughout Sheffield in 752 sites.

If you are interested in applying for this exciting opportunity, please visit our website to download the application form here. Should you wish to talk to anyone about the post please contact the current Countryside Service Manager Dave Aspinall on 07966 372022 or the Head of Parks and Countryside Ruth Bell on 07867 150747.

Logo: Taylor WildlifeTaylor Wildlife


Taylor Wildlife have a number of vacancies for seasonal short-term Field Assistants and a longer term Ecologist position.

All positions involve carrying out bird, lepidoptera, mammal, peatland work and habitat surveys on sites in the Scottish uplands. Knowledge of different survey methods is useful but not essential, as full training will be given in navigation, health and safety, survey methods, data entry and QGIS. It is far more important that candidates have strong bird identification skills and a good level of physical fitness.

Successful candidates will live on site in one of our field locations in Moray, Perthshire or Angus in teams of 2 - 6. Due to COVID-19, it is likely that some team members will be unable to mix indoors with other households for the duration of the survey season and this is something candidates should take into consideration prior to applying. Some positions will have minimal contact with other staff and will include office-based tasks which can be carried out at home.

Most start dates will fall between March and June, with contracts ending between mid-July and the end of August. The right candidate(s) will be offered an earlier start date and the opportunity for a contract extension through the winter season into 2022. As such, early applications are encouraged. We will begin reviewing applications on the 16th January, and continue accepting applications until all positions are filled.

Key Responsibilities:

Essential criteria

Please visit for more information on how to apply, salary details and COVID-19 procedures.

Logo: Horsham District CouncilHorsham District Council

Parks Operations Manager

£30,451-£32,910 plus essential car user allowance
37 hours per week

Closing date: 1 Feb 2021 12:00. Interview date: 12 Feb 2021.

Ref: CS1419

About the role
Horsham District Council has an exciting opportunity for an experienced Parks Operations Manager to work within our Parks and Countryside team. We have recently secured our first Green Flag and are keen to get more for other key sites.

A key aspect of the Parks Operations Manager role involves managing the grounds maintenance contract, ensuring specified works are consistently met across 100+ sites, and you will need to demonstrate strong budget management. You will oversee the maintenance of the physical infrastructure of the sites – playgrounds, youth facilities, paths, fences, benches – and the natural and ornamental elements, through line management of a small team.

Working as part of the Parks and Countryside team, you will help to enhance biodiversity and climate resilience on all sites as well as build community involvement and wellbeing. Delivery of public events that generate income is also an important aspect of the work you will be involved with. There is the opportunity for you to help shape the future delivery of our open spaces, as we begin the process of tendering for a new contract.

As Parks Operations Manager, you will have the ability to deal with a varied workload and cope with a fast-paced environment with changing tasks and priorities. As a strong team player with good contract, project and people managements skills you will have an agile, flexible and can-do approach and be able to respond calmly and sensitively to members of the public.

You must also have a clean, full driving licence in order to travel to all sites across the Horsham district.

We encourage and support professional development and offer a generous benefits package to support your work life balance. This includes 27 days’ pro rata annual leave plus bank holidays, flexible working arrangements, access to wellbeing services, and a staff benefits platform featuring many discounts from the high street.

For further information and to apply, please click here

Tir Coed

Activity Leader

2 year fixed term contract / 17.5 hours per week

£21000 pro rata

Elan Valley, Powys

Tir Coed is a charity that engages people through outdoor learning in order to improve their wellbeing and meet longer-term goals for education, employment or volunteering. We are seeking an enthusiastic and engaging person to provide accredited training, practical learning opportunities, volunteering and wellbeing activities to a wide range of people.

You will be a natural leader, confident to work with people of all ages and backgrounds. You will have good practical skills including carpentry or green woodworking and experience of practical conservation and estate management with the ability to plan and deliver training effectively.

The position is based in the stunning 73 square mile Elan Valley estate in Mid Wales within which spectacular stone built Victorian dams and reservoirs are situated. The Elan Valley includes internationally designated conservation areas and is a dark sky reserve. Working in this unique environment gives scope to tailor training to your skills and ambition.

If you would like to discuss the post further please contact Anna on 01597 811527 or email

For full details of the post and to download an application pack click here

Logo: West Sussex County CouncilWest Sussex County Council

Planning and Communities Officer

Do you have the skills to work in a customer-focused way? Provide a high quality service with high level of attention to detail?
About Us

The Local Highway Operations Service provides the operational management of Highways, Countryside and Public Rights of Way for West Sussex County Council (WSCC). Within this service, the Public Rights of Way Service manages the 4000km+ Public Rights of Way (PRoW) through a proactive 15-month inspection and maintenance regime to ensure the network is safe and serviceable for PRoW users. It manages customer and stakeholder requests and enquiries in relation to PRoW matters and provides technical and legal guidance on access and landowner matters. The service is supported by and works closely with volunteers and community groups to maintain and improve the network.

For more information about West Sussex County Council, please visit our website.

About The Job

Salary: £25,991 - £28,672 per annum

Working Pattern: Full time (37 hours per week)

Location: County Hall, Chichester

The role of the Planning and Communities Officer – Public Right of Way (PRoW) Team is to work within the planning process to ensure development in West Sussex does not have a negative impact on the PRoW network and to identify enhancements within this process where possible.

You will develop and utilise opportunities to work collaboratively with community groups to protect and improve the network. The pressure of development on the PRoW network has been increasing over a number of years and securing investment in the network to mitigate its increased use is a key aspect of the service.

For this role you will be expected to engage with the planning process to secure development funding where possible and develop schemes that can be delivered through this funding and mechanism.

Improvement schemes are often put forward by user groups and community groups, you will support those groups in the development of the schemes and the identification of funding to deliver them. This funding may be secured via the WSCC Capital Programme or through external funding streams.

Once secured, schemes will be delivered through the County Council’s delivery programmes or by partners. Where communities or stakeholder groups want to work on the PRoW in their local area to improve the places in which they live, this role will help facilitate those works and ensure West Sussex PRoW standards are maintained.

You will undertake site meetings so must be able to travel around the county independently, often to remote locations.

Experience and Skills

We are looking for a dynamic “can do” individual, who is motivated to provide an excellent PRoW service. You will be a strong team player with a flexible approach. You will be an effective communicator, and be able to demonstrate excellent customer service skills, working with stakeholders to find creative solutions to problems presented with integrity, openness and awareness of others.

Key Skills:

Qualifications and/or experience:

Rewards and Benefits

As an employer we recognise that it is our employees that are central to everything we do. We aim to create a supportive and dynamic working environment where employees can achieve their full potential, achieve a healthy work-life balance and are rewarded for the work they do.

Including 26 days annual leave, you will also have access to a full list of the benefits offered to you as a West Sussex County Council employee you can find them on our Rewards and Benefits page.

Further Information

The reference number for this role is EIE00718 .

For an informal conversation or for further information regarding the role, please contact Nicholas Scott (Principal Rights of Way Officer) at . For issues or queries regarding your application please contact

You can apply at our website.

To apply, upload your CV and complete the application explaining the skills and experience you can bring to the role ensuring that any gaps in employment are covered in your CV. Please ensure you have saved the job description attached to the main advert on our website as, once the job has closed, you may not have the opportunity to download again.

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults

This post is subject to satisfactory references, health check.

West Sussex County Council is an equal opportunities employer committed to promoting an environment that is inclusive and free from all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination and values the diversity of its people. We actively welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and take every possible step to ensure that no individual will be disadvantaged.

For information regarding your eligibility to apply for this role under our Disability or Veteran’s Guaranteed Interview Scheme, this can be found on our application help page.

Note for Recruitment Agencies: We prefer to hire people directly, but we do have a supplier list for when we need a helping hand. We'll be in touch directly if we need you!
Closing Date: 31/1/2021

Logo: Macaulay Development TrustMacaulay Development Trust

Executive Administrator

Appointment of Executive Administrator


The Trustees would like to appoint, on a consultancy basis, a part time Executive Administrator to succeed the present one who is retiring. The new Executive Administrator will take up post, after a full handover, in late March or early April 2021 on a date to be agreed.

The Role

The Executive Administrator is the principal point of contact for most Trust business. The hours required vary considerably and may be between 25 and 50 hours a month, depending on the workload; the period April to September tends to be quieter than the rest of the year. The remuneration will be agreed in discussion with the successful applicant and is likely to be between £35 - £50 per hour depending on experience.

The Executive Administrator is responsible for the management of Trustees meetings, liaison with Trustees, professional advisors, the James Hutton Institute, and grants administration. Their key duties include

Application process

To apply, please submit a CV and short 2 sides A4 maximum) covering letter to the current Executive Administrator Paul Timms, by email to by 09:00 on 1st February 2021. All applications will be reviewed by a sub-group of Trustees and short-listed candidates will be interviewed on either 11th or 12th February 2021.

For further information, please click here

Logo: Darlington Borough CouncilDarlington Borough Council

Public Rights of Way Officer (Highway Asset Management)

Vacancy ID: 011603

Salary: £32,234.00 - £34,728.00 Annually

Closing Date: 24/01/2021

Benefits & Grade

Band 10

Contract Details


Contract Hours

37 hours per week

Job Description

The Highway Asset Management Section is responsible for the maintenance of highways, bridges, street lighting and public rights of way within the Borough.

You will be responsible for the day to day management of the Public Rights of Way network which includes the manual routine inspection of the Borough’s network including the recording of asset condition and identifying any defects using tablet devices. You will also be responsible for organising and supervising the resulting minor repairs using our approved contractors.

You will deal with applications for Path Orders and Definitive Map Modification Orders, temporary PRoW closures, complaints, reports, and freedom of information requests following the Councils policies and procedures.

You will be expected to act as a point of contact for some of Darlington’s partnership projects such as Discover Brightwater and River Tees Rediscovered and take a leading role in reviewing our Rights of Way improvement plan.

You should be IT literate (capable of using Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel etc) and be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences both verbally and in writing.

The ability to work accurately and with attention to detail is essential for this post, along with the ability to organise your own work with minimum supervision

The rewards for working at the Council go beyond the salary you will receive with numerous additional benefits such as:

For detailed information on this role, please refer to the Job Description and Person Specification.

For a further informal discussion please contact Dave McGuckin, Highway Asset Manager on 01325 406616.

An online application form and further information are available here. Alternatively, you can contact Xentrall Recruitment Services, Tel: (01642) 526992 or email:

Butterfly Conservation

Green Recovery for Morecambe Bays Woodlands: Engagement Officer

Fixed Term Contract, 2.5 days per week (0.5fte)

Morecambe Bay Limestones, Lancashire and Cumbria

Salary: £24,551- £28,363 pa dependent on experience, plus 8% pension contribution

Butterfly Conservation is the world’s largest organisation dedicated to the conservation of butterflies, moths and our environment.

We are seeking an experienced and highly determined Engagement Officer to deliver the engagement programme of the Green Recovery for Morecambe Bay’s Woodlands project to encourage a wide range of possible audiences to learn about, enjoy, and safeguard moths and butterflies.

The successful candidate will also be required to work closely and effectively with other Green Recovery project staff and contractors to deliver the many aims of the project, as well as to increase active volunteering activity in the project area and to foster, develop and strengthen links between the Butterfly Conservation and other organisations and individuals in the project area.

For further details please see the Job Pack below.

Closing date for applications is 31st January 2021
Interviews will be held week commencing 8th February 2021.

To download the application pack please visit

Candidates must have the right to work in the UK.

No agencies please.

Logo:Steel Valley ProjectSteel Valley Project

Environmental Project Officer

£22,123 - £24,263 (pro rata)
22.5 hours per week
Permanent position

We are currently seeking an Environmental Project Officer, working 22.5 hours a week, to deliver our environmental projects and lead a team of dedicated volunteers.

The person we are looking for will be committed to supporting the communities and wildlife in our operational area.

With a proven background in countryside and land management, the right candidate will require a broad range of skills to deliver projects as diverse as habitat and access management, training, events and environmental education.

You will have the ability to work with volunteers and stakeholders to meet a range of required outcomes, utilising your excellent knowledge and previous experience of countryside and environmental projects.

For further details and to download the Job Description, Person Specification and Application Form, please click here.

Closing date for applications: 12.00 noon, Monday 25/01/21

Proposed dates for interviews: Tuesday 02/02/21 and Wednesday 03/02/21

Logo: South West Lakes TrustSouth West Lakes Trust

Head of Environment and Engagement

Location: South West England

Salary: £28,000 - £32,000 per annum

Hours: Full Time (40 hours per week)

South West Lakes is recruiting for a Head of Environment and Engagement to lead its team of environmental specialists, engagement specialists and Environment and Engagement Rangers, ensuring we deliver great visitor engagement and high quality environmental improvement for people and wildlife across our sites. The ideal candidate will have experience in related roles, share our passion for nature, the outdoors and understand the variety of benefits they provide for people.

About You:

For further details and to apply, please visit
Or email
Closing Date: Midnight 31 January 2021

Logo: South West Lakes TrustSouth West Lakes Trust

Visitor Experience Manager – Burrator (Game Fishing Lead)

Location: Dartmoor (based at Burrator Reservoir, Devon)

Salary: £24,000 - £30,000 per annum

Hours: Full Time (40 hours per week)

South West Lakes is recruiting for a Visitor Experience Manager to take a lead on the game fishing business across our fisheries. Based at Burrator Reservoir with responsibilities across our Dartmoor sites, the ideal candidate will have experience in managing profitable game fishing venues or have a strong background in game fishing, and share our passion for outdoors and understand the variety of benefits it provides for people.

About You:

For further details and to apply, please visit
Or email

Closing Date: Midnight 31 January 2021



Freelance, Self-employed and contracts.

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Field Studies Council

Freelance biodiversity and environmental art tutors

These exciting roles will connect you with people wanting to share your passion for biodiversity, especially natural history subjects and related art. We offer competitive pay rates for delivering training courses online and at venues across the UK, plus expenses and contribution to producing learning resources.

You’ll join a lively network of associate tutors delivering training courses with the national charity, the Field Studies Council (FSC); a leader provider of environment education. Every year, FSC delivers hundreds of Eco-Skills courses for adults and young people (age 16+) across the UK.

Our team’s success will excite people to get to know (deep breath) vertebrates, invertebrates, flowering plants, non-flowering plants, fungi, lichen, marine life, field skills, environmental art and other subjects.

Our courses include support for learners (including mentoring opportunities) and links to partner organisations and FSC’s famous wildlife ID guides. Our learners also earn recognition and take on personal and professional roles that benefit themselves and the natural environment.

The successful tutors will have demonstrable expertise and passion in one or more subjects and enthusiasm for tutoring people to increase their skills.

FSC uses learning frameworks to allow learners to progress through subjects, so training experience would be an advantage.

Our tutors work with team of engagement/training officers and course co-ordinators.

FSC recruits tutor all year round from a pool of interested people.

To register your interest, please complete this short form, and we’ll get in touch when there are opportunities.

In Dec 2020 and Jan 2021, FSC is especially looking for tutors will the following expertise at introductory and advanced levels

(you don’t have to cover them all!):


Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles.

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Logo: Learning through LandscapesLearning through Landscapes

Project Officer

Are you under 25 and looking for an opportunity to develop your outdoor learning skills?

Learning through Landscapes is excited to announce that funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been granted to run a 15 month project through their Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The project will be delivered in partnership with Leicester City Council (LCC) and the Wildlife Gardening Forum (WLGF).

As part of this project we are delighted to be able to offer opportunities for under 25's wishing to work in the outdoor learning sector. This under 25 stipulation is a funding and project requirement and has been made to address the lack of opportunities for young people in this age group aspiring to train as outdoor educators in one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

If you are under 25 years old at the start of January 2021, have a commitment to learning outside the classroom. with a broad knowledge and understanding of the English National Curriculum, a knowledge of either pollinators, habitat creation and management, wildlife gardening or citizen science, we would love to hear from you. You must be fluent in the English language, able to write engaging learning resources and have excellent IT skills with proficiency in Microsoft Office particularly Word, Teams, Excel and PowerPoint.

For more information about this exciting opportunity and how to apply please visit our website for full details

Logo: Yorkshire Dales Millennium TrustYorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Environmental Apprentices and Woodland Trainee

Passionate about the environment? Start your career as an Environmental Apprentice or Woodland Trainee and get paid to work and train with organisations in the Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria or Nidderdale.

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) has exciting opportunities for young people with a love of the outdoors and a passion for the environment. We are recruiting for four new Environmental Apprentices and one Woodland Trainee to work with employers in the Yorkshire Dales, south Cumbria and Nidderdale, where you will gain hands-on work experience and training alongside experienced staff.

What do the roles offer?

To apply you must be 16-24 years old and must not already have a qualification in a similar field.

The scheme provides opportunities for young people who live in our local rural areas to stay living and working here. Opportunities are available to young people in the wider Yorkshire Dales area, Nidderdale and South Cumbria. We may also consider applications from people who live within a few miles of these areas.

Find out more & apply

You can find job descriptions for all positions that are available, and an application form at

To apply please email your completed application form to or post to Jo Boulter, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Main Street, Clapham, Via Lancaster, LA2 8DP. You can also call Jo Boulter our Apprenticeships Co-ordinator for an informal chat on 015242 51002.





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Volunteers:  see all listings  online at:


CJS Focus on Volunteering - submit your adverts now.

More information here.


Advertise your voluntary roles with CJS - it's free! Click here.

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CJS Announcements and articles of interest.


Happy New Year from the CJS Team. 

Well, this isn't quite what I'd thought I'd be writing to you right now.  As we enter a new lockdown we'd like to remind you that CJS is here and, despite the new lockdown we still hope 2021 will be a better one than 2020.  It's going to be a year of rebuilding (with luck and a following wind!), of standing strong but remaining flexible enough to bend with whatever comes next. 

As before, we will continue to work through the restrictions posting jobs and volunteer opportunities. Both sections have pages for roles which are on a working from home basis, either temporarily or permanently. As last year and the first lockdown showed nature and the countryside was much needed and highly valued by many, our network of 100,000 dedicated countryside professionals will ensure that your vacancies are filled and the job is carried out to the highest standards.  

Reminder that the Team is still working from home on flexible hours to fit round family commitments but we're normally available between ten and four but you may receive responses at other times.

Last year we simplified our advertising rates but they remain as low as we can make them.

Standard listing:  (400 words  plus one logo) remains at £125 for the regular package appearing in CJS Weekly and now for up to six weeks online, only £10 more to add CJS Professional.

Free advertising available in CJS Weekly for paid posts and in CJS Weekly and online (here) for voluntary roles.

50% discount on all paid advertisers for voluntary and apprenticeship roles.

10% charity discount on all advertising, with a completed VAT Exemption Certificate.

If you have an advert but you're not sure if it's something suitable for CJS or where best to advertise then simply send it to us and we'll reply with your options and quotes.


Motivated by conservation success not profits.

We'd like to remind you that CJS is not like other job boards and operates on social enterprise principals which is why so much of what we do is done totally free of charge.  CJS is an ethical business working in harmony with environment professional to conservation the British countryside and natural world.  Find out more here.


Our audience keeps on growing: updated readership profile.

With so many people affected by the pandemic our readership numbers have been swelled by many redundancies and a large proportion of the class of 2020 who were offered free subscriptions as well as the many people looking for a lifestyle change and dreaming of a life outdoors.

Last year's readers survey closed in early December and we've now had time to analyse the results update readership profile, view it online here or download the updated the Media Pack here.


picture of the CJS calendar for 2021Have a cheerful woodland scene on your wall all year. 

Download your copy of the handy CJS Calendar complete with all the dates, deadlines for CJS publications plus information. (pdf)




Could you spare five minutes to explain a little about your job?


It's that time of year when many people are looking to new horizons having made life changing decisions at New Yea; after last year perhaps many more than usual and many of those are looking for change of pace, to reconnect with nature and the outdoors having been locked in for so long the value of greenspaces has become evident.

Whilst CJS doesn’t want to turn away any genuine potential countryside workers we do want people to know it's not all sunshine and roses and in so doing perhaps help organisations from receiving speculative enquiries and make sure the recruiter's task is made easier by ensuring they receive only relevant applications from suitable candidates who have done their homework and know exactly what it is they're looking at and applying for.  We'd also like to highlight that there are more jobs out there than ranger ones, that the support roles are just as important and rewarding, thereofre we're looking for any and all countryside jobs, ranger to reception, ecologists to educators and all points in between.  

If you would like to help us out and send us details of your job please download the word document questionnaire from here.  Any questions please contact Kerryn on  See what's already been added here.

And for further inspiration read this piece wirten for us by the Royal Horticultural Society: From Opera Singer to Heritage Horticulturist…..  [more]



CMACMA launch FREE Student Starter Membership for one year.

The Countryside Management Association have launched a new membership category, offering FREE Student Starter Membership to those in full- or part-time education, including apprenticeships, for one year. 


  • Digital access to Ranger magazine – the organisation’s quarterly publication.
  • Access to a Basecamp Forum to discuss countryside management matters.
  • Members’ rates for study days, training sessions and annual conference.
  • Members’ discounts.

Who is it for?

The new membership category is for students in full- or part-time education interested in countryside, greenspace and environmental work.

How to join

To subscribe to the free Student Starter Membership, register your details online.


photo of bat tree doubled over under wet snowIn normal times - anyone remember those? - next Monday would be Blue Monday a day when everyone is feeling down that Christmas is over, the next pay cheque is still a way off and summer holidays are tantalisingly just over the horizon.

But this year everyday feels like a blue day and  I suspect we'd be happy just to share a meal, go to watch the match, have a hug, even simply to get up and go to work like normal.  However, these strange times have made many of us reassess our lives and look at what's important to us, what makes us happy and what we want to do in the future. 

If you're seeking a New Year, New You, New Start and that includes a new job and have already crafted your updated CV then you ready to post it to our CV listing site designed specifically for dedicated countryside professionals visit: Countryside-Careers.Com and get started.   Unusually our CV listing site also hosts details for freelancers to advertise their availability and showcase their expertise to employers who maybe initially hadn't thought of using a freelance service or perhaps need urgent short-term cover.  If you're striking out on your own as a freelance ranger (that's where Niall started) offering environmental education sessions and forest school (that was my start), as an independent ecologist (we both did that one!) or any other form of freelance employment make sure you add your details - like most things with CJS it's free.

For everyone looking to connect more with nature make sure you sign up for the daily email (also free).  An email will arrive in your inbox every evening with details of the latest adverts on the website, news headlines for the day and a little information about in depth feature articles as they're published plus lots of information from across the sector and occasional notices (like this one) with reminders of what's on offer with CJS.

logo: The HiveRoutes into a Conservation Career on The Hive a new podcast from Brian Heppenstall & Mollie Taylor

Are you considering a job working in Conservation? There are several well-trodden routes into careers in this sector, The Hive's first episode features guests who provide more details about some of these. We start the episode with Elise Sutton, a graduate of both agricultural college and agricultural university, before speaking to Professor Rick Stafford, from Bournemouth University's School of Life and Environmental Sciences. After this we hear from Frances Jenkins; Careers Lead at Kingston Maurward College, in Dorset, before finishing off with Dr Yoseph Araya; Lecturer in Ecology at the Open University.

This episode will also be of interest to professionals who are recruiting people into conservation roles, to gain understanding of the experiences of the candidates that they are attracting from different routes.


Find out more and listen at



Features and In Depth Articles.


Keeping a watchful eye on our waterbirds - the Wetland Bird Survey

Logo: Wetland Bird Survey

Great Britain hosts an estimated 13 million waterbirds in winter. Population estimates of our non-breeding waterbirds are just one output from the UK’s Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) – along with annual species trends, site totals, protected site trends, low tide distribution maps of estuaries and the UK’s wintering waterbird indicator. All these statistics rely on the fieldwork of around 3,000 counters, coordinated by 140 volunteer Local Organisers and the WeBS team at BTO, on behalf of the WeBS partnership.

So, as someone working or aspiring to work in the countryside management sector, why might you be interested in WeBS?

Contributing to the scheme

Counting for WeBS using a camera on wetland (Teresa Frost)
Counting for WeBS (Teresa Frost)

WeBS Core Counts take part monthly throughout the year, with a particular emphasis on coverage in September – March. On every visit the counter must estimate the numbers of all waterbirds present on their site or part of a site. Unlike other waterbirds, counting gulls and terns is optional.

There are two main ways people get involved in WeBS. Most come directly as a volunteer to cover a site (or part of a site) – more details of how to do this are given below. In other cases, where the wetland is managed by a conservation organisation, the counts may be done by the reserve manager or their staff and volunteers.

One of the amazing things about WeBS is its longevity – the scheme began with national wildfowl counts in 1947. Consistency is very important for WeBS, and where possible the same counter is encouraged to stick with their site for as long as they are able. We have some amazing volunteers who have counted the same site for over 50 years! This does mean that your first choice of site may not be available, if it is already being counted by someone else. However, it can still be worth getting in touch with the Local Organiser, because depending on local circumstances you may be able to join a site team or provide cover when the regular counter is on holiday.

There are many sites that do not have a counter, and counters are retiring constantly (although sometimes only in their 80s, when mobility issues catch up with them!). So we are always looking for new counters across the country. As well as sites with many waterbirds on, where coverage is really important – places like large reservoirs, wetland reserves and estuaries – we need a reasonable sample of smaller sites, river and coast to be covered, so that statistics are representative for the waterbird species that occur more widely in the countryside.

Counting these smaller sites can be a great place for people to get experience in bird monitoring, as well as a way people can provide much needed data for places they are visiting regularly such as a local park. We’ve particularly noticed some of our younger recruits starting off on these smaller sites, and then, after building their ID and counting experience, joining teams on the more complex sites. Continuity of counter on smaller sites is a little less important, as the sites are a bit easier to count accurately than the large sites, where you really need to know the site, its birds, and how they behave there to do an accurate count. So these types of sites are ideally suited to those who are only able to commit for a couple of years before they move on, for example whilst they are at university or in their hometown before getting that dream job in the wilds – where hopefully they will again take on some local WeBS sites!

It’s also worth being aware some universities have bird or conservation societies who “adopt” a WeBS site. This is a fantastic way for people to count as a group, find about WeBS and learn from each other, and means that although the people may be changing, we are getting data from the site on a continual basis.

Accessing WeBS data

Whether or not you take part in the scheme yourself, or organise the counts on a site you manage, if you are involved in managing a wetland site there is potentially a wealth of information available to you from the WeBS scheme – in some cases data going back to 1947, although we do still have some historical data from pre-1966 to digitise.

The first port of call is the WeBS Report Online. This gives data at a site level, although note that some of the sites are very big – e.g. the Solway Estuary. This published summary data is available to everyone to view and use as downloadable open data. More detailed data, including monthly counts on parts of large sites, is available via data requests and our data management system WeBS Online. Free access is available to landowners, so do get in touch if you think WeBS count data might be available on your site and you don’t already have access.

Find out more

All the information on the scheme, methods and results can be found via View the WeBS Report Online at and see details of all WeBS data available at

WeBS is a partnership jointly funded by the BTO, RSPB and JNCC, in association with WWT, with fieldwork conducted by volunteers.

Partnership logos: BTO, RSPB, JNCC & WWT

More details on how to take part

  • Use the WeBS Vacant Sites tool at to find sites near you that aren’t currently being counted. The largest sites are divided into countable sectors and each sector is shown separately in the tool.
  • Consider what type and size of site would be suitable for you. Small sites with few birds may take as little as 20 minutes to count and suit someone less experienced at surveying, whereas a site that involves a lot of walking or has thousands of birds of many species could take several hours. If you are a skilled birder, why not see if you can help us fill in priority site gaps?
  • You need to be able to accurately identify all the waterbirds that regularly use the site. One way to get an idea of which species regularly occur is to use the “View Site” link in the vacant sites tool to view historical data on the online WeBS report.
  • You also need to be able to accurately count the number of each species present during your WeBS count. Consider access points and what landowner permissions you may need to obtain. Some sites can only be feasibly counted by boat.
  • For priority sites, it is especially important that few visits are missed, so counters need to commit to counting on the official core count Sunday (the national priority date or local tide-adjusted date for certain estuaries) as often as possible throughout the year, with particular emphasis on the September – March period. Other counters should also try and complete their counts on the priority date – but a count on another proximate date can be better than none at all!
  • Some regions have fewer existing WeBS sites set up. If you regularly visit a river, lake or other wetland that isn’t already a WeBS site, you can ask us to set it up as a site for you.
  • Contact your Local Organiser through the WeBS Vacant Site tool to get allocated to the site and we’ll send you the WeBS Counter starter pack.
  • Want further advice? Chat to your WeBS Local Organiser about local mentoring and training opportunities or guidance on how you can best get involved locally and visit the WeBS website at


CFE supports farmers on their journey to net zero agriculture.

Logo: Championing the Farmed Environment

2020 was a year of increased focus on the climate crisis and the need for action to mitigate climate change across all emitting industries, including the farming industry. To support farmers in helping to tackle this challenge, Championing the Farmed Environment and its partners across the agricultural and environmental sectors have launched a new Climate Change Mitigation theme to offer guidance and resources for on-farm action.

collage showing trees, soil, farm buildings, cattle and solar panels (Championing the Farmed Environment)
                                                                                                               (Championing the Farmed Environment)

The NFU, a leading CFE partner, has set the ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040, as their contribution to the UK’s ambition of net zero by 2050.

laptop on a table with a cup of tea and a notepad (Championing the Farmed Environment)
(Championing the Farmed Environment)

Other key partners, such as the CLA and Defra, are also supporting farmers and land managers to adapt their land management practices to reduce emissions and store and sequester carbon. CFE has brought together expertise from a range of organisation to produce straight-forward, accessible advice and guidance aimed at helping their audience make the first steps towards net zero agriculture.

As Covid19 restrictions prevented our usual on-the-ground events and engagement with farming audiences, CFE took activity online. Live webinars, recorded and published at CFEonline and on the new CFE YouTube channel, includes topics such as ‘An Introduction to Farm Carbon Calculators’Climate Resilient Farming’ and ‘Trees, Carbon & Climate Change’.

New ‘Action’ pages provide an ‘aim – actions – results’ introduction to key topics for climate change mitigation on farm, including:

Productivity and Efficiency - Feed Efficiency for Cattle

Productivity and Efficiency – Nutrient Use Efficiency

Productivity and Efficiency – Farm Building Efficiency

Young Farmers Club Climate Challenge Fund infographic

Carbon Storage and Sequestration - Hedgerows

Carbon Storage and Sequestration – Soils

Carbon Storage and Sequestration – Trees, Woodland and Forestry

Renewable Energy on Farm - Solar

CFE have also collaborated with the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs in launching their Climate Change challenge to engage the next generation of farmers in leading the way on climate-smart agriculture.

More ‘Action’ pages, free online events, podcasts and links to partner work are due to be launched in early 2021 and you can keep up-to-date with CFE news by subscribing to the monthly e-newsletter at


The Nature Premium an idea whose time has come

Logo: Nature Premium

Have you heard of the Nature Premium campaign? We are calling for the government to invest in a Nature Premium to fund regular nature experiences for all children. It’s called the Nature Premium to model it on the Sports Premium that ensures at least an hour of PE for primary school children every week. The Nature Premium would provide ring fenced funding for the statutory requirement to make sure that all children spend regular time in nature.

cartoon of a child holding a ladybird (Nature Premium)
(Nature Premium)

The campaign is run by volunteers who have seen the positive impact that time in nature has on children. The national co-ordinator of the campaign Dr Sara Collins said ‘I think the reason we are being successful is that it is a very simple idea. It’s about supporting our children’s well-being; the Nature Premium would result in happier and healthier children’.

The campaign developed from a discussion during a Forest School Association directors meeting. Although we have a Forest School background, we think it is important that schools interpret ‘nature’ to be whatever will benefit their children and surroundings. We define nature as wild school grounds, woodlands, gardening, countryside and farming, conservation, Forest School, permaculture, city farms, coast and wetlands and more.

Quote from Lily Horseman, Chair of the Forest School Association

There are many good reasons why the government should invest in the Nature Premium (see Fig 1). In fact, the Department for Education has already stated that ‘We recognise that playing and learning outside is a fundamental part of childhood and supports children’s mental health and wellbeing. We also know that some children have good access to natural spaces whilst others do not, such as those living in areas of high disadvantage’. The Nature Premium would be fair as it would treat all children the same AND remove the inequity of access to nature that has become evident during lockdown.

  • 71% of children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds reported spending less time outside since coronavirus, compared with 57% of white children.
  • Three-quarters (73%) of children from households with annual income below £17,000 spent less time outdoors, compared with 57% from households with an annual income above £17,000.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impending climate crisis there is an urgency that demands supporting the Nature Premium for the benefit of all children.

  • 71% of people agreed that time spent in/surrounded by nature has been more important to them since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis in the UK.
  • It will give children agency to face three of the biggest challenges we face: biodiversity loss, climate change and wellbeing.
  • 83% of children said that being in nature made them very happy.
wooden disc with the Nature Premium logo (Nature Premium)
(Nature Premium)

We believe that the Nature Premium will increase:

  • A range of outdoor education and nature experiences offered to all pupils to benefit their mental health, wellbeing, and education.
  • The engagement of all pupils with the natural world and human dependence on it.
  • The profile of nature, sustainability, and the UN Sustainability Development Goals as a tool for whole-school improvement and community engagement.
  • Confidence, knowledge, and skills of staff in teaching in the outdoors - in nature.
  • Participation in local and global community environment issues addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, sustainability in school and the local community and volunteering with ‘nature’ charities.

How can we fund the Nature Premium? The Sports Premium provides a model. It is primarily funded using a soft drinks levy. The government has demonstrated again and again in the last six months that a political decision can generate the necessary funding. The Nature Premium would be an investment to transform the next generation. Take a look below, the Nature Premium ticks all the boxes.

The Nature Premium ticks all the boxes, infographic
Figure 1 (Nature Premium)

Is it what the public wants?

  • A YouGov Survey (May 2020) for the RSPB sought the views of adults in England on the role of nature in our communities during the Coronavirus crisis and its potential to help in our recovery. The results show that regardless of age, social class or income, adults in England:
  1. Overwhelmingly support protecting and investing in nature and increasing accessible natural greenspace as part of our recovery from Coronavirus.
  2. Strongly oppose the UK Government reducing spending on nature or putting less emphasis on protecting nature.
  3. See nature as important for health and wellbeing and access to nature close to home as beneficial during the Coronavirus crisis.
  • An Ipsos-Mori Poll (June 2020) for Conservative Environment Network CEN revealed that Brits would view a failure to tackle pollution and climate change in a post-coronavirus recovery plan as:
  1. ‘Bad for the economy in the long run’ (67%).
  2. ‘A sign that the government has the wrong priorities’ (69%).
children's wellington boots (Nature Premium)
(Nature Premium)

The Nature Premium is an idea whose time has come.

If you would like to know more about the Nature Premium please take a look at our website

For more information or to support the campaign please contact Sara Collins

Sara A Collins
Deputy Chair , Forest School Association



From Opera Singer to Heritage Horticulturist…..

Logo: RHS

Promoting your own career can at times be something of a tortuous and difficult campaign, with many a day spent in a school hall waiting patiently for a single student to stop by. This has never been truer than in promoting careers with plants and It can at times be soul destroying as other careers appear to always attract larger numbers of new entrants, especially where parents are involved and rightly want the best for their impressionable offspring. Such a labour of love in promoting this industry under the collective title of horticulture, has been personally, one of more than 35 years, but I wonder whether horticulture as a career is any better understood amongst those impressionable students now than it was those 35 years ago when I attended my first careers convention as an employer.

Katy Watson from opera singer to horticulturist (RHS)
Katy Watson from opera singer to horticulturist (RHS)

What is clear, in this fragmented world of horticultural and countryside careers promotion, is that at the heart of all of our careers, are the plants and trees that underpin the myriad of horticultural careers that are on offer to students and careers changers at this time. It may well be that the tide is beginning to turn, with recent events around Covid19, outdoor spaces, green parks, the countryside and gardens have taken on an ever increasing importance, along with a greater interest in the plants that combine to make these spaces so appealing. The purchase of plants for both outside and inside has never been more popular with a calculated three million additional gardeners (Horticultural Trades Association) have taken up the challenge of gardening. This has resulted in an ever increasing need for additional trees and plants to fulfil this surge in demand. This upsurge in demand plus an ever increasing interest in the environment and ever growing demands for tree planting and management of the countryside must one hopes, transfer into more and more individuals who see a move to working with plants as a possible career and lifestyle change.

So how does this hoped for new surge of entrants find what they are looking for in terms of a career working with plants? Horticultural careers promotion has seen a number of schemes over a number of years, such as the Grow Careers Campaign now hosted by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and the Bright Crop project overseen by AHDB. Sadly these excellent starts have either been lost completely in terms of Bright Crop or have become somewhat inactive for many years as resources to keep them going have become more and more scarce.

Kate Nannery from office worker to grounds maintenance worker (RHS)
Kate Nannery from office worker to grounds maintenance worker (RHS)

In their absence, different sectors within the horticultural industry have set up their own very successful schemes such as GoLandscape from British Association of Landscape Industries and Choose Landscape from the Landscape Institute highlighting their own particular areas and seeking to attract new entrants into their sectors. What has been missing up till now, has been a resource that provides a careers information hub where the real variety of possible careers available within the horticultural sector can be viewed and understood. With this in mind, the Royal Horticultural Society created a new resource, based on its website, dedicated to providing an insight, into the number of careers available in horticulture. The site show cases some 50 different careers avenues with over 65 videos from both the younger generation and from careers changers highlighting their own particular career path and how they found their way into their career and their undoubtable passion for it.

What is most important to understand from this project is that underpinning all of the careers from greenkeeping to botanical artist, to plant scientist and agronomist is that plants are central to what all of them do.

Likewise this management of plants in all its forms, crosses over in many of the areas highlighted into the management and stewardship of the wider countryside and green spaces. Areas such as arboriculture, forestry, natural environment worker, ethnobotanist and entomologist to name a few of those careers featured on the website, all cross over the artificial divide we sometimes apply to different industry’s but which are all effectively based upon the management of plants be they in wild or managed situations.

Clive Boursnell from ballet dancer to  garden photographer (RHS)
Clive Boursnell from ballet dancer to garden photographer (RHS)

What the new resource tells us, is that there are a number of careers changers, who are looking to plants and the wider countryside to provide a new start away from previously chosen careers which had seemed right at the time but now for them feel constrained and often associated with high levels of stress. The setting up of this new resource, which we hope will continue to grow in terms of its content year on year and become the chosen site for individuals to find their chosen horticultural career.

The project asked individuals within the industry to explain how they found their way into their present career and from where they began, threw up a myriad of amazing stories. Examples of the more unusual routes to a career with plants, included Katy Watson a world class opera singer who toured the world and who has now trained in heritage horticulture and is working in walled gardens. Clive Boursnell who started life originally as a ballet dancer before becoming a uranium miner before moving onto several other careers before finding a real passion for plants and garden photography.

What this has taught me is that despite where these individuals began their careers, they eventually found that a love of plants and the outdoors caused them to realise that the career that had perhaps been suggested at that original careers convention or by a careers adviser was not the one they truly desired to do. The aim of the new site is to provide visitors, be they looking for their first roles or for individuals who want a change, with a resource that will provide them with the inspiration to take a chance on a career working with plants.

So the future………..further work is planned on the site to increase the number of careers represented even further and to aim for 80 to 100 profiles eventually and it would be great to feature many of the countryside opportunities with horticulture at their heart in this site. Additionally, it is planned to provide links and roadmaps for interested individuals to find the routes they need to take in order to deliver their new career of choice. 


Bringing opportunity to young people in the Dales.

Logo: Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Providing young people with the opportunity to live and work in their own area is vitally important.

Apprentices carrying out countryside management (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)
Credit: Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

This is even more apparent in rural areas such as the Yorkshire Dales where historically, the younger generation has moved away looking for employment.

Several schemes are now in place to give young people a chance to take control of their futures – and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s scheme has an 85 per cent success rate in taking people from training into further education or employment.

The Clapham-based charity’s apprenticeship programme has a specific aim: To provide young local people with a potentially life-changing opportunity to gain the qualifications, experience and rural skills needed to manage the Yorkshire Dales landscape sensitively and sustainably.

Apprentice using a lopper to clear scrub (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)
Credit: Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Its apprentices gain hands-on work experience through placements with local employers, complemented by part time college study, and specialist certificated training courses, such as chainsaw and brush cutter use, off-road driving, habitat surveying and tree planting, to name just a few.

The apprenticeships have led to many success stories over the years, with many of the young people finding themselves well placed to forge ahead on their chosen path of personal development, whether that be further education, or a fulfilling career in environmental conservation and countryside management.

YDMT’s apprentices often provide mentorship to those wanting to take the same path. Several have become Young Ambassadors with the Trust, championing rural employment opportunities, peer to peer tips, advice and environmental awareness.

Apprentices clearing wood from a river (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)
Credit: Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Jade Allen is a YDMT ambassador and former apprentice who has just secured a new role at National Trust. She had been working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust as a conservation officer since September 2018.

She said: “This apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to learn about the natural world, about myself as a person and what I cared about. I have made some amazing friends and have had some of the most incredible ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities I could never have dreamed possible.

“One of my biggest achievements was getting my chainsaw ticket in crosscutting and felling small trees. On day one of the course, I was faced with dismantling, maintaining, and putting back together a chainsaw, a really scary intimidating machine I had never come close to before. I survived … and on day two I had to fell and dismantle a tree. Not a chance…!

“I got the tree on to the ground but when I went to cut it off at the stump I hit a problem; my side case had come undone and my guide bar was on the floor several feet away. I called for help and my instructor came over. He quickly realised what had happened, saw the tears welling up in my eyes and gave me a hug. Everything was fine, my side casing simply hadn’t been quite tightened up enough, but in that moment, I was so shaken up and so full of self-doubt I didn’t think I could pick it up again.

“I did though, and five days later I had passed my assessment with flying colours. Though this was definitely in part thanks to my wonderful instructors, a lot of it was my determination and refusal to be beaten by my nerves and anxiety. For me this has been one of my biggest takeaways – even when things are big, scary and seem very much impossible, if you care enough, try your best and refuse to let your own self-doubt get in the way, you’re going to succeed.

Apprentice quadrat sampling (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)
Credit: Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

“It’s not just big things like that I’ve learnt – there are the little things that can be so easily overlooked. Not so long ago I didn’t know what a chaffinch looked like or what an earth sphagnum moss was. Now, I love to spend my time watching the wildlife around me, being able to know what they’re called and where they’ve come from. I can now confidently go to a peatbog and ID most of the plant species surrounding me. It’s small things like this I often disregard, and sometimes completely forget about, when I’m low in confidence and doubting my abilities. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for my apprenticeship. Without it there’s a very good chance I would still be stuck in a job I didn’t want to be in, working all hours under the sun and not feeling fulfilled.”

She continued: “I found school hard. I tried hard and got good grades but was never an over-achiever who stood out and got extra attention or praise. Equally, as I never needed extra help to get my grades up, I was not given the added guidance some students get. I didn’t want to go to university after completing my A levels too. I’d seemed to have had nothing but bad luck throughout school and I was fed up with the education system. As many schools are so focused on results and university acceptance letters, I felt a little lost. Now I am exceeding my own expectations and enjoying work for the first time. I am so grateful for the opportunities YDMT provide for young adults like myself. I believe everyone should be given a chance not just those at either end of the academic spectrum. For many apprenticeship schemes I would have been disregarded as a candidate as my grades and age would have discounted me. YDMT find people who really care about the natural world and give them a chance. If they think they can help you then they will try their hardest to help you progress.”

The Future

YDMT is currently recruiting for Environmental Apprentices and one Woodland Trainee to work with employers such as Cumbria Wildlife Trust (Kendal), DTMS (contractors – Fellbeck near Pateley Bridge), Dinsdale Moorland Specialists (Wigglesworth, near Settle) and Moor and Valley Ltd (Nidderdale).

More information and apply here or please contact Jo Boulter at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust: tel: 015242 51002  email: web:


CJS Focus CJS Focus on Volunteering - send your adverts now.


CJS Focus will become more career orientated this year and we're planning two editions, volunteering in February and the second edition due for publication in September will look at careers in ecology.


logo: Parks Communitylogo: National Federation of Parks and Green SpacesCJS Focus on Volunteering is due for publication on 22 February. This edition is in association with the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS) with Parks Community UK.

Two adverts types available - and both are free (of course!) 50 word general advert to promote your volunteer offer and a standard linage advert of up to 150 words for specific volunteer roles and placements.  There are paid options for bigger adverts or to make your stand out more.   The deadline for advertising is 13 February.



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.


Ecology and Biodiversity

Soaring invertebrate life at Three Hagges Woodmeadow bucks global trends - Woodmeadow Trust

Meadow brown butterfly at Three Hagges Woodmeadow © L.Campbell
Meadow brown butterfly at Three Hagges Woodmeadow © L.Campbell

More than 1,000 invertebrate species – including over 30 with a high nature conservation status – have been identified at our pioneering 25-acre flagship site, Three Hagges Woodmeadow, a site which was effectively biodiversity-free only a few years ago.

The findings at our flagship site, Three Hagges Woodmeadow – created in 2012 on a former barley field – offer hope of rapidly tackling declines in nature by establishing similar biodiversity hotspots UK-wide.

Little known in the UK, woodmeadows are mixtures of woodland and meadow that combine the biodiversity of both habitats, and are exceptionally rich in life. Over 60 flora species per square metre have been recorded in woodmeadows in Scandinavian and Baltic countries, where they were common until the last century.

“Wildlife has moved into our woodmeadow at a speed that’s taken experts by surprise, even though the site is in its infancy and won’t mature for many years,” said Ros Forbes Adam, Project Leader at the Woodmeadow Trust. “This is a real cause for optimism. It shows that woodmeadows could help reverse the UK’s catastrophic decline in biodiversity, if created on a large scale and connected to other habitats to form wildlife corridors. Our aim is to see a woodmeadow established in every parish in the country.”

Painstaking annual surveys since 2015, mostly carried out by expert Andrew Grayson, have so far formally recorded the presence of 1,113 invertebrate species – including a wide variety of ladybirds, moths, beetles, grasshoppers and spiders – with more being discovered all the time.

A wealth of insect pollinators, attracted by a huge diversity of wildflowers that form a blaze of beautiful colour in the spring and summer, includes 34 bee species, 26 butterfly species, and 43 hoverfly species – none of which would have been found on the site when it was a barley field.

Butterflies include the dingy skipper – a species usually found on chalky soil, and unexpected in Escrick – marbled white, and purple hairstreak. Bees include the red mason bee and wool carder bee, and bumblebees such as the tree bumblebee and red-tailed bumblebee.

Three Hagges Woodmeadow is situated between Selby and York and is a centre of scientific research, with national experts monitoring mammals, birds, insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians, wildflowers, trees and soil.


Landmark extension for one of Britain’s most important sites for water birds - Natural England

Pink-footed geese. Credit: Natural England
Pink-footed geese. Credit: Natural England

Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve (NNR) extended to give greater protection to more than a quarter of a million migrating water birds.

Natural England has today [9 December] confirmed that one of the most important sites in Britain for water birds - the Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Lancashire - has been extended by nearly a fifth.

The additional areas of internationally important saltmarsh and newly created wetland habitats now added to the NNR, bolstering the nature reserve’s impressive stature as the third largest in England at 5,231 hectares.

The NNR is one of Britain’s most important sites for water birds, with many rare and threatened species breeding or wintering there each year. Over a quarter of a million migrating water birds gather on the marshes each winter, including the iconic sight and sound of tens of thousands of pink-footed geese that migrate to the estuary from Greenland and Iceland during the autumn. The Ribble Estuary is also an important site for declining birds including lapwings, ringed plovers, sanderling, and redshanks, as well as being one of the UK’s strongholds for water voles.

Today’s declaration is a result of a partnership of many landowners and stakeholders across the estuary – including Natural England, The RSPB, and LDWA – who have collaborated to secure greater protection and management for the Ribble Estuary’s rich habitats.


European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List - IUCN

Gland, Switzerland, 10 December 2020 (IUCN) – The European bison (Bison bonasus), Europe’s largest land mammal, has moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened thanks to continued conservation efforts, according to today’s update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. With this update, 31 species also move into the Extinct category, and all of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are now threatened with extinction.

There are now 128,918 species on the IUCN Red List, of which 35,765 are threatened with extinction.

“The European bison and twenty-five other species recoveries documented in today’s IUCN Red List update demonstrate the power of conservation,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General. “Yet the growing list of Extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand. To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture, and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world and be incorporated into all sectors of the economy. The conservation successes in today’s Red List update provide living proof that the world can set, and meet, ambitious biodiversity targets. They further highlight the need for real, measurable commitments as we formulate and implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework,” said Dr Jane Smart, Global Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group.


30% of Scotland’s land to be protected for nature - Scottish Government

Next steps on tackling biodiversity loss published.

Plans to protect at least 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030 – and to examine options to extend this further – have been announced today (14 December) by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

The proposals were published in a new ‘Statement of Intent on Biodiversity’ which sets out the Scottish Government’s priorities for tackling biodiversity loss as part of a twin-crises approach to ending our contribution to climate change and ecological decline.

Currently, 37% of Scotland’s marine environment receives protection with 22.7% of terrestrial land protected for nature. The Statement commits to increasing protection on land to 30% by 2030 and examining options to extend this even further.

The announcement comes ahead of the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan update very shortly, with nature-based solutions to climate challenge expected to form a key part of the update. Restoring peatland and woodland creation will be at the heart of the proposals and are supported by an additional £500 million of previously committed investment in our natural economy.

Ms Cunningham launched the Statement at a summit convened to discuss the enormous opportunities in restoring Scotland’s peatland areas and how to make this happen at the scale required.

Other commitments in the document include plans to support new, locally driven projects that aim to improve ecological connectivity, endorsing the ‘Leaders’ Pledge for Nature’ presented at this year’s United Nations General Assembly, and developing a new national strategy on biodiversity.

Ms Cunningham said: “Dealing with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is one of the most important challenges of this generation. It requires global action and Scotland has played a key leadership role in international negotiations, agreeing ‘The Edinburgh Declaration’ with international partners.”


The Wildlife Trusts’ marine review 2020 - The Wildlife Trusts

  • Whale, dolphin and tuna sightings thrill during seaside staycation surge
  • Sir David Attenborough calls for a halt to activities that damage our seas
Guillemots on sea cliffs of Handa Island
Guillemots on Handa Island © Pete Haskell

Thousands of people thrilled at the sight of whales and dolphins, a breath-taking ‘run’ of Atlantic bluefin tuna delighted observers from Cornwall to Kent, an extremely rare sea slug appeared in UK waters, and rare sand lizards established a new home at their most northerly point in England – these are just a few of the highlights from The Wildlife Trusts’ 2020 marine review.

The Wildlife Trusts’ Living Seas teams are the eyes and ears of the UK coast and today they reveal their most memorable highlights of 2020 – a marine review of the year.

Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of living seas, says: “In 2020 people flocked to the sea as soon as lockdown restrictions were lifted – they needed the coast as never before. Wildlife Trusts around the country were reporting a surge of public interest in marine life and coastal species. From the Risso’s dolphins in Wales and minke whales off Yorkshire, to the partying bottlenose dolphins off Teeside and the bluefin tuna racing up the south coast – people delighted in seeing marine life and it lifted the hearts of millions in this difficult year. However, we have taken these wonders for granted for too long and it’s vital we recognise that the future of life on earth is inseparable from the health of the sea. Our oceans are in trouble and the UK will not achieve its climate and environmental targets without restoring marine habitats. That’s why The Wildlife Trusts are appealing for £30m to help put 30% of land and sea into recovery for nature by 2030.”

And in related news:
Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of marine conservation, awarded OBE in the New Year 2021 Honours List


World could lose coral reefs by end of century, UN environment report warns - United Nations Environment Programme

“In the face of inaction, coral reefs will soon disappear,” Leticia Carvalho, head of UNEP’s Marine and Freshwater Branch said on Monday 21 December. “Humanity must act with evidence-based urgency, ambition and innovation to change the trajectory for this ecosystem, which is the canary in the coalmine for climate’s impact on oceans, before it’s too late.”

Coral reefs are incredibly important and sustain a wide variety of marine life. They also protect coastlines from erosions from waves and storms, sink carbon and nitrogen and help recycle nutrients. Their loss would have devastating consequences not only for marine life, but also for over a billion people globally who benefit directly or indirectly from them.

Coral bleaching

When water temperatures rise, corals expel the vibrant microscopic algae living in their tissues. This phenomenon is called coral bleaching. Though bleached corals are still alive and can recover their algae, if conditions improve. However, the loss puts them under increased stressed, and if the bleaching persists, the corals die.

The last global bleaching event started in 2014 and extended well into 2017. It spread across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, and was the longest, most pervasive and destructive coral bleaching incident ever recorded.

In its report Projections of Future Coral Bleaching Conditions, UNEP outlines the links between coral bleaching and climate change. It postulates two possible scenarios: a “worst-case scenario” of the world economy heavily driven by fossil fuels; and a “middle-of-the-road” wherein countries exceed their current pledges to limit carbon emissions by 50 per cent.


Tackling nature loss report – 2021 a ‘big year’ for nature - NatureScot

A new report reveals progress made to tackle biodiversity loss in Scotland and the challenges ahead.

NatureScot has published its Biodiversity Duty Report 2018-2020, detailing the work done in recent years to tackle nature loss and the opportunities and challenges 2021 will bring, with much still to be achieved.

Winter sun at Hermaness National Nature Reserve. © Daniel Brazier / NatureScot
Winter sun at Hermaness National Nature Reserve. © Daniel Brazier / NatureScot

Highlights in the report include:

  • Putting more than 25,000 hectares of Scottish peatland on the road to recovery to lock in carbon, improve water quality and reduce flooding.
  • Protecting 37 per cent of our seas through Marine Protected Areas.
  • Leading an ambitious partnership to protect and enhance habitats for some of Scotland’s most endangered species including the great yellow bumblebee, wading birds such as lapwing and curlew, and the Scottish primrose.
  • Delivering more than £4 million worth of habitat and species restoration work all over Scotland through Biodiversity Challenge Funds.
  • Creating pollinator networks, making Scotland a place where pollinators, such as bees and hoverflies, can thrive.
  • Investing in Green Infrastructure, bringing nature close to where people work and live, and providing nature-based solutions to climate change, flood alleviation, water quality and equitable access to good quality green space.
  • Creating a genetic diversity indicator for wild species that can be used by any country in the world to help ensure we maintain genetic diversity for the future.
  • Working closely with land managers and farmers to develop eco-farming methods.

NatureScot’s Biodiversity Duty Report for 2018-2020 can be found here.


Scotland’s Marine Assessment 2020 launched - JNCC

A new online platform which assesses the condition of Scotland’s marine environment and the human activity it supports has been launched.

More than 250 scientists have contributed to Scotland’s Marine Assessment 2020, which brings together data from 183 studies to provide an up-to-date review of Scotland’s seas.

The assessments found that progress is being made to improve the health of Scotland’s seas. It also found that:

  • progress is being made to reduce the levels of nutrients and contaminants in our seas;
  • the marine economy is providing significant economic and social benefits to coastal communities while the growth of industries like offshore wind, wave and tidal energy are of increasing importance to the Scottish economy;
  • Marine Protected Areas and measures to tackle marine litter need more time to be fully effective;
  • climate change is the most critical factor affecting our seas and impacts on coastal flooding, erosion and marine species;
  • collaboration with coastal communities, industries, public authorities and international partners is essential to improve the state of Scotland’s Seas.

The findings will be used to inform the forthcoming review of Scotland’s National Marine Plan and the development of the Blue Economy Action Plan. They will also help inform future management of the Marine Protected Area network.

Scotland’s Marine Assessment 2020 can be accessed via the Marine Scotland information portal. It is a Programme for Government commitment 2019/2020.


New report finds bottom trawling taking place in 98% of UK’s offshore Marine Protected Areas - Marine Conservation Society

Today (6 January), we’ve released our Marine unProtected Areas report which found that bottom trawling is taking place in a worrying 98% of the UK’s offshore Marine Protected Areas designed to protect the seabed. As a result of the report, and the yearlong research which informed it, we’re calling for a ban on bottom trawling in these protected areas.

Bottom trawling is a method of fishing that can damage the seabed, kill animals and plants, and release carbon from the seafloor which can enter our atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

Out of all the UK’s Marine Protected Areas, just 5% currently ban bottom trawling (and only in inshore waters less than 12 miles from our coasts). Continuing to allow this fishing method in protected areas is equivalent to bulldozing a national park on land.

All but one of the offshore Marine Protected Areas, which are meant to safeguard the seabed, experienced bottom trawling and dredging between 2015 and 2018. Bottom trawl and dredge vessels spent at least 89,894 hours fishing the seabed inside Marine Protected Areas between 2015 and 2018.

By completely banning bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas designed to protect the seabed, it is possible for our seas to recover.

Within five years of protection from bottom trawling, animals in three UK and Isle of Man Marine Protected Areas were found to be larger and more diverse. And, when areas of sea around the world were fully protected, biodiversity was found to increase by an average of 21%.

To find out more about this issue, read our summary report here. You can read the full technical report here.

Defra response to coverage on banning supertrawlers and pulse fishing - Defra in the media blog

A Defra spokesperson said: "As an independent coastal state we can now review which vessels, including supertrawlers, can access and fish our waters.

The new licensing framework within the Fisheries Act will allow us to apply conditions to the activities of all fishing vessels in our waters - regardless of their nationality – and will need to abide by UK rules around sustainability and access to our ‘Blue Belt’ of protected waters."


Land and Countryside Management

Wildlife Trust launches vision of wildscape to replace bleak Broadmarsh - Nottingham Wildlife Trust

A visualisation of how the site, previously a multi-level indoor shopping mall could be transformed into a natural greenspace. (Taken from a master planning document prepared for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust by Influence)
A visualisation of how the site, previously a multi-level indoor shopping mall could be transformed into a natural greenspace. (Taken from a master planning document prepared for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust by Influence)

Following the collapse of the operators of Nottingham’s Broadmarsh shopping centre, INTU, and the return of the site’s lease to Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, a locally based charity which has championed wildlife in the city for over 30 years, has developed a bold vision in which this key area of the city centre site is reimagined as 100% natural greenspace.

Since the site was handed back to the Council in the summer, there has been much talk locally over the site’s future. A petition started by Cameron Ewan of West Bridgford calling for the area to be transformed into public greenspace secured almost 11,000 signatures and other polls have also supported calls for a new greenspace.

As Nottingham seeks to recover from the human and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that a Broadmarsh re-imagined as natural greenspace would improve the health of city residents, provide vital access to nature for those without gardens and stimulate investment.

Speaking about the vision Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said: “By putting people and nature at the heart of plans for the Broadmarsh site Nottingham City Council can grasp a once in a generation opportunity to carve out a green future for the city centre. As well as signalling the City’s commitment to helping secure 30% of land across the UK for nature by 2030, this new vision would support Nottingham’s ambition to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city, boost tourism and ensure that Nottingham stands out from the crowd as city’s across the UK compete for investment to rebuild their economies after the impact of Covid-19.”


Looe Bay Super Seagrass - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Seagrass by Paul Kay
Seagrass by Paul Kay

New research has revealed that seagrass beds in Looe Bay are up to ten times larger than those in Plymouth, Falmouth and Torbay, making them one of the largest such habitats in the whole of Devon and Cornwall. This comes as an important finding for the Looe Marine Conservation Group (Looe MCG), to effectively monitor and protect the beds for now and into the future.

Seagrass habitats are found across the UK and play and essential role in fighting the increased atmospheric carbon emissions. Looe’s large seagrass bed performs an important role within the fight against climate change, as such the habitat requires continual monitoring to understand changes in the beds size and health.

Work resulting from a partnership between the Looe MCG, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and the University of Plymouth has revealed that the seagrass beds of Looe Bay cover approximately 1.1km2 of seabed, an area equivalent to 157 football pitches.

The beds stretch from Hannafore in the West to Millendreath in the East, and offer shelter to a diverse range of ecologically important marine animals and plants.

These include cuttlefish and stalked jellyfish, the latter being one of the reasons why a 52km2 Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) was designated in 2013.

The MCZ designation also requires that the seagrass beds are maintained in ‘favourable condition’, enabling them to function as an essential nursery ground for commercial fish species and helping to store carbon, a vital component in tackling the climate crisis.


Dark Sky Reserve Success for National Parks - Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks have been designated International Dark Sky Reserves, joining an exclusive global family of Dark Sky Places.

Vibrant Milky Way over Norber Ridge by Matt Gibson YDNP
Vibrant Milky Way over Norber Ridge by Matt Gibson YDNP

The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors are home to some of the darkest skies in the country, with large areas of unpolluted night sky where it’s possible to see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, meteors and even the Northern Lights.

As part of a coordinated approach by the two National Parks, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), has granted Reserve status to both areas, which combined cover over 3500 km2 of northern England. This is by far the biggest such announcement in the UK and represents one of the largest areas in Europe to be simultaneously designated.

Both National Parks have worked hard over several years to achieve this award, gaining support from councils, parishes, landowners, businesses and renowned astronomical experts.

Jim Bailey, Chairman of the North York Moors National Park Authority said: “’It’s a wonderful thing to see a meteorite streak across the night sky, or to look up and appreciate the brilliance of the Milky Way. As a child I took these sights for granted, but now it’s absolutely something we need to protect for generations to come. This designation as an International Dark Sky Reserve is the culmination of immense dedication and teamwork, and it will continue as we encourage more people to think carefully about our night time environment. From helping nocturnal wildlife to providing a boost for off-season tourism, the North York Moors looks set to have a better, darker future.”

Neil Heseltine, Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “Those lucky enough to live in the Yorkshire Dales National Park know what it is to experience the wonder of some of the darkest skies in the country, and it’s thrilling that the Dales has received recognition for one of its most special qualities. Designation provides a fantastic opportunity to encourage tourism in the autumn and winter months, and to work with local authorities, businesses and communities to ensure our dark skies are protected.”


King's Wood and Rushmere National Nature Reserve gains 43 hectares - Natural England

Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire to benefit from expansion to National Nature Reserve.

An area of land dedicated to the conservation, study and enjoyment of England’s wildlife is to be made even bigger with an extension to Bedfordshire’s largest National Nature Reserve.

Already boasting around 148 hectares, the protected area at King’s Wood and Rushmere is set to gain an extra 43, bringing its total size to 191 hectares.

Best of England’s nature

The extension into Buckinghamshire, granted by Natural England, means that an even greater, cross-county area of countryside and wildlife will benefit from legal protection and expert environmental management.

People will benefit too, with National Nature Reserves being much-loved places to enjoy and study the best of England’s natural surroundings.

Located between Milton Keynes and Luton, the National Nature Reserve at King’s Wood and Rushmere is one of just three such sites in Bedfordshire.

Home to variety of species

Established in 1993, the reserve includes heath, ancient woodland, grassland, wetland, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and parts of the Rushmere Country Park.

It is home to a variety of species including the barbastelle bat, the purple emperor butterfly, and Bedfordshire’s largest population of lily of the valley.

The 43-hectare expansion covers land managed by Tarmac and The Greensand Trust, which already manage parts of the existing reserve alongside Central Bedfordshire Council and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

Managing nature’s recovery

Tarmac has passed strict assessments to become an ‘approved body’ for managing National Nature Reserves. It is one of just a few commercial organisations nationwide to have achieved the status, showing it has the skills, capabilities and desire to manage nature’s recovery and encourage people to connect with their environment.

Part of the site, Shire Oak Heath, has recently been acquired by The Greensand Trust, which carries out conservation work and provide access across much of the King’s Wood and Rushmere National Nature Reserve. The charity is working hard to bring the rare heathland habitats back to their former glory.


New analysis shows that burning of moorlands is the biggest threat to England’s most important places for wildlife - RSPB

New analysis of Government data by the RSPB shows that the burning of moorlands is the biggest identified threat to England’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

The analysis also shows that no reason has been identified for half of England’s SSSIs that are in poor condition.

These findings have been hidden in the data published by Natural England, which is only based on a small subset of the SSSIs that are in poor condition.

A new analysis of Government data by the RSPB shows that the burning of moorlands is the biggest identified threat to England’s most important places for wildlife, known as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

The other major finding in the analysis is that Natural England has not identified any reason for half of all the English SSSIs that are in poor condition. This means that we do not know why 316,167 hectares of England’s SSSIs are in poor condition, an area roughly the size of Gloucestershire.

Without this information, it will be impossible for Government and Natural England to put in place the actions needed to achieve the target to restore 75% of SSSIs to good condition.

Whilst burning is the largest known cause of SSSIs in poor condition, the analysis also identifies overgrazing and water pollution (especially from agriculture) as being important contributors to the parlous state of these sites.

Moorlands are burned to create habitat for grouse for shooting and also to make them more productive for grazing. This causes long-lasting damage to highly sensitive peatland habitats and the loss of threatened species. It also results in the release of carbon to the atmosphere (adding to climate change), reduces the quality of drinking water (increasing water bills), increases water run-off (exacerbating the risk of flooding) and adds to air pollution.

Natural England publishes the reasons why SSSIs are in poor condition on their website. However, this data is incomplete and misleading. 61% of SSSIs in England are in poor condition. Natural England’s published data only includes the reasons for the poor condition of 8% of SSSIs. It excludes the reasons why 53% of sites are in poor condition because Natural England considers that these are ‘recovering’.


Highland farmer to create landscape size woodland - Scottish Forestry

A farmer based in Sutherland is to grow the largest woodland to be approved by Scottish Forestry this century.

From end to end, the new 933 hectare woodland will stretch over 12km along Strath Carnaig, strengthening the current native woodland networks on a landscape scale.

The view of the new woodlands established, seen here from the coastal road from Skelbo.(image: Cawdor Forestry)
The view of the new woodlands established, seen here from the coastal road from Skelbo.(image: Cawdor Forestry)

Dornoch farmer, Ken Greenland, worked closely with Scottish Forestry’s Highland and Islands Conservancy team to approve the plan, which aims to increase the biodiversity of the Cambusmore estate.

Nearly all the new trees – 1.4 million in total - will be native species, mostly scots pine and birch with rowan, oak, aspen and alder. The plan will also see natural regeneration to help grow the woodland over time. Around 58 ha has been earmarked for timber production.

The new planting will sequester nearly 50,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2045, contributing towards the Scottish Government’s climate change commitment to reach net zero emissions. This is the equivalent to soaking up the emissions of 11,000 cars being used for a year.

Restoring peatland on Skye - John Muir Trust

Thanks to funding from NatureScot’s Peatland Action programme, work is now underway to restore 36.5 hectares of peat bog at Strathaird

The first phase of work at Faoilean on our Strathaird Estate involves the felling and extracting of 17 hectares of Sitka spruce. As the site is cleared the focus will shift to reprofiling ditch and furrow irrigation channels; creating peat dams and blocking drains to increase water levels; and smoothing the ground by ‘stump flipping’ the felled spruce.

Rich Williams, the Trust’s Land Operations Manager (North), is delighted that the work is now underway after many years of planning. He said: “The site was partially felled about 10 years ago, but this funding means we can now remove all non-native Sitka spruce from the site. This will ensure that the carbon already stored up in the site is secured, while also enabling the bog restoration and carbon sequestration processes to get underway, resulting in important gains for both biodiversity and carbon storage. Part of the work will involve the removal of Sitka spruce seedlings across the site and, in the future, we hope that Trust volunteers will help us remove any spruce seedlings that germinate on the site.


New £5 million project to save woodlands - Natural England

Natural England’s LIFE in the Ravines project is launched today (22 December) with £5 million of funding.

  • The project will restore the ravine woodlands in the Peak District National Park
  • The project will tackle ash dieback in the ravines

The future of the beautiful ravine woodlands in the Peak District is looking brighter thanks to £5 million in funding.

The LIFE in the Ravines partnership project, led by Natural England, will tackle the threat that ash dieback poses to the forested river valleys of the Peak District. The project has received £3.6m in funding from the EU LIFE programme, with the remainder coming from project partners.

Natural England’s chief executive Marian Spain, said: "I’m so pleased that Natural England and its partners are able to work together to support Nature’s Recovery. This innovative project will help restore the landscape and wildlife of this much-loved area of the country following the devastation of ash die back. That means people who live and visit the Peak District will be able to appreciate the natural beauty of the woodland habitats once again and for generations to come."

Project partners include the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and the Chatsworth Estate. The project is also working with the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire Dales District Council, the Arkwright Society, the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust.


Planners give green light to Otter Valley project - Environment Agency

A project to help a river valley adapt to climate change and create an internationally important wildlife reserve now has planning permission.

East Devon District Council has approved a pioneering project to help a river valley on England’s Jurassic Coast adapt to climate change and create an internationally important wildlife reserve.

The EU-funded Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) will reconnect the River Otter to its historic floodplain and return the lower Otter Valley to a more natural condition; creating more than 50ha of intertidal mudflats, saltmarsh and other valuable estuarine habitats.

LORP is a partnership between the Environment Agency, local landowner Clinton Devon Estates, and the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust that currently manages the estuary. It also has the support of Natural England, RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust.

The success of the £15 million project rested on it being given the thumbs up by East Devon District Council. Planning approval means work on the project can start this spring (2021) and be completed by early 2023.

The Lower Otter Restoration Project is mainly funded by the European Interreg programme through an initiative called Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts (PACCo). It is partnered with a similar project in the Saâne Valley in Normandy, France. Both are pilot projects that aim to demonstrate an important principle – that early adaptation to climate change brings greater benefits than a delayed response or inaction. If successful, the adaptation model for these two projects will be rolled out to other locations in the UK and France.


Farming for Change - Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

FFCC has today published Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030. The report introduces new research showing agroecology can produce enough healthy food for a future UK population and explores how this new technical modelling challenges and develops our thinking about a new food and farming system.

The research also addresses the big questions: How do we feed a growing population, healthily? Respond to a changing climate? Create a resilient, secure and fair farming system? Tackle the nature and health crises?

Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030, explores these questions in detail and reveals the research that shows that, with the right enabling conditions, we can grow enough healthy food for a future population while

  • eliminating synthetic fertilisers and pesticides
  • nearly doubling amount of land available for green and ecological infrastructure (ponds, hedges, meadows etc.)
  • releasing 7.5% of current agricultural area for more flexible use
  • reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture by at least 38% by 2050 (with potential to offset 60%+ of remaining emissions through an afforestation scenario)
  • all without compromising food security or offshoring food production and the associated environmental impacts.

In its 2019 report Our Future in the Land, FFCC argued that “farming can be a force for change, with a transition to agroecology by 2030”. Its new report, Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030, published on 7 January, provides further signposts for that route, through the difficult and sometimes polarising arguments about how best to solve the intertwined climate, nature and health crises.

Read the report here



Wildlife and Animal news


2020 Climate change extremes result in mixed fortunes for wildlife - The National Trust

Extreme weather events including one of the hottest years on record has once again had a huge impact on UK wildlife in 2020 – but many species have also seen a boost due to the absence of people as a result of lockdown, the National Trust said.

Fewer people during the peak breeding season of spring has seen wildlife move in and plants thrive in locations that would ordinarily be considered tourist hotspots.

Peregrine Falcon chicks on stony ledge at Corfe Castle. Credit Neil Davidson
Peregrine Falcon chicks at Corfe Castle. Credit Neil Davidson

This unintended consequence resulted in previously rare sightings of animals, including peregrine falcons nesting in the ancient ruins of Corfe Castle in Dorset, grey partridges wandering in a car park near Cambridge, and a cuckoo at Osterley in west London - having not been heard here for 20 years.

However, extreme weather events as a result of a changing climate impacted numbers and breeding patterns elsewhere.

The storms in June coupled with high tides and strong winds spelt disaster for the little terns at Long Nanny where nests were washed away. This seabird has been in serious national decline since the 1980s with fewer than 2,000 pairs now left in the UK.

The tern colony at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland struggled this year, with numbers of sandwich, arctic and common tern all lower than 2019 due to predation and high tides.

Ben McCarthy, Head of Conservation and Ecology Restoration at the National Trust: “The impacts of climate change are being felt by our wildlife. Already under pressure from pollution, habitat loss and inappropriate management, climate change magnifies many of these pressures. Changes to the seasons and changeable weather can play havoc with our wildlife, knocking the delicate balance of nature out of kilter with serious knock on effects for us all. We are already locked into significant environmental change that means snowy winters will become increasingly rare, whilst extreme events in the summer will add stress to our threatened wildlife. As ever there will be winners and losers - the Dartford warbler and marbled white butterfly increasing their range, whilst our land may be more attractive to migrants like the Clifden nonpareil moth. However, there are more losers than winners with the abundance and distribution of many species continuing to decrease and some groups particularly vulnerable to climate change. At the National Trust we are focusing our efforts on nature’s recovery, not only for its own sake but, as became abundantly clear this year it so important to our own health and well-being."


Scottish SPCA looks back at some unusual rescues of 2020 - Scottish SPCA

Pine marten in bird feeder (image: SSPCA)
Pine marten in bird feeder (image: SSPCA)

The Scottish SPCA has shared some of the unusual rescues of 2020 involving a swan on a roof, a pine marten stuck in a bird feeder and a stranded seal!

We continued to rescue and care for animals throughout the year over the pandemic.

In November, animal rescue officer, Stuart Louch, was called out to the rare rescue of a pine marten. The pine marten had its foot trapped in a bird feeder in a garden in Doune in Perthshire where it regularly came to feed. Pine martens can be quite difficult to handle so it was an effort to safely remove him from the feeder.

Stuart said: “I have a fascination with pine martens so this rescue was really exciting for me. The pine marten had potentially been stuck since the previous night so was desperate to get free from the bird feeder. He was very wriggly so it was quite a tricky task to remove him safely. Once I’d freed him he latched himself on to my glove so we had a small wrestle! I was then able to release him nearby to the delight of the caller who enjoys watching the pine marten in their garden.”

The expert team at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre was kept busy over lockdown with 6,711 admissions from March to the end of 2020. One admission was a seal who found herself in a tight spot in Eyemouth in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

The seal had hauled out of the water in Killiedraught Bay which is surrounded by cliffs and is difficult to access. Inspector Jenny Scott had to leave her van at the top of the cliffs and make her way down to the injured seal pup.



Scots want beavers moved not shot, new research finds - Trees for Life

A majority of Scots agree beavers should be moved to new locations in Scotland instead of being killed, according to new research.

The findings come as Highland-based rewilding charity Trees for Life seeks to raise £40,000 through a crowdfunding appeal to help protect Scotland’s wild beavers. This will cover the costs of its current legal challenge over the failure of NatureScot – the Scottish Government’s nature agency – to make the killing of beavers a genuine last resort when the species needs managing.

beaver head and front paws visible above still green water surface.
Beaver (©

The Protect Beavers In Scotland campaign has been boosted by a new opinion poll showing that 66% of Scots agree beavers should be relocated to new areas of Scotland instead of being killed when they need managing. Only 5% of those asked disagreed.

“With the future of Scotland’s endangered beavers hanging in the balance, it’s increasingly clear that NatureScot’s current illegal approach to beaver conservation is also out of step with public opinion,” said Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life’s Chief Executive. “It shows people want to live alongside these biodiversity-boosting, flood-preventing animals – a finding boosted by the fantastic response to our current crowdfunding appeal to protect Scotland’s beavers.”

The opinion poll was carried out by market research agency Survation for the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, a coalition of organisations including Trees for Life. Over 1,000 people were asked whether they agreed or disagreed that NatureScot should relocate beavers before considering authorising their killing.

Record breeding year for critically endangered wildcats - The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

wildcat kitten looking at the camera from a conifer tree
Credit: Highland Wildlife Park

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is celebrating a record breeding year after 57 wildcat kittens were born within the UK conservation breeding programme in 2020.

In total, 22 litters of kittens were welcomed across 10 of the many zoos, wildlife parks and private collections working with the wildlife conservation charity which has managed the captive population since 2015, ensuring it has the potential to support conservation efforts for the critically endangered species.

Following habitat loss, persecution and breeding with domestic cats, wildcats are on the brink of extinction in Britain and RZSS is also leading a new partnership project, Saving Wildcats, which aims to secure a future for the Highland tiger by breeding wildcats and releasing them into the wild.

David Barclay, Saving Wildcats ex-situ conservation manager and coordinator of the UK conservation breeding programme, said, “Wildcats are one of Britain’s rarest and most endangered mammals which means every one of these kittens is a potential lifeline. Over the last few years, the members of the wildcat breeding programme have demonstrated the immense value in working together to secure a future for this iconic species.”

As part of the Saving Wildcats project, a dedicated conservation breeding for release centre is being built at Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore. The centre will provide facilities for breeding, veterinary care, remote monitoring and training to prepare the cats for life in the wild, with the goal of releasing the first cats in 2022.



Europe's breeding birds get long-overdue stocktake - British Trust for Ornithology

Cattle Egret by Philip Croft
Cattle Egret by Philip Croft

New European Breeding Bird Atlas, a milestone for biodiversity research and nature conservation in Europe, is published today.


The European Bird Census Council (EBCC) publishes the second European Breeding Bird Atlas EBBA2, a milestone for biodiversity knowledge in Europe

A tremendous collaborative effort by the EBCC and its partner organisations made it possible to collect bird data from across 11 million km2 in a systematic and standardised manner.

With around 120,000 volunteer fieldworkers from all countries in Europe, EBBA2 is one of the biggest citizen science projects on biodiversity ever.

Selected results

Almost 600 bird species currently breed in Europe; 539 are native species and 57 non-native (introduced from elsewhere in the world). Most of these species are not widespread but restricted to small areas of Europe.

35% of all native species have increased the area where they breed over the last 30 years, 25% have contracted their breeding range and the rest did not show a change or the trend is unknown.

‘Winners’, with increased ranges, include many species of forests and those protected by international legislation. ‘Losers’, with decreased ranges, include many species of farmland.

Land use change and climate change appear to be the main causes of changes in distribution.

During the fieldwork period 2013–2017 EBBA2 recorded 539 native bird species breeding in Europe, 59 of which are mainly concentrated in Europe (near-endemics) and 40 are species that can be found only in Europe (endemic). There are few species as widespread as White Wagtail or Common Cuckoo, which were recorded in over 85% of all 50-km squares surveyed in EBBA2. More than 50% of the species occurred in less than 10% of all surveyed squares, so that all countries and regions have their own specific responsibility towards this common wealth.


Nature reserve sees best breeding season for rare little terns for 25 years - National Trust

Little tern ©National Trust Images/Ian Ward
Little tern ©National Trust Images/Ian Ward

One of the UK’s few remaining little tern colonies has had its most successful season for 25 years thanks to a lack of disturbance, few predators and a helping of luck.

Nesting pairs of little terns fledged over 200 chicks at Blakeney Point, a four-mile shingle spit off the north Norfolk coast cared for by the National Trust.

The news comes as a welcome boost to the seabird, which has been in serious decline nationally since the 1980s, with fewer than 2,000 pairs now left in the UK.

Rangers counted 154 pairs of little terns nesting over the summer months and 201 chicks - the most since 1994.

Common terns had a similarly successful year, with 289 pairs fledging at least 170 chicks, the most since 1999. Rangers believe the dramatic increase may have been a result of wet weather in June which flooded common tern colonies elsewhere leading the birds to relocate to Blakeney.

Sandwich terns were late arrivals to the site but arrived in high numbers, almost triple that of the previous year.

National Trust Countryside Manager Chris Bielby said: “Blakeney Point is part of a network of nesting sites for terns and plays a vital role in the survival of these summer migrants. Little terns have been rapidly declining in the UK for the past few decades, so it’s particularly rewarding to see so many of these tiny seabirds fledging the nest. The species is still very much at risk and we’ll need to keep up our efforts to make sure they have safe places to breed. But for now, it’s good to be able to celebrate a successful season given what a challenging year 2020 has been.”


Wintering waterbirds on the increase - NatureScot

Dunlin ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot
Dunlin ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Numbers of wintering waterbirds in Scotland have increased overall but some species, particularly waders, are being affected by our changing climate.

NatureScot’s latest Biodiversity Indicator monitors the populations of 41 species including wildfowl, waders, cormorant, grebes and coot using data from the Wetland Bird Survey.

The research shows that overall numbers have increased by 25% since 1975, but there is considerable variation between groups and individual species. Most waterbirds can be highly mobile and research has shown that some are shifting their distributions in response to environmental changes.

Numbers of waders – including species such as dunlin, knot, golden plover and lapwing - have declined by 10%, after peaking around 1997/98.

Part of the reason for this is climate related - Scotland is in an important position within the East Atlantic Flyway, the migration route used by these waders, and climate change has resulted in some species shifting wintering sites.

Knot and dunlin, for example, are highly mobile, with milder winters allowing birds to remain on continental wintering sites rather than coming to Scotland.

Wildfowl numbers have remained relatively stable, but while species such as swans and red-breasted merganser have increased, goosander, goldeneye and scaup have declined.

Mallard numbers in Scotland have also declined by 40%, matching the UK national trend. The reasons are unclear, but some mallard migrate from the continent and may be choosing to remain there during milder winters. Further research is required to understand the reasons for the decrease.

Barn owl study finds improved breeding performance - Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Barn owl breeding success last year was four percent higher, at 2.66 fledglings per nest, than the preceding four-year average, according to a new report from the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use. On the same basis, a 17% increase was also found in the percentage of nests that produced fledglings.

These findings are from the annual Barn Owl Monitoring Scheme (BOMS), one of the formal surveillance studies for the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime, operated by CRRU and overseen by a Health and Safety Executive-led Government Oversight Group.

This latest report explains that breeding productivity can vary markedly from year to year. It attributes this primarily to changes at critical times of the breeding cycle in the abundance of prey - mainly voles and field mice - and extreme weather, such as 2013's Beast from the East.

The barn owl is nominated by HSE as a sentinel for other rural predators of small mammals that are also exposed to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). The BOMS report points out that the impact, if any, of this exposure on barn owl breeding "is difficult to quantify directly".

The scheme's purpose includes to provide context for separate analysis, also funded by CRRU, of rodenticide residues in barn owls. The next annual Rodenticide Residues in Barn Owls report on samples collected in 2019 will be published soon. In the 2018 sample reported last year, detectable anticoagulant rodenticide residues were found in 87% of barn owls.

Regardless whether residues affect breeding performance or not, CRRU chairman Dr Alan Buckle says they are clearly unacceptable and consistent professionalism is essential among all pest controllers, farmers and gamekeepers. "Best practice by a responsible majority is not enough," he urges, "it's a must for everyone, without exception or excuses. In 2021, subject of course to easing of coronavirus measures, there will be an official in-depth review of the stewardship regime's implementation and impact on wildlife. To be judged effective, lasting reductions in rodenticide residues carried by non-target wildlife are expected by the oversight group. Without such evidence, we might anticipate further restrictions on how rodenticides can be used, and by whom. Clearly, responsibility is squarely in users' own hands."


New report reveals declines in UK’s woodland birds - RSPB

  • New data show long-term declines of woodland bird species
  • Some specialist woodland species have declined dramatically, including willow tit, which has shown the second biggest decline of any widespread UK bird.
  • Numbers of native birds overall are down, with 19 million fewer pairs of breeding birds in the UK compared to the late 1960s.

The distribution and numbers of birds in the UK are changing dramatically, with many species experiencing worrying declines according to a new report.

The State of the UK’s Birds 2020 (SUKB) - the one-stop shop for all the latest results from bird surveys and monitoring studies – this year highlights the continuing poor fortunes of the UK’s woodland birds.

The woodland bird indicator shows a long-term decline of 27% since the early 1970s, with declines of 7% evident over just the last five years. More worryingly some specialist woodland birds have declined dramatically, including willows tits, which have shown the second biggest decline of any UK bird. The breeding populations of five other species (lesser spotted woodpecker, lesser redpoll, spotted flycatcher, capercaillie and marsh tit), are now less than a quarter of what they were 50 years ago. Changes in the way our woodlands are managed are thought to be the main cause.

The report does contain better news for some species. In Wales, house sparrows increased by 92% from 1995 to 2018. Across the whole of the UK, house sparrow is still the third most common breeding bird, but the millions of pairs that have disappeared since monitoring started in the late 60s puts these increases in context.

Climate change is predicted to impact UK bird populations and, for example, is behind the increases in numbers of Cetti’s warblers. However, for several large waterbirds, including great white egrets, cattle egrets, little egrets, little bitterns and spoonbills, better protection of both the birds themselves and the wetland habitats they require also appear to be contributing to the increase.


Feeding stations on farms to boost bird numbers project - Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

“Over-winter supplementary feeding is one of a number of methods that can be easily implemented on farm and proven to successfully boost farmland bird winter survival,” according to Matt Goodall, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Wales advisor.

green bucket feeder on fence post with blue and great tit on perches
Blue and great tit on feeder (image: GWCT)

Funded by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Shared Outcome Request in North East Wales - one of seven Area Statements in Wales – this project aims to raise awareness of methods that can be easily implemented on farms to halt and reverse farmland bird declines.

The project includes 25 farmers in Denbighshire and Flintshire, each putting up a feeding station and offering supplementary feed through the critical ‘hungry gap’ period from 1 Dec to 30 April,” says Matt, who aims to demonstrate how a very simple technique, with no impact on the daily management of the farm or its productivity, can make a big difference and could be routinely offered in the next agri-environment scheme.

Matt is undertaking advisory visits on each farm, discussing the year-round needs of farmland birds, and highlighting how farms can fine-tune their conservation efforts alongside their farm business.

“Quality habitat provision is still the corner-stone for conserving wildlife,” he says, but warns that it’s not the whole picture. “Supplementary feeding alongside good quality habitat such as a strip of wildlife cover crop has a much greater impact than the habitat alone.”

Although this concept has been proven previously outside of Wales and in an arable setting, Matt is adamant that this conservation practice is transferable to livestock farming in Wales.

“In fact,” says Matt, “Our research suggests that supplementary feeding in a grass-dominated landscape has a magnified impact and benefit compared to the same management in an arable setting due to the lack of seed availability in pastoral farming.

This initiative is only the first step in raising awareness and getting birds fed in the hungry gap, helping to halt the rapid decline in farmland birds seen in the recent past.



Buglife launch B-Lines across Scotland - Buglife

Scotland B-Lines
Scotland B-Lines

This week, conservation charity Buglife are launching a complete B-Lines map for Scotland. B-Lines is our response to the decline of bees and other pollinating insects, a plan for how to reconnect our wild places by creating a network of wildflowers across our landscapes.

Our precious pollinators are disappearing from large parts of the countryside – there are fewer bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths – and as well as the loss of abundance, some species are at risk of extinction in Scotland. But we can change this, by working together to restore wildflower areas in our countryside and urban areas we can aid nature’s recovery.

B-Lines provide an opportunity to create a network of wildflower-rich areas across Scotland providing essential routes for pollinators to use. The B-Lines network in Scotland includes our best habitats and identifies key areas to restore and create new wildflower-rich meadows, important grassland verges and pollinator friendly gardens. B-Lines can be adopted by farmers and landowners, local authorities and the general public across all of Scotland.

Patrick Harvie, Species Champion for the Red mason bee, MSP for Glasgow and co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party said “It’s hard to overstate the important role that pollinating insects play in keeping our environmental life-support system running. Their decline is a serious problem throughout the world, but as Buglife’s B-Lines map shows we can all play a positive role in helping them recover, by making changes in our own local communities and by demanding policy change from government too.”


Big bumblebees learn locations of best flowers - University of Exeter

Big bumblebees take time to learn the locations of the best flowers, new research shows.

pollen covered bumblebee on pink open faced flower
Credit Natalie Hempel de Ibarra

Meanwhile smaller bumblebees – which have a shorter flight range and less carrying capacity – don't pay special attention to flowers with the richest nectar.

University of Exeter scientists examined the "learning flights" which most bees perform after leaving flowers.

Honeybees are known to perform such flights – and the study shows bumblebees do the same, repeatedly looking back to memorise a flower's location.

"It might not be widely known that pollinating insects learn and develop individual flower preferences, but in fact bumblebees are selective," said Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, Associate Professor at Exeter's Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour. "On leaving a flower, they can actively decide how much effort to put into remembering its location. The surprising finding of our study is that a bee's size determines this decision making and the learning behaviour. In the study, captive bees visited artificial flowers containing sucrose (sugar) solution of varying concentrations. The larger the bee, the more its learning behaviour varied depending on the richness of the sucrose solution.  Smaller bees invested the same amount of effort in learning the locations of the artificial flowers, regardless of whether sucrose concentration was high or low."

The paper, published in the journal Current Biology, is entitled: "Small and large bumblebees invest differently when learning about flowers." (open access)


Government Announcements, Policy and reaction

£3.9 million to drive innovative tree planting - Defra

In celebration of National Tree Week, government commits new funding to help reach its tree planting commitment

A cash boost of nearly £4 million to plant more trees up and down the country has been announced by the government today (5 December). This will see hundreds of thousands of new trees planted, including in towns and cities and near rivers to reduce flood risk, and help meet the government’s commitment to increase planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025.

A pot of £2.5 million will support schemes that establish new ways of planting trees in our cities, towns and countryside. Led by Defra, Natural England and the Tree Council, this will use five pilot studies delivered on the ground by Local Authorities to develop cost-effective and innovative approaches to planting trees outside woodlands over the next two and a half years. This could include schemes such as community tree nurseries, agroforestry and hedgerow management, or planting trees from locally collected seed. These new trees will help tackle climate change and create habitats for wildlife.

A further £1.4 million has been awarded to the Environment Agency to fund ‘woodlands for water’ – 15 projects to plant over 850,000 trees that will protect around 160km of river and help to reduce the risk of flooding to over 500 properties.

500 hectare planting boost for England’s Community Forests - Defra

New £12.1 million fund to plant over 500 hectares of trees in ten Community Forests over the next five months.

Over 500 hectares will be planted with trees across England’s ten Community Forests, from Yorkshire to Somerset, backed by £12.1 million of investment, the government announced today (6 December). This will also build the pipeline of projects for community planting in future years.

The new programme - Trees for Climate - will see trees planted in community forests across the country over the next five months. When mature, the trees will eventually store over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, playing an important role in the meeting the government’s net zero emissions by 2050 target. The project will also reduce flood risk, increase sustainable UK grown timber, provide more places for nature and biodiversity to thrive, and increase people’s access to and enjoyment of woodland. The funding will also create new jobs and secure existing ones within the forestry and environmental sector, helping to boost local economies as part of a green recovery.

Forestry Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “Through this exciting new programme we will build back greener, as more communities - particularly those in urban environments – will have access to nature, with real benefits for health and wellbeing. Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments and essential in tackling the climate emergency. This vital programme will plant trees where they are most needed to stem flooding and provide more places for nature to thrive.”

Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest and the Chair of England’s Community Forests, said: “Our Trees for Climate programme will plant millions more trees around England’s town and cities, targeted at areas where they can make the greatest difference, in particular to local quality of life and levels of health and wellbeing. The national network of Community Forests has been working for over 25 years to bring nature closer to people and local communities and is perfectly placed to deliver real change, on the ground.”


Over 300,000 of us have told the government: don’t push through bad planning changes - CPRE

As we hand in a huge petition against planning changes, our campaigns officer Sam Keyte takes a look at the campaign – and what happens next.

CPRE has today partnered with campaigners from Sum of Us and 38 Degrees to head to Westminster, where we handed in our petitions showing your calls for the government to stop disastrous plans to change our planning laws.

We’ve worked with these other campaigning organisations to offer up a chance for people to have their say on the government’s damaging new ideas for our planning system, and the numbers of you signing our petition says it loud and clear: we won’t be silenced.

We launched this campaign in August 2020, when the government published unnecessary and damaging plans that would dismantle the planning rules (if you want to know more about what impact these laws and systems have on our lives, our potted guide will explain all).


Gene editing creates potential to protect the nation’s environment, pollinators and wildlife - Defra

Consultation on future of gene editing to be launched by Environment Secretary at Oxford Farming Conference.

Plans to consult on gene editing – which could unlock substantial benefits to nature, the environment and help farmers with crops resistant to pests, disease or extreme weather and to produce healthier, more nutritious food – will be set out today (7 January) by Environment Secretary George Eustice in his speech at the Oxford Farming Conference.

The way that plants and animals grow is controlled by the information in their genes. For centuries, farmers and growers have carefully chosen to breed stronger, healthier individual animals or plants so that the next generation has these beneficial traits - but this is a slow process.

Technologies developed in the last decade enable genes to be edited much more quickly and precisely to mimic the natural breeding process, helping to target plant and animal breeding to help the UK reach its vital climate and biodiversity goals in a safe and sustainable way.

Gene editing is different to genetic modification where DNA from one species is introduced to a different one. Gene edited organisms do not contain DNA from different species, and instead only produce changes that could be made slowly using traditional breeding methods. But at the moment, due to a legal ruling from the European Court of Justice in 2018 gene editing is regulated in the same way as genetic modification.



Government Official Statistic:  NFI squirrel stripping damage and presence of squirrels in woodland in Britain

This report summarises data from the NFI field survey to provide estimates of the presence of squirrels in forests and woodlands.

This report includes estimates of the presence of squirrels for Great Britain, England, Scotland and Wales, broken down by National Forest Inventory (NFI) region.

It provides evidence of the distribution of squirrels in Great Britain during the years 2010-2015 and 2015-2018.

Read the report:  NFI squirrel stripping damage and presence of squirrels in woodland in Britain


Defra Policy Paper:  Changes to the Habitats Regulations 2017

The main points and processes of the 2019 Regulations, which amend the Habitats Regulations 2017 that transpose the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, to make them operable from 1 January 2021.

This document explains the:

  • changes made to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 to make them operable from 1 January 2021
  • functions transferred to ministers from the European Commission.

More information here and download the new regulations document here.


Updated forms for all species licences following Brexit. Start here.


Scientific Research, Results and Publications

Supporting Citizen Scientists - WildCRU, University of Oxford

Elephant Hawk Moth. Copyright Guy Riddoch
Elephant Hawk Moth. Copyright Guy Riddoch

A partnership between WildCRU and the charity Butterfly Conservation, funded by Oxford University’s Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund, is helping to find out more about the impact of digital communications on citizen science research. Citizen science has tremendous potential for engaging the public in research and for generating valuable data. One scheme, the National Moth Recording Scheme, run by Butterfly Conservation, is one of the largest environmental citizen science schemes in the UK, generating datasets that are used by scientists to underpin national assessments of biodiversity change and environmental research. A network of over 100 volunteer coordinators (County Moth Recorders) play a vital role, by receiving, verifying and computerising moth records contributed by the public.

Working with Butterfly Conservation, we conducted an online survey of County Moth Recorders to seek their opinions and experiences of their work. In particular, we asked about the opportunities and challenges that the digital environment presents for them. The survey results suggest that a big increase in numbers of moth records being submitted by members of the public, together with new data handling technologies, and more social media interactions have greatly increased the work of County Moth Recorders. Information from the survey will be used to tailor and target support for the volunteers, to help meet these challenges.

WildCRU’s Dr Ruth Feber, who led the work, said “Biological recording provides vital evidence to help tackle pressing environmental issues such as habitat loss and climate change. The work of expert volunteers such as County Moth Recorders is crucial to the success of recording schemes. We hope this project will be useful to Butterfly Conservation and their volunteers, and lead to wider benefits for public engagement in wildlife conservation and environmental change.”


Invasive harlequin ladybird causes severe decline of two-spotted ladybird, new long-term study shows - CABI

The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Credit: Pixabay)
The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Credit: Pixabay)

CABI scientists have led an 11-year study which shows how the invasive harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) caused the severe decline of the two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata) on broadleaved trees and shrubs in northern Switzerland.
Lead author Dr Marc Kenis, Head of Risk Analysis and Invasion Ecology based at CABI’s Swiss Centre in Delémont, of the research – published in the journal Insects – said the two-spotted ladybird was the most abundant ladybird at the 40 sites surveyed before the harlequin ladybird took hold between 2006 and 2017.

The scientists discovered that the harlequin ladybird – which is a predator native to Central and East Asia and whose presence was confirmed in Switzerland in 2004 – quickly dominated the broadleaved hedges representing 60-80% of all specimens collected in this habitat.

However, while the harlequin ladybird was the second most abundant species in pine stands it was not abundant in meadows and spruce stands. Furthermore, the total number of ladybirds feeding on aphids did not decline during the study period – suggesting that the arrival of the harlequin ladybird did not affect the predation pressure on aphids.

The harlequin ladybird is considered a human nuisance when it aggregates in buildings in autumn and can taint wine when harvested and crushed with grapes. Of most concern, however, is its impact on biodiversity.

Due to its predatory and competitive abilities, H. axyridis may affect many native species, including non-pest aphids and aphidophagous insects. In particular, native ladybirds may suffer from competition for resources and intra-guild predation (IGP) on larvae and eggs.


Investigating the links between human activities and global insect declines - UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

The pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly on a flower Picture: Ross Newham
The pearl-bordered fritillary is highly threatened in England and Wales, says Butterfly Conservation Picture: Ross Newham

A new £2.2 million project could enable more reliable assessments of how human activities cause global insect declines, as well as better predictions of future species trends.
Despite widespread reports of reduced insect populations, there is currently limited evidence to link species losses to specific threats says Dr Nick Isaac of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), who is leading the study.

The project will therefore bring together diverse sources of data including expert knowledge to assess the impact of individual threats – including agricultural intensification, climate change, pollution and invasive non-native species – on all insect groups across the world.

Dr Isaac will be working alongside UKCEH colleagues Professor Helen Roy and Dr Ben Woodcock, as well as researchers from the Natural History Museum, University College London, University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London and the University of Stellenbosch.

The four-year project, Global Insect Threat-Response Synthesis (GLiTRS), is being funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Dr Isaac says: “There are growing concerns that insect biodiversity has declined globally, with serious consequences for ecosystem function and services. However, information about species trends is fragmented, both taxonomically and geographically, and direct links between population declines and human-driven pressures are not well established. These gaps in knowledge are limiting progress in understanding the magnitude and direction of change, making it difficult to predict future trends or devise strategies to reduce losses.”

Hidden world of mice, voles and shrews revealed by new approach. - British Trust for Ornithology

Thanks to the efforts of a team of researchers, the hidden world of Britain's mice, voles and shrews has just been opened up to new audiences. Using audio recordings the team has developed an approach that should help to improve our understanding of the status and distribution of these easily overlooked species.

bank vole on rocks
(image: John Harding/British Trust for Ornithology)

While rarely seen, Britain's mice, voles, shrews, rats and dormice do occasionally give away their presence through their vocalisations. A team of researchers has spent the last 18 months recording and studying these vocalisations in order to develop 'acoustic classifiers', which can be used to reveal the presence of different small mammal species in recordings made by automatic recording devices left in the field. This approach could be particularly valuable for determining the presence of different small mammal species on nature reserves or at sites where development is being planned.

Dr Stuart Newson, lead researcher on the project, commented "Our approach complements existing monitoring approaches for small mammals, adding data from many more locations for a suite of species whose status information is difficult to obtain and, in many cases, is lacking or not up to date. The collection of acoustic data for small mammals could be extremely cost-effective; small mammals often vocalise at night and their calls are often collected as 'by-catch' by those surveying bats. By running these recordings through the BTO's acoustic pipeline, small mammal calls can be detected, and the species identified." Dr Newson continued "This approach could help conservation efforts by providing an economical and robust method for detecting the presence and abundance of small mammals, such as Hazel Dormice in woodland or introduced Brown Rats on seabird islands."


New partnership to further strengthen rewilding science and knowledge - Rewilding Europe and the Zoological Society of London

A new five-year agreement between Rewilding Europe and the Zoological Society of London will see the partners collaborate on multiple actions to advance European rewilding.

A deepening relationship

Rewilding Europe and ZSL (the Zoological Society of London) have signed a five-year collaborative rewilding agreement (CRA), with both partners leveraging their respective strengths to advance rewilding in a number of key areas.

ZSL, a UK-based conservation and scientific charity of international renown dating back to 1826, is highly experienced in the use of technology in conservation and the development of citizen science. The new agreement builds on a partnership that began in 2019 with the use of ZSL’s groundbreaking Instant Wild platform, which allows online wildlife enthusiasts to collectively identify animals in camera trap photos, thereby providing invaluable data for research and future decision making. This has already seen a wide range of species tagged in imagery from the Central Apennines rewilding area.

Wide-ranging collaboration

Rewilding Europe and ZSL see the opportunity to expand and deepen their collaboration on multiple research, conservation and communications aspects of rewilding in a European context, with the CRA acting as the basis for a range of more specific, formal contracts.

“Both organisations recognise that rewilding can help to address our climate and ecological emergencies and that it can also enhance resilience to diseases such as Covid-19,” says Rewilding Europe’s Managing Director Frans Schepers. “This agreement will see both partners work together to ensure the beneficial impact of rewilding continues to increase."

“We are very excited about this partnership and the prospect of putting our technical expertise to work supporting rewilding across Europe in response to the climate and ecological emergencies,” says Dr. Andrew Terry, Director of Conservation & Policy for ZSL. “Rewilding offers a sense of hope for the recovery of nature and the rebuilding of strong connections between people and wildlife.”


Scientific Publications

Roman, L., Schuyler, Q., Wilcox, C. & Hardesty, B. D. Plastic pollution is killing marine megafauna, but how do we prioritize policies to reduce mortality? Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12781


Sustainability, Climate Change and Pollution

Peatland preservation vital to climate - University of Exeter

Preserving the world's peatlands – and the vast carbon stores they contain – is vital to limiting climate change, researchers say.

The study, led by the University of Exeter and Texas A&M University, examines peatland losses over human history and predicts these will be "amplified" in the future.

Arctic peatland in Svalbard (Angela Gallego-Sala)
Arctic peatland in Svalbard (Angela Gallego-Sala)

Peatlands are expected to shift from an overall "sink" (absorbing carbon) to a source this century, primarily due to human impacts across the tropics, and the study warns more than 100 billion tons of carbon could be released by 2100, although uncertainties remain large.

Peatlands are currently excluded from the main Earth System Models used for climate change projections – something the researchers say must be urgently addressed.

"Peatlands contain more carbon than all the world's forests and, like many forests, their future is uncertain," said Professor Angela Gallego-Sala, of Exeter's Global Systems Institute.

"Peatlands are vulnerable to climate change impacts such as increased risk of wildfires and droughts, the thawing of permafrost and rising sea levels. However, the main threats to peatlands are more direct – particularly destruction by humans to create agricultural land. So the future of peatlands is very much in our hands."

Access the paper: Loisel, J., Gallego-Sala, A.V., Amesbury, M.J. et al. Expert assessment of future vulnerability of the global peatland carbon sink. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00944-0


Building back better – Raising the UK’s climate ambitions for 2035 will put Net Zero within reach and change the UK for the better - The Climate Change Committee

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) today presents the first ever detailed route map for a fully decarbonised nation. A world first.

Last year, the UK became the first major economy to make Net Zero emissions law. In its new landmark 1,000-page report, the CCC sets out the path to that goal over the next three decades, including the first ever detailed assessment of the changes that will result – and the key milestones that must be met.

The Sixth Carbon Budget (2033-2037) charts the decisive move to zero carbon for the UK. The CCC shows that polluting emissions must fall by almost 80% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels – a big step-up in ambition. Just 18 months ago this was the UK’s 2050 goal.

To deliver this, a major investment programme across the country must be delivered, in large measure by the private sector. That investment will also be the key to the UK’s economic recovery in the next decade. In many areas, this gives people real savings, as the nation uses fewer resources and adopts cleaner, more-efficient technologies, like electric cars, to replace their fossil-fuelled predecessors. The CCC finds that these savings substantially reduce the cost of Net Zero compared with previous assessments: now down to less than 1% of GDP throughout the next 30 years. This is thanks, not only to the falling cost of offshore wind but also a range of new low cost, low-carbon solutions in every sector.

Climate Change Committee Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The Sixth Carbon Budget is a clear message to the world that the UK is open for low-carbon business. It’s ambitious, realistic and affordable. This is the right carbon budget for the UK at the right time. We deliver our recommendations to Government with genuine enthusiasm, knowing that Britain’s decisive zero-carbon transition brings real benefits to our people and our businesses while making the fundamental changes necessary to protect our planet. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sixth Carbon Budget is a chance to jump-start the UK’s economic recovery. Anything less would shut us out of new economic opportunities. It would also undermine our role as President of the next UN climate talks.”


Response to Sixth Carbon Budget - Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust has responded to the publication of the Sixth Carbon Budget by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

Nick Philips, head of conservation policy, said: "The CCC’s report is clear, over the next three decades we need to increase UK tree cover by at least a third. On current trends, we will get nowhere near this target. Policies like the upcoming England Tree Strategy and new farm payments system need to be visionary and bold to get many more trees into our landscapes, delivering for climate and for nature. The trees we already have are a vital carbon store too, and we need to do much more to protect them from development pressures, and pests and disease."

Sixth carbon budget: an unprecedented investment opportunity for UK plc - Aldersgate Group

Today, the Aldersgate Group welcomed the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s sixth carbon budget and its recommendation of an emission reduction target of 78% by 2035. The Group argued that this ambitious but feasible target represents a unique investment and supply chain growth opportunity for UK businesses. To be delivered on the ground, today’s carbon budget will need to be supported by rapid policy decisions in areas such as buildings, heavy industry and carbon pricing.
Reacting to the budget, Ana Musat, Head of Policy at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The CCC has set a huge, but feasible, investment challenge for the UK economy for the next 15 years and one where the private sector will have to do most of the heavy lifting. This budget represents an opportunity for the UK to get the economy going again as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and to invest in innovation, grow supply chains and create jobs in areas such offshore wind, EV manufacturing, low carbon industrial goods, building renovation and green finance. As more countries take on net zero emissions targets, the export opportunities for the UK could also be significant: by 2030, the global market for low carbon goods will be worth more than £1 trillion a year, representing an increase of 7 to 12 times on today, with the market for low carbon services growing in tandem."


Government sets out plans for clean energy system and green jobs boom to build back greener - Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Plans to support up to 220,000 British jobs, and keep bills affordable as we transition to net zero by 2050

Government sets out historic plans to clean up our energy system and keep bills affordable as we transition to net zero

Energy White Paper will unleash a green economic recovery by supporting up to 220,000 jobs over the next decade across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland keeping consumer bills affordable, especially for the vulnerable and lowest income households, at the centre of plans

The UK government today (14 December) set out ambitious plans to clean up our energy system, support up to 220,000 British jobs, and keep bills affordable as we transition to net zero by 2050.

Building on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper sets out specific steps the government will take over the next decade to cut emissions from industry, transport, and buildings by 230 million metric tonnes – equivalent to taking 7.5 million petrol cars off the road permanently – while supporting hundreds of thousands of new green jobs.

We will put affordability at the heart of the UK’s decisive shift away from fossil fuels by boosting competition in the energy retail market to tackle the ‘loyalty penalty’ – longstanding customers who pay more than new ones – and by providing at least £6.7 billion in support to the fuel poor and most vulnerable over the next 6 years.


Unmasking a looming litter emergency - Keeping Scotland Beautiful

We are calling for an urgent commitment to make Scotland ‘litter-ate’

We've published a new report on Scotland’s local environmental quality highlighting an avalanche of evidence from its audits from the past two decades which points to a looming litter emergency – hidden in plain sight.

We are calling for eight urgent actions to make Scotland ‘litter-ate’ and are urging key stakeholders and communities to join efforts to change the way we behave to tackle unacceptable levels of litter, dog fouling, graffiti, weeds and detritus.

The report ‘Time for a new approach to tackling litter’ highlights an accelerating decline in standards from 2013 to 2020 - with only 16% of audited sites being recorded as litter free last year compared to 31% in 2013, and dog fouling now found on 3% more streets that in 2013. In addition, results also showed a more marked decline in Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Local environmental quality standards in Scotland were already in decline before the pandemic, now nine months on, as we rely on good quality neighbourhoods for our health and wellbeing, our polling has highlighted that 30% of people believe the overall condition of their local neighbourhood deteriorated during lockdown.

Yet, despite the impact of this ‘lockdown effect’, where people have noticed an increase in the severity and prevalence of poor environmental quality, improved connections have been made with the environment and local neighbourhoods. And, positively, we have worked with others to tackle the rise in flytipping, dog fouling and littering during a challenging year. Building on this as we enter a new year is key to tackling the behaviours behind the looming litter emergency.


Britain’s reliance on cheap imports risks millions of the nation’s trees - Woodland Trust

Planting trees is one of the most important responses to the climate crisis that we are currently facing. To be successful, sourcing these trees has to be done with care. An international model of plant trade has developed over the last 30 years which has made the import of trees more cost effective than growing them in the UK. This increased reliance on imported trees has led to at least 20 serious tree pests and diseases being inadvertently imported into the UK, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of trees, reveals the Woodland Trust.

Between 1992 and 2019 tree imports have increased from £6 million to £93 million. That’s a 1450% increase. As post EU policy is drawn up, the charity is calling for significant improvements in biosecurity. The risks of the accidental importation of new pests, diseases and invasive species on imported plants need to be acknowledged. Trees planted in the UK should preferably be UK grown in order to quash the chances of further mass loss that would scupper the Government’s aims to achieve net zero by 2050 to tackle climate change.

Dr Matt Elliot, tree health policy advisor for the Woodland Trust warned: “There are at least 127 tree pests and diseases that are considered high risk to the UK. If imported into Britain, 47 of these could cost over £1 billion each to tackle and wipe out millions of trees. The evidence is clear, the importation of trees carries a very high degree of risk and a UK grown model of plant production would significantly reduce this risk. We need investment now in new tree production technology to increase capacity in UK nurseries so that the trees required for government tree planting targets can be produced without importing more pests and diseases. This investment would also create much needed long-term stability and jobs in the sector. Given the climate emergency we find ourselves in, this issue needs to be tackled with urgency.”


Funding, grants and jobs

800,000 trees set to be planted as Green Recovery Challenge Fund projects announced - Natural England

68 projects to receive a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery

  • Funding will create over 300 hectares of woodlands, restore hedgerows, and plant trees in cities as we build back greener from the pandemic
  • Nearly £40 million allocated to projects across England in this first round, with second round of funding to open in early 2021

Projects that protect landscapes, connect people with nature and help create and retain thousands of green jobs across England have been awarded a share of almost £40 million, the government announced today.

The 68 projects will see over 800,000 trees planted and help restore damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests. The projects will also support conservation work and help to improve education about the environment.

This first round of funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will award nearly £40 million. The second funding round will open for applications early next year. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery, create green jobs and tackle climate change while helping the country build back better and greener from the pandemic.


Nearly £40million awarded to green regeneration projects in England - National Lottery Heritage Fund

Muker Meadows. Credit: Matt Pitts
Muker Meadows. Credit: Matt Pitts

68 inspiring projects have received grants from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for wildlife conservation and nature restoration.

We delivered the Green Recovery Challenge Fund on behalf of Defra, in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency. It will see over 800,000 trees planted and help restore damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests.

Looking after communities and connecting people with green spaces is central to the funding.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus."

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.”


Five foresters go forward with Forestry Roots - Royal Forestry Society

Hannah Whyatt: Graduate Forester, Norbury Park , Staffordshire (RFS)
Hannah Whyatt: Graduate Forester, Norbury Park , Staffordshire (RFS)

Five young foresters have begun year-long paid posts in some of the UK’s best-known woodlands and at a leading forestry nursery thanks to an expanded intake under the Royal Forestry Society’s Forestry Roots Scheme with ALA Charitable Trust.

As well as gaining hands-on experience each will benefit from a package of tailored training leading to additional recognised certificates in addition to their college or university qualifications.

Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Forestry Roots Officer Adam Pickles said: “Woodland is set to expand across the UK as part of the country’s response to climate change and it is vital we have a workforce with the skills to maintain existing and new woodland. Our thanks to The ALA Green Charitable Trust and the employers for making possible these early career opportunities and for the support which has enabled us to offer an additional fifth place this year. Congratulations to all our Forestry Roots recipients who faced stiff competition to gain their posts. We look forward to seeing their progress throughout the year.”


New green recovery fund to help manage visitors at nature ‘hotspots’ - NatureScot

Visitors to Inchcailloch NNR, Loch Lomond ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot
Visitors to Inchcailloch NNR, Loch Lomond ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Community groups, charities and NGOs are being encouraged to apply for a new £200,000 fund to support Scotland’s green recovery, launched by NatureScot today (Wednesday 9 November).

The NatureScot Better Places Green Recovery Fund will help to identify the local impacts and opportunities of visitor management at nature destinations across the country, boosting Scotland’s green recovery by making the most of increased nature-based tourism.

Scotland’s countryside, coasts and local green spaces have seen unprecedented numbers of visitors since initial lockdown restrictions were relaxed in the summer. And while there are considerable benefits for visitors, local communities and businesses from more people enjoying Scotland’s outdoors and nature, several challenges have also arisen, particularly at our most popular destinations.

These challenges include increasing capacity for higher numbers of visitors at ‘hotspots’, including parking and traffic and management; issues associated with more people camping, such as accommodating more campervans; and tackling the high-profile incidents of littering, wildfires, toileting and general damage to our nature that have hit the headlines this year.


The Land Trust announces innovative partnership with Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council for management of Green Infrastructure at Halsnead Garden Village - The Land Trust

National land management charity, The Land Trust, has completed a collaboration agreement with Knowsley Council with plans for the Trust to take into ownership and manage the extensive green infrastructure and SuDS network, which will form a key part of Halsnead Garden Village.

Halsnead Garden Village will open up acres of green space to the public, including a new country park, historic woodland and areas such as a new village green.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Euan Hall, expressed his delight at getting the deal signed and outlined how the Trust will work in partnership with the community to deliver a range of benefits.

Hall said: “We are really pleased to have put pen to paper on this agreement with Knowsley Council and we look forward to working closely with them over the next couple of years to prepare the green infrastructure that will be a vital component of what will be a wonderful place to live and work. The Trust will work in partnership with house builders and Homes England to deliver this vision. The key to the success of these garden towns and villages is engagement with the local community and understanding how they wish the open space to be managed for the long term in a financially sustainable way, and to also deliver real and lasting charitable outcomes and social value for the new and existing local residents and community. Halsnead Garden Village will be about far more than just the homes built. The Land Trust’s role will ensure that the green spaces deliver physical and mental health benefits, provide educational and training opportunities for local people, improve the environment and biodiversity of the area, protect the investment people make in their homes and most importantly bring this new community together.”


We've received funding to help address climate challenges - Canal and River Trust

We will benefit from £2 million funding towards the many climate action and sustainability challenges our historic waterways face across England & Wales, and to support us in our contribution to mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The funding comes as part of People’s Postcode Lottery’s recently announced Postcode Climate Challenge initiative, through which its players have raised over £20 million for climate action.

Couldn’t have come at a better time

Jodie Rees, our corporate engagement partner, said: “We are delighted to receive this additional funding thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. There is wide acceptance of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis we are facing. Canals and rivers are uniquely placed to make a significant contribution to improving the wellbeing of millions of people. Climate action is an essential part of our ability to protect these precious resources now and for the future, for boaters, walkers, paddlers, anglers, cyclists and all those who value them.”


Forestry Jobs Summit a “catalyst for job opportunities” says Ewing - Scottish Forestry

The forestry sector is leading the way in helping employers secure public funding to recruit more young people into the industry.

Under a new Growing Rural Talent initiative, forestry companies are being encouraged to take on new young staff through generous subsidies.

The initiative and other support for prospective employers were highlighted in the recent Forestry Jobs Summit, organised by the Industry Leadership Group and attended by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and key forestry organisations.

Already, forestry companies Tilhill, Egger and James Jones & Sons are providing new young recruits an exciting first step into forestry. During the summit, a further two companies confirmed their plans to offer opportunities for new starts.

Welcoming the drive to recruit more young people into the forest industries, Mr Ewing said: “The forestry sector in Scotland is a success story. It generates around £1 billion to the economy each year and supports around 25,000 jobs. Timber production levels are increasing and in the years to come we will need to have a young skilled workforce in place to meet demand. I am pleased that both Scottish Forestry and Forestry and Land Scotland have doubled their intake of opportunities for young people."


Community, Volunteering, Health and Green Recovery

New sites to test how connecting people with nature can improve mental health - Defra, Department of Health and Social Care and Natural England

Seven sites will receive a share of over £5.5m pot to research how nature can be used to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Seven sites which will test the ways in which connecting people with nature can improve mental wellbeing have been awarded a share of a £5.77 million pot, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow has announced today (Saturday 19 December).

The new test and learn sites, which are based across England, will focus on communities hardest hit by coronavirus. This could include those living in deprived areas, people with mental health conditions or BAME communities. Since the coronavirus pandemic, when many people have experienced distress, loneliness or anxiety, there has been an increased public awareness of the benefits of regular access to green spaces. Studies have shown that this has the potential to improve mental health and wellbeing.

The sites announced today will each explore and bring together opportunities for communities to get involved in their natural environment. This could include activities such as walking, cycling, community gardening and food-growing projects, and practical conservation tasks such as tree planting. For people who need help to get involved this could include supported visits to local green spaces, waterways and the coast, and other outdoor activities to reduce isolation and loneliness.

This will benefit thousands of people across the country, including people in urban, rural and coastal areas.


A blooming first two years for Green Angels at Hassall Green - The Land Trust

The Land Trust’s ‘Green Angels’ programme has had a fantastic first two years delivering its award-winning, free environmental training courses to adults across Cheshire and North Staffordshire, giving them the chance to gain practical skills through hands-on learning. Based at Hassall Green Nature Reserve and also operating at Silverdale Country Park, the project is now looking forward to the next three years, in which it plans to deliver a wide variety of community events, volunteering opportunities and adult environmental training programmes.

It has been an exciting start at Hassall Green Nature Reserve which is nestled between Alsager and Sandbach. Since the project started on site in June 2019, a total of 103 free training course places have been taken up by adults from across Cheshire and North Staffordshire, who have learnt about subjects ranging from wildlife identification and natural craft workshops, to scything, environmental education, bushcraft and survival and countryside management. Green Angels works in partnership with expert organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts and specialist training providers to deliver a high quality and valuable learning experience.

Open to anyone over the age of 18, the courses are beginner level, free of charge, and are set to continue in 2021, with courses in woodland management, wildlife identification, countryside management, natural and rural craft being planned, alongside volunteering opportunities over the coming year. Eligible trainees receive a certificate upon completion, which can be helpful for career and further learning prospects.

Opportunities have been described by participants as ‘inspirational’, ‘rewarding’, ‘refreshing’ and have ‘reignited wonder for the environment’.


New RSPB report: invest in nature to creates jobs, boost biodiversity and save lives - RSPB

Image: RSPB
Image: RSPB

RSPB urges candidates in May’s England metro mayoral elections to make investing in nature a priority, as a new report says it could create jobs, reduce inequality and save the NHS £billions - saving lives in the process.

The report Recovering together 2 published today (14 December) summarises the social, environmental and economic benefits of investing in nature.

In numbers:

  • £2.1 billion – annual saving to the NHS if everyone in England had good access to greenspace.
  • £16 billion – cost to the UK economy of failing to protect nature and reverse biodiversity loss.
  • £60 billion – the value of environmental goods and services to the UK economy in 2015.
  • 750,000 – number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by the natural environment in the UK.
  • 11 million – number of people in England living in areas with limited access to greenspace.
  • 84% – percentage of adults in England in favour of the Government increasing the number of accessible nature-rich areas.

The RSPB is urging sitting England metro mayors and candidates standing in May’s mayoral elections to make investing in nature a priority, as a new report suggests it could save lives by improving public health and reducing inequality in access to nature-rich greenspace.

Recovering together 2 draws on studies by organisations including Public Health England, the Office for National Statistics and WWF to present evidence for the value of nature’s contribution to our health, economy and prosperity.

The report points to evidence of inequality in access to nature and its benefits for people from different economic groups and ethnic backgrounds, and corresponding differences in health outcomes.


Recreation and Visitor Management

Covid drives huge increase in use of urban greenspace - NatureScot

cyclist on bike sihouetted against a setting sun
A cyclist enjoying the view at Fernbrae Meadows ©Kenny MacCormack

Visits to urban greenspace soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, demonstrating the importance of green infrastructure for health and wellbeing.

At just one site, Fernbrae Meadows in South Lanarkshire, visitor numbers rose from 14,947 in June 2019 to 95,697 in July 2020 - an incredible increase of 640%

The site is one of seven to have received a share of more than £15m funding allocated by NatureScot under the first phase of the ERDF Green Infrastructure Fund, which seeks to improve access to greenspace in some of the most deprived communities in Scotland.

Working with partners South Lanarkshire Council, the former private golf course at Fernbrae Meadows has been transformed into a new urban park.

The soaring use of the space mirrors research carried out by NatureScot showing a big rise in the number of people visiting the outdoors to enjoy nature this year.

Surveys found a rise in the proportion of people visiting the outdoors at least once a week, from 64% in August 2019 to 71% during the initial lockdown from March to May, and 80% between August and September.

Record numbers flock to NatureScot’s national nature reserves in 2020 - NatureScot

Over a million visitors are estimated to have visited NatureScot’s National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in 2020, an increase from an estimated 650,000 in recent years.

The increase, initially due to lockdown, was followed by continued interest and enthusiasm across the nation for spending time in nature in this difficult year.

Winter is a wonderful time to continue that habit. There’s plenty to see on nature reserves, from swans, geese, waders, finches and other songbirds to grey seals and deer.

NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: "People throughout Scotland have been enjoying spending time outdoors more than ever in 2020. Nature is helping us all cope with anxiety throughout this difficult time and strengthening our resilience. I’d encourage people to get out and enjoy their local national nature reserves over the holiday season, following the latest government guidelines." Francesca has some final words of advice for those visiting nature reserves: “It’s been amazing to see so many people enjoying our reserves this year, but we’d also like to remind people to protect our reserves for future generations. For example please don’t litter or light campfires, as these can damage plants, trees and wildlife.”


One for the artists:

Competition launched to honour RSPB founder Emily Williamson with statue - RSPB

Emily Williamson, who in 1889 founded the all-female Society for the Protection of Birds (later the RSPB), is to be honoured with a statue at her former home in Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury, Manchester.

Four short-listed maquettes will be unveiled in July 2021, marking the centenary of the Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act – the triumph of Emily Williamson’s long campaign. The Act was critical in saving thousands of bird species around the world from being hunted to extinction for the millinery trade, including the Great and Little Egret and the Great Crested Grebe.

Between 1870 and 1920, bird skins were imported to Britain by the ton for the plumage trade. At its Edwardian peak, the trade was worth some £20 million a year (around £200 million in today’s money).

Emily Williamson bravely called out the insatiable slaughter of birds for millinery. She pushed back against the relentless tide of fashion. Together with Eliza Phillips and Etta Lemon, she grew her fledgling Society for the Protection of Birds to become, eventually, the UK’s biggest conservation charity: the RSPB.

Campaigning remains central to what the RSPB does today. But its female founder has not been celebrated by history. Emily Williamson’s significant contribution to nature has all but been left out of the conservation narrative.

To find out more and to submit your design, visit:


To finish the news our first Lockdown 3.0 raise a smile addition: some photos of the animals at London Zoo being counted

Taking stock...ZSL London Zoo’s annual stocktake goes ahead behind closed doors - as ZSL’s key workers ensure essential work continues through lockdown - Zoological Society of London

kneeling zookeeper holding clipboard surrounded by a flock os small penguins
Humboldt penguins are counted by Paul Atkin at the ZSL London Zoo Annual Stocktake 2 2021 (c) ZSL

Dedicated zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have dug out their clipboards and calculators – as they began counting the animals at the Zoo’s annual stocktake this week. 

Tallying up every mammal, bird, reptile and invertebrate at the Zoo, zookeepers at the world-famous site are continuing their essential work, despite the national lockdown forcing the zoo to close once again.

Counting everything from a colony of inquisitive Humboldt penguins to Critically Endangered Sumatran tigers, the stocktake is a legal requirement as part of the Zoo License – and the impressive tally of threatened species it calls home provide a stark reminder of the crucial conservation work the Zoo is once again calling on the public to support.

ZSL London Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer, Kathryn England, said: “After an extraordinary year, the whole country is currently taking stock and looking forward to better times - here at ZSL London Zoo we’re doing the same.  There’s no doubt that 2020 was the most challenging year in our almost 200-year history - national lockdowns saw us closed for 18 weeks, cutting off millions of pounds of vital charitable income from lost ticket sales - but kicking off this new year with the annual stocktake is a chance to reflect on some of our achievements in the face of these challenges.”

view of tiger from the back, tiger is looking up
New arrival Sumatran tigress Gaysha at the ZSL London Zoo Annual Stocktake 2 2021 (c) ZSL.jpg

2020 saw the arrival of many new animals at ZSL London Zoo: two excitable otter pups were born during lockdown to first-time parents Pip and Matilda, before Oni the okapi gave birth to a female calf, Ede, in September - part of the vital breeding programme for the Endangered species. Sumatran tigress Gaysha arrived in mid-December to be reunited with her former mate, Asim, in Tiger Territory – a Critically Endangered species, the important new addition was recorded for the first time as part of the 2021 tally. 

Reliant on income from ticket sales to care for the animals and fund their global conservation efforts, enforced closures have put the charity zoos under huge financial pressure. Vets and zookeepers will continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals, working throughout the lockdown. ZSL, the international conservation charity behind the Zoos, is calling on the public to help ensure they remain open by donating to ZSL at


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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 March 2021



Thursday 28th Jan 7 – 8pm (GMT)


The '& another thing' discussion series is an honest and open place for issues in conservation


The first event of a new year is asking 'where's your head at' - inviting all those working in, interested in, wishing to transition to and linked with fields of conservation, ecology and outdoor work to join.

  • How are we feeling? What impact has the pandemic had on conservation? On our wellbeing as conservation professionals, on students, graduates, career changers and our plans for the future.?
  • This open session is a discussion platform, to listen and respect the stories, issues and concerns of others. To collect our shared experiences, create a community and meet others in the field to offer advice and collect issues which we wish to discuss further.


Book your place here


Online Events

21/01/2021 Webinar - Private sector funding for peatland restoration at Online 1.5 hours Days

Europarc Atlantic isles Contact: 07474949444

This webinar will provide an overview of the Peatland Code, how it works with practical examples of where the Code has been used to generate private sector funding to co-finance restoration projects in both Scotland and Wales. Given by George Hepburne Scott, with Q&A George and Stephen Prior.

03/02/2021 Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 at Online 2 Days

Institute of Chartered Foresters Contact:

03/02/2021 Careers in River Conservation - Virtual Event at Online 1 Day

Unlocking the Severn Contact: 07789178506

This event will feature a series of talks from professionals working in the river conservation sector, including land management, volunteer coordination, environmental education, fisheries management and research. Our speakers will share insights into what their roles involve and the routes they took to get to where they are today.

04/02/2021 Free Webinar – People, plate and planet: working with wildlife for the benefit of all on the veg patch at Online 1 Day

Centre for Alternative Technology Contact: 01654705950

Gardening journalist, editor and trainer Kim Stoddart will explore the co-benefits of working with wildlife and improving biodiversity on your garden veg patch or community green space. Book online now.

17/02/2021 Free webinar - Coping with the climate crisis at Online 1 Day

Centre for Alternative Technology Contact: 01654705950

Psychotherapist and climate author Ro Randall will explore the psychological effects of the climate crisis, and ways we can support ourselves and others as we work towards a brighter future.

26/03/2021 TVERC Online Spring Recorders' Conference at Online 2 Days

Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre Contact:

Our recorders’ conferences offer a chance for the biological recording community to come together and share updates and information on what they are doing. Anyone who is interested in wildlife recording and conservation is welcome to attend.


Online Learning - Short Courses

19/01/21 How to choose the right mitigation for bats - designing and impacts 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07842 694 618

The second in a series of four courses.? A guide to the design process, legislation and development impacts - most important for costing work and advising clients!

Cost £30+VAT

20/01/21 Introduction to Nature Conservation Legislation in the UK 2 Days

In order to understand the changing landscape, this course provides an introductory level review of nature conservation legislation, looking at how the current framework translates to practical actions, and considering how effective it is in achieving its aims.

Cost Varies: see website

20/01/21 Effective Workplace Mentoring 2 Days

This training course will take you through the end to end process of effective mentoring. From learning what mentoring is and isn't through to examining tools and techniques to get the best from your mentee.

Cost Varies: see website

Above two courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626

20/01/2021 Discovering Bird Sounds Online Course NEW 6 Days

Online, Kent Wildlife Trust 01622 662012

A series of fun and interactive evening online classes. Find out why certain bird species sing, what bird calls are and what they can mean, and tips to help your identification.

Cost £72.50 for 6 week course

21/01/2021 Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter - Tutor:Dominic Price, co-author of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees Guide. A half-day online course giving participants the skills and confidence to identify trees and shrubs when not in leaf; a set of c.20 labelled UK native twigs posted to your address prior to the course; a free copy of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees guide.

Cost £59.90

23/01/2021 Dealing with perceived pests in a wilder garden (Online Course) 0.5 Day

Practical solutions for protecting flowers and vegetables when you garden for wildlife

Cost £5 per person (suggested donation)

25/01/2021 UK Habitat Classification (UKHab) NEW 1 Day

An online training day on the UK Habitat Classification, a new comprehensive classification system for vegetation habitats used in conservation and land management

Cost £75

Above two courses with Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012

26/01/2021 Bats in Winter 2, 2 hour workshops over 2 weeks Days

Online, Tragus Training

Winter Bat Ecology - what bats do & where they go in winter - physiological & behavioural adaptations, strategies British bats employ to survive winter - types of hibernacula & associated species. Surveying Bats in Winter - identifying British bat species in hibernation - surveying hibernacula, practical & safety considerations.

Cost £50 (10% early booking discount)

26/01/21 How to prepare and deliver tool box talks 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07842 694 618

An essential guide for any ecologist instructing, supervising and liaising with contractors.

Cost £30+VAT

27/01/2021 Evidence Synthesis 2 Days

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

This interactive 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 hands-on group exercises in developing review questions & undertaking a review.

28/01/2021 Pollinator friendly garden (Online Course) 0.5 Day

Online, Kent Wildlife Trust 01622 662012

Learn how to encourage pollinators into your garden

Cost £5 per person (suggested donation)

29/01/21 Calculating and Using Biodiversity Units with Metric 2.0 2 Days

This course is based on the Biodiversity Metric 2.0, published by Natural England in 2019. It provides training on undertaking biodiversity unit calculations for a development and its impacts on biodiversity.

Cost Varies: see website

02/02/21 Biodiversity Net Gain Through Development 2 Days

The course is for individuals wishing to advance their skills in designing biodiversity net gain for development projects. Through presentations, case studies and practical work, the course focuses on designing BNG for various types, sizes and locations of development projects including small-scale to large-scale, as well as rural and urban locations.

Cost Varies: see website

Above two courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626

03/02/2021 Dealing with perceived pests in a wilder garden (Online Course) 0.5 Day

Online, Kent Wildlife Trust 01622 662012

Practical solutions for protecting flowers and vegetables when you garden for wildlife

Cost £5 per person (suggested donation)

04/02/21 Soils, Plants and Phytoremediation 2 Days

This course delivered as two online sessions across two days will help participants recognise the remedial actions that can be taken to resolve or reduce the effects of human impacts on biodiversity, such as recreational pressure or pollution.

Cost Varies: see website

04/02/21 Bat Impacts and Mitigation 2 Days

The course will look at how and when to apply for a bat development licence (Scotland), writing a Species Protection Plan, potential impacts to bats and mitigation and compensation options. Various development types will be considered including buildings, new roads and wind farms.

Cost Varies: see website

Above two courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626

08/02/2021 Bats in Winter 2, 2 hour workshops over sequential evenings Days

online, Tragus Training

Winter Bat Ecology - what bats do & where they go in winter - physiological & behavioural adaptations, strategies British bats employ to survive winter - types of hibernacula & associated species. Surveying Bats in Winter - identifying British bat species in hibernation - surveying hibernacula, practical & safety considerations.

Cost £50 (10% early booking discount)

09/02/2021 Using drones to map habitats 2 Days

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

This two-day interactive online course gives you skills in taking images collected from a UAV platform, processing images into a scene for image processing, generating classified images. You will learn steps to produce high quality and accurate maps for mapping vegetation and land forms.

09/02/2021 Around Britain in 25 Grasses 1 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

Grasses, sedges and rushes are crucial indicator species for a range of habitats, both telling you the vegetation type you are in, but also its quality and how well it is being managed. Despite this, many people struggle with their ID, partly due to an absence of large showy flowers.

This course will focus on 5 key species from 5 habitats - improved, calcareous and acid grassland/heath, mire and woodland.

Cost £37

09/02/21 QField for Ecologists and Environmental Practitioners 3 Days

This event introduces surveyors to QField, an open source mobile GIS mapper which works alongside the QGIS GIS program. The application allows for efficient electronic data capture in the field and can be used for habitat mapping as well as capturing species information.

Cost Varies: see website

10/02/21 Phase 1 for Development 2 Days

This one day training course delivered by James Simpson will give participants the confidence to carry out their own phase 1 habitat surveys.

Cost Varies: see website

16/02/21 Beginners QGIS for Ecologists and Conservation Practitioners 4 Days

The course is designed to enable you to become a competent GIS operator with a practical focus on producing survey maps and analysing data derived from your surveys.

Cost Varies: see website

Above three courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626

16/02/21 How to measure success in bat mitigation 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07842 694 618

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+VAT

18/02/21 Mental Health Awareness in the Work Environment 2 Days

Online via Zoom, CIEEM 01962 868626

This training course delivered by Liz Jones as two half-day Zoom sessions will benefit the learner by raising awareness of common mental health problems related to work such as depression, stress and anxiety, eating disorders, self-harming and suicide.

Cost Varies: see website

23/02/2021 Around Britain in 25 Bryophytes 1 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

Bryophytes often make up the final frontier in botanical knowledge, and though many people find and admire them, putting a name on them can be a different matter!

This course will run over 25 of the most common mosses and liverworts encountered in lowland Britain.

Cost £37

23/02/2021 Bitesize Bats 5, 2 hour workshops over sequential weeks Days

online, Tragus Training

Series of workshops covering Bat Ecology and Conservation, Bats and the Law, Bat Identification, Roosts and Signs, and Training for a Licence. Suitable for licence trainees and interested individuals.

Cost £25/workshop, £100 for all 5

23/02/21 How to choose and use bat boxes 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07842 694 618

Key pointers to help you make sensible and efficient choices about bat boxes.? We will help you to feel more organised and confident in your approach.

Cost £30+VAT

25/02/21 Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 2 Days

Online via Zoom, CIEEM 01962 868626

This training course will provide delegates with an introduction to the process of Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA).

Cost Varies: see website

01/03/21 Intermediate QGIS for Ecologists and Environmental Practitioners 4 Days

This intermediate level event focuses on using QGIS as a tool for data analysis and producing more complex maps accurately and efficiently. The course offers ideal progression from our entry level QGIS training and includes some pre-event work to help ensure all delegates have a similar level of QGIS knowledge.

Cost Varies: see website

02/03/21 Eurasian Beaver Ecology and Restoration 2 Days

The training will cover: beaver ecology and biology including behaviour and habitat manipulation; introduction to field sign identification and survey methods; background to the restoration of this species, distinguishing beaver field signs from other mammals; early identification of potential beaver conflict sites and assessing severity levels of potential conflicts.

Cost Varies: see website

Above two courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626

04/03/2021 Around Britain in 15 ferns and their allies 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

This course focuses on 15 key species of fern, showing the key features of each species, using simple and memorable vegetative characteristics that can be used all year round. All proceeds from the course will go to supporting our endangered species conservation work.

Cost £37

08/03/21 Developing Skills in Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) 4 Days

Online via Zoom, CIEEM 01962 868626

This training course is aimed at those practitioners who have existing experience of undertaking EcIAs and wish to develop those skills further. The course will follow the approach to EcIA set out in CIEEM?s guidelines, and will focus on the terrestrial (rather than the marine) environment.

Cost Varies: see website

09/03/2021 How to survey and assess hedgerows using the Hedgerow Regulations 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

A half-day online course which runs through the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations and provides participants with the skills to confidently survey a range of hedgerows, and accurately assess whether they qualify as 'important' and are therefore protected by law.

Cost £30

09/03/21 How to get started in bat mitigation 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07842 694 618

The first in a series of four courses.? An essential guide to help you understand ecological functionality, mitigation, compensation and enhancement.

Cost £30+VAT

16/03/2021 Habitat Indicator Species 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

An online course giving participants an overview of the key Phase I, UK Habitats and NVC communities found in lowland Britain, as well as detailed information on the indicator species which identify these.

Cost £55

16/03/21 How to choose the right mitigation for bats - designing and impacts 0.5 Day

The second in a series of four courses.? A guide to the design process, legislation and development impacts - most important for costing work and advising clients!

Cost £30+VAT

23/03/21 How to interpret your bat surveys 0.5 Day

An ecologist's guide to making reasonable judgements, explaining survey results and remaining objective.

Cost £30+VAT

Above two courses with Ecology Services UK Ltd. Contact:  07844 694 618

25/03/21 Introduction to UK Habitat Classification 2 Days

Online via Zoom, CIEEM 01962 868626

This course will enable delegates to plan for and conduct a UK Habitat Classification Survey.

Cost Varies: see website

06/04/21 How to plan your bat mitigation 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07845 694 618

The third in a series of four courses.? An indispensable review of the key decisions you need to make - don’t start your project without this!

Cost £30+VAT

13/04/21 How to measure success in bat mitigation 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07846 694 618

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+VAT

20/04/21 How to prepare and deliver tool box talks 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07847 694 618

An essential guide for any ecologist instructing, supervising and liaising with contractors

Cost £30+VAT

21/04/2021 Transforming Environmental Data in R 2 Days

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

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

04/05/21 How to choose and use bat boxes 0.5 Day

Online training via zoom, Ecology Services UK Ltd 07842 694 618

Key pointers to help you make sensible and efficient choices about bat boxes.? We will help you to feel more organised and confident in your approach.

Cost £30+VAT

Online Ecology Self-Study Courses

Online, Ecology Training UK

Ecology Training UK, one of the UK's top ecology training providers, offers a range of over 20 self-study courses you can do at home.


Community Engagement and Environmental Education

15/03/2021 Level 1 Award in Forest School Principles 2 Days at Foxburrow Farm, Woodbridge, IP12 1NA
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. It can also be used as a first step for those considering taking Forest School Leader training at a later date

15/03/2021 Level 2 - Forest School Assistant 4 Days at Foxburrow Farm, Woodbridge, IP12 1NA
This Level 2 accredited course is designed for individuals wishing to assist with the delivery of a forest school programme.Four days of outdoor training in theory and practice to cover units 'Supporting Learning and Development at Forest School' and 'Practical skills for the Forest school Assistant'.

22/03/2021 Wild Beach Leader - Level 3 3 Days in Lowestoft
Led by experienced Wild Beach and Forest School Leaders, this Level 3 course, accredited by OCN West Midlands is suitable for practitioners wishing to use the beach as a learning environment. This outdoor course has 3 units covering Health and Safety, Practical skills and beach ecology

Above courses with Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01473 890089

27/03/2021 Woodland Activity Leader Training 7 Days
Findhorn, Wild things!. Contact: +441309690450
A unique alternative to Forest School which consolidates the most essential outdoor skills needed to lead your own exciting outdoor sessions. WALT empowers educators with the skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver inspiring environmental education, tailored to the needs of their students.


Countryside Management Techniques

01/03/2021 Sustainable Woodland Management 5 Days
Machynlleth, Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact: 01660 704966
Learn how to make the most of our natural resources on this highly practical course. Gain a comprehensive overview of how to manage woodland sustainably, looking at biodiversity conservation and woodland management skills. This course covers both practical and theoretical aspects of managing a small wood, and you?ll be spending most of your time in CAT?s beautiful and sustainably managed woodland Coed Gwern.


First Aid, Risk Assessment and other Health & Safety Related Courses

04/03/2021 ITC Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
Our 16-hour outdoor first aid course is perfect for outdoor leaders, teachers and youth workers. A wide range of National Governing Body Awards recognises our outdoor first aid course. Including Mountain Training UK, British Canoe Union, British Cycling, Scottish Rafting Association and Sports Leaders UK.

06/03/2021 ITC Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
Our 16-hour outdoor first aid course is perfect for outdoor leaders, teachers and youth workers. A wide range of National Governing Body Awards recognises our outdoor first aid course. Including Mountain Training UK, British Canoe Union, British Cycling, Scottish Rafting Association and Sports Leaders UK.

12/03/2021 ITC Advanced Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
Do you work in a remote environment where you need to manage a casualty from a prolonged period of time? Looking to deepen your understanding of first aid? Then this course is perfect for you accredited by ITC First and builds on your existing basic knowledge of first aid.

Above courses at Pinkston Watersports, Glasgow with The Adventure Academy CIC. Contact: 0141 628 8521


Horticulture and Small Holding

07/03/2021 Planting a garden for interest in all seasons 1 Day
Tutor: Sally Gregson. Discover how to create a garden that bursts with interest all year round. You will learn the principles of structural and seasonal planting design, selecting plants for their foliage as well as flowers.

20/03/2021 Enchanting plants 1 Day
Tutor: Hester Forde. Explore the diversity of hardy trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs you can grow in a small garden all year round. Be inspired by plant combinations and learn to recreate some of the plant vignettes yourself.

Above courses with West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Contact: 01243 818300

26/03/2021 Eco Refurbishment 4 Days
Machynlleth, Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact: 01660 704966
Refurbishing our homes to make them more energy efficient is one of the key aspects of effective action on climate change. Learn from one of the UK?s leading experts in eco refurbishment and discover what key improvements you can make.

30/03/2021 Wildlife Gardening for Beginners 1 Day
Godstone, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523
If you would like to attract bees and butterflies or simply love the diverse appearance of a wildlife garden, it is vital to understand how to create this space.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

30/03/2021 Reptiles: Ecology, Surveys & Mitigation 1 Day
London Wetland Centre, CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626
The training is aimed at beginners but sessions will be designed to cater for a range of experience. Delivered by Demian Lyle, the course will cover several key areas of Reptiles: Ecology, Surveys & Mitigation


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

09/03/2021 Water Vole Live Trapping, Handling, Practical Care and Re-establishment 2 Days at Lifton, Devon
This advanced course aims to familiarise experienced practitioners with the practical elements of water vole trapping and considerations for maintaining water voles in captivity. Delegates will have opportunities to handle water voles of different ages and sexes.

18/03/2021 Red Squirrel Ecology and Surveys 2 Days at Birnam, Perth and Kinross
This two day training course will provide an introduction to red squirrel behaviour and ecology with scientific research papers and actual site visits to see and witness red squirrel behaviour and ecology.

25/03/2021 Otter Ecology and Surveys 1 Day at RAU, Gloucestershire
A one-day introductory course on otters, including a field visit and lectures.

Above courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

25/03/2021 Winter Phase One Habitat Survey 2 Days at Birnam, Perth and Kinross
This course is aimed at consultants, botanists and ecologists involved in the conservation, surveying and classification of habitats in Scotland. This course is designed as an introduction to identify the characteristics of main Phase 1 habitats.

31/03/2021 Winter Plant Identification 2 Days at Birnam, Perth and Kinross
This two-day training course will provide an introduction to vegetation identification to identify the characteristics of key plants and indicators for habitats during the winter months and plan surveys for the following summer season.

Above courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626


Advertise your training course and professional events.

Send your training course information today to or submit online here.

If you're running professional courses or events and would like details to be included here and in the online Training Directory click here for more information, email your details to us or for further information please contact the CJS Team.  Free advertising available.

Grants and sources of funding.


Applications are now open for Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Bursary schemes 2021. The Spencer, Viking and Yorkshire Bursaries support students to upskill, to carry out research and study. The Randle Travel Bursary is open to RFS Members of any age planning to travel overseas to study any aspect of forestry. The period for travel has been extended to May 2022 due to coronavirus restrictions.

For teachers in Derbyshire, Staffordshire or Shropshire the North-West Midlands Bursary supports them to attend an RFS Outdoor Learning training course.

Details and closing dates can be found at


See more listings by Clicking Here  If you would like to promote your bursary or grant scheme please send us details.






The next edition of CJS Professional will be published on: 11 February

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