CJS Professional

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

Published on the second Thursday every month

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

Featured Charity: Countryside Classroom

Find out more about our featured charity here.

Including how to join and donate.

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

CJS Professional: 13 January 2022

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


34 adverts for paid posts included in this edition at time of publication.

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

Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles

 6 adverts: Various roles with the Royal Horticultural Society available in most of their gardens. 


CJS Updates and other useful information

bright, spring-like flowers and leaves framing the words Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the CJS Team.
Once it got going 2021 turned out to be a very busy one for us here at CJS, we published more adverts than for many years and we're hoping 2022 will bring as many opportunities for everyone across our sector.

As for the last couple of years the CJS Team are all working from home on flexible hours, the team is normally available between ten and four but you may receive responses at other times. We've already been very busy: the first CJS Weekly of the year (last Friday) had 102 adverts for vacancies, plus 14 for voluntary roles. Which makes this seem an appropriate time to remind you about advertising jobs with CJS! [more]

Download your handy CJS 2022 Calendar, this year featuring a bright and sunny Cornish beach scene.

Some dates and information for this year to note: here.

A  basic breakdown of the adverts published by CJS during 2021:
2522 jobs, 97 trainees, 26 freelance and contracts out to tender plus 280 voluntary placements. Breakdown by sector here, a more detailed analysis will follow. Including some extra special subscription offers that you really can't afford to miss.


logo: NBN - National Biodiversity Network

CJS is proud to be a Corporate Supporter of the National Biodiversity Network for another year. [more]

Join UK Squirrel Accord for the third annual Twitterstorm from 12:00 to 14:00 on Red Squirrel Appreciation Day, 21 January 2022. [more]

Reminder: free student subscriptions
For the last two years during this strangest of times we have offered free subscriptions to graduating students. These have been particularly well received and we've decided to make this a permanent offer from CJS to all new graduate and students. More information here and no obligation sign up is here.


Features and In Depth Articles

From the Inner-City to the Rainforest: Discovering Self and Finding Purpose By Kwesia
The things that led to start of City Girl in Nature, as a way for me to give back to my community. To share my love and passion for the outdoors, and
my belief that everybody should have the chance to be healed, to be nourished, and to live life with abundance.  Since I began my quest, I have met some extraordinary people. People from all walks of life, young and old, of all backgrounds and beliefs, diverse and multicultural, all of us united by a shared passion for nature and the outdoors. [more]

Win-win for people and nature an introduction to the NATURE Tool by Dr. Stuart Robertson, Ecosystems Knowledge Network.
The Nature Tool for Urban and Rural Environments (the NATURE Tool) is designed to be used by the full range of professionals that are involved in shaping built development throughout the UK, from design teams to planners and construction specialists, as well as organisations whose sole focus is nature enhancement. It is expected to be deployed on everything from linear infrastructure projects to new housing. The NATURE Tool has been developed with the different needs and public policy priorities of each UK jurisdiction in mind.  [more]

CSH Nature Recovery Rangers at the NHS By Athene Reiss, Green Space for Health Partnerships Project Manager
In April 2021, three ‘Nature Recovery Rangers’ were embedded at NHS trusts in Liverpool, London and Bristol by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH). These rangers embody the seed of an idea that could transform the management and use of green spaces on healthcare sites in the UK and further afield.  At the time, we weren’t sure exactly what the work of the rangers would look like on the ground. Nine months later, we can see that it looks like many varied improvements to green and blue spaces and a wide range of engagement with them by patients and staff. It looks like wellbeing enhancements for nature and people developing side by side.  [more]

A plastic free future… By Mike Appleton, Plastic Free Woodlands Officer at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust
Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s Plastic Free Woodlands project has already made significant progress in removing redundant plastic tree guards from the Yorkshire Dales landscape, championing alternatives, and highlighting the issue of plastics in forestry nationally. It has been suggested that a staggering 50 million trees per year need to be planted to counteract Britain’s contribution to climate change.  As trees are often planted using plastic tubes that could mean that up to 1.5 billion plastic tubes could end up littering our environment and damaging ecosystems by 2050.  [more]

picture of a hand waving above a wheat field. Feeling a little overwhelmed, advertise free in CJS Focus

CJS Focus

Next Edition: CJS on Volunteering, our annual look at volunteering is this year in affiliation with the Association of Volunteer Managers and is due for publication on 28 February 2022. We're accepting adverts for this edition now. More information here


In last year's survey readers asked for us to start including Rural Regeneration, perhaps you were one of them there were a lot of you, so the first news items on this topic are including for the first time. You also asked for some more light hearted, upbeat news and we're trying to add some of that too - it's not always easy to find, this month we finish with the RSPCA's top rescues of 2021 including a greedy badger stuck in a bin.  This month includes the main stories and headlines from over the festive break and consequently there are several end of year reviews and reports and as it's January and every one is making lots of healthy resolutions there are stories on recreation, health and volunteering too.

Training and Events

Calendar of events and short courses occurring in March 2022 plus additions made over the past month.

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

CJS Newsletters and updates:

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

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

Jobs: view all online jobs here

Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles.

Volunteers: see all listings online at:

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


CJS announcements, information and other articles of interest.

bright, spring-like flowers and leaves framing the words Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the CJS Team. 

We hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas, we've certainly appreciated the break. Once it got going 2021 turned out to be a very busy one for us here at CJS, we published more adverts than for many years and we're hoping 2022 will bring as many opportunities for everyone across our sector.

As for the last couple of years the CJS Team are all working from home on flexible hours, the team is normally available between ten and four but you may receive responses at other times. We've all got used to home working and have found it actually suits us well, being able to pop out to collect children, sort out livestock or just to take a breather and walk the office dogs. We had a team meeting in December and Amy said it felt very strange to be back in the office. Even when things get back to normal (if anyone can remember what that is) we'll probably continue working this way.

We've already been very busy: the first CJS Weekly of the year (last Friday) had 102 adverts for vacancies, plus 14 for voluntary roles. Which makes this seem an appropriate time to remind you about advertising jobs with CJS!

We are pleased to be able to keep our rates unchanged and as low as 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.
Bulk Buy packages: available for three or more adverts, during the first lockdown we removed the time limits it seems appropriate to keep them unlimited so you can buy a package and use the credits whenever they're needed.

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.
In 2020 we offered graduates affected by the lockdown a free subscription to CJS Weekly which was so well received we repeated the offer last year and have now made free student subscriptions a standard offer.

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

Further information can be found here:

thumbnail image of the CJS Calendar for 2022

Download your handy CJS 2022 Calendar, this year featuring a bright and sunny Cornish beach scene.


Some dates and information for this year to note.

CJS Focus: 2022 editions will be February: Volunteering; May: Employability; October: Working with Wildlife.

CJS Weekly: will be published every Friday as usual except Christmas, Good Friday and for 2022 the Jubilee Holiday in June.

CJS Professional: published the second Thursday of every month, full dates and deadlines on the calendar and here.

CJS Training Directory and monthly calendar: the directory is available every day, the monthly calendar is included in CJS Professional, CJS Weekly the same week and shared online shortly after.

NBN Trust: Corporate supporter certificate for 2022
logo: NBN - National Biodiversity Network

We support National Biodiversity Network

We support a number of organisations and, again in 2022, are proud to be Corporate Supporters of NBN. The Trust has grown in importance over the last 20+ years and brings together biodiversity data - encouraging sharing & dissemination to all those working in conservation. Find out more about the organisation here.

And see more about our various endorsements and supported organisations here.


photo of a red squirrel next to the text: Red Squirrel Appeciation Day

Red Squirrel Appreciation Day 2022

Join UK Squirrel Accord for the third annual Twitterstorm from 12:00 to 14:00 on Red Squirrel Appreciation Day, 21 January 2022. Tweet, like and share lots of your own and other posts during this time using the hashtag #RedSquirrelAppreciationDay
The more posts we can get out there the more likely we are to get this hashtag trending on Twitter and ensure more people become aware of the day and our precious red squirrels.
If you have any events, activities or communications taking place that day and want the UK Squirrel Accord to help promote them then email details and web links to We can add them to our website and social media to share information.

New: Student free student subscriptions

For the last two years during this strangest of times we have offered free subscriptions to graduating students. These have been particularly well received and we've decided to make this a permanent offer from CJS to all new graduate and students
We know that you're facing a difficult time setting out looking for your first 'real' job in a profession that you hope is going to sustain you, body and soul, for the rest of your working life. Here at CJS we appreciate that this wonderful, amazing sector can even more difficult to get started in.To help our next generation of rangers, ecologists, wildlife warriors, landscape managers and environmental educators CJS offers all new graduates and students a full year's subscription to CJS Weekly completely free of charge. All you need to do is fill in the form here and we'll start sending you weekly copies.

CJS Weekly is the original newsletter dedicated to countryside and conservation staff, the first edition was sent to rangers in July 1994 and we've not stopped. There's been a new edition crammed with jobs (of course), voluntary roles and placements, features covering all aspects of the sector and the week's news from across the profession published every week, that's over 1,400 editions so far (October 21) .

One reader said recently: "I doubt I would have had the career I have had without the CJS."

So fill in the form and set your foot on the first rung of the ladder and CJS will be here to help you all the way.

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


Features and In Depth Articles.

CJS Focus.

Logo: CJS Focus
a hand waving above a field of wheat. Feeling a little overwhelmed, advertise free in CJS Focus

Next Edition: CJS on Volunteering, our annual look at volunteering is this year in affiliation with the Association of Volunteer Managers and is due for publication on 28 February 2022. We're accepting adverts for this edition now, basic 50 word as a general promotion for your project, friends of groups or to join your working parties cohort. It may be too early to advertise specific placements but if you have long running campaigns for certain posts we can take those too, up to 150 words per post.

Previous edition was published in September 2021 : CJS Focus on Careers in Ecology & Biodiversity in association with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) has an in depth look at how to enter and to progress through this area of the sector; subjects covered include the skills needed, the variety of jobs available, what it's  actually like as an early career ecologist, a day in the life and more.


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.

Government announcements, policy and reactions

Nation’s largest environmental charities call on the Prime Minister to make New Year’s resolutions to tackle the climate and nature crises - The Wildlife Trusts

Charities have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call for a series of New Year nature resolutions

  • Government must not allow COP26 momentum to be lost and should build on its climate leadership
  • Call for action on restoring and protecting upland peatlands
  • Protect key habitats, including marine environments, to tackle climate change and provide homes for nature
  • Ensure payments for farmers encourage them to tackle the nature and climate crises

Some of the nation’s largest conservation charities have written to Boris Johnson urging him to make a series of New Year’s resolutions to help tackle the nature and climate crises.

The National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trust and The Wildlife Trusts have joined forces to call for urgent action and build on the promises made at COP26 in Glasgow.

The charities are asking the UK Government to make seven commitments for 2022, focused on protecting and restoring peatlands, paying farmers to restore nature and additional measures to protect our marine environments.

They are also calling for an immediate ban on the use of peat for horticultural purposes in the professional and amateur sectors as well as a ban on burning upland peat.

It is hoped the pledges will also bring a greater focus on adaptation, as well as local and national government thinking more about how to tackle the changes and risks that climate change is bringing.

These commitments will ensure that Government can reach net zero and halt the catastrophic decline in nature by protecting and providing new homes for wildlife.

As well as commitments to protect our natural resources, the organisations also call on Government to lead by example by reducing emissions for the benefit of nature and people, as well as limiting global warming.

Government unveils plans to restore 300,000 hectares of habitat across England - Defra

The new schemes will support nature recovery and climate action by rewarding farmers in their local area, alongside sustainable and profitable food production.

The Government has unveiled the next stages of its plan to reward farmers and landowners for actions which benefit the environment, supporting sustainable food production alongside vital nature recovery and work towards net zero.

Two new environmental land management schemes will play an essential role in halting the decline in species by 2030, bringing up to 60% of England’s agricultural soil under sustainable management by 2030, and restoring up to 300,000 hectares of wildlife habitat by 2042.

The Local Nature Recovery scheme will pay farmers for locally-targeted actions which make space for nature in the farmed landscape and countryside such as creating wildlife habitat, planting trees or restoring peat and wetland areas. The Landscape Recovery scheme will support more radical changes to land-use change and habitat restoration such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains, or creating woodland and wetlands.

Taken together with the previously announced Sustainable Farming Incentive which supports sustainable farming practices, they are designed to provide farmers and land owners with a broad range of voluntary options from which they can choose the best for their business. The reforms are the biggest changes to farming and land management in 50 years with more than 3,000 farmers already testing the new schemes.

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference today, Environment Secretary George Eustice will announce that applications will shortly open for the first wave of Landscape Recovery projects. Up to 15 projects will be selected in this first wave, focusing on two themes – recovering England’s threatened native species and restoring England’s rivers and streams.

“Radical” rhetoric of farming reform promising, but lack of details and urgency still puts nature at risk, says UK nature charities - The Wildlife Trusts

Credit: Janet Packham
Credit: Janet Packham

Today, the Government has announced further details on two new schemes for rewarding farmers in England for producing food sustainably, while supporting nature’s recovery and tackling climate change.

The Government says the Local Nature Recovery scheme “will pay farmers for locally-targeted actions which make space for nature” and is a more ambitious successor to the Countryside Stewardship scheme. The Landscape Recovery scheme will “support more radical changes to land-use change and habitat restoration.”

Following our disappointment at the announcement of the Sustainable Farming Incentive before Christmas, The Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, and RSPB welcome today’s commitment to ambitious environmental land management and radical landscape scale change, but are concerned the latest announcements are lacking clarity on how the schemes will work and achieve true integration of farming and nature.

The charities warn that time is running out for the Government to get farming reforms right to halt the decline of species by 2030 and tackle the worsening climate emergency.

Farming covers around 70% of the land in the UK, and the intensification and industrialisation of agriculture is the leading cause behind catastrophic declines of wildlife in recent decades.

Recreation, Health and Volunteering

500 communities volunteer to help Scotland's nature recovery - NatureScot

Erecting bird nestboxes in woodland at Battleby, Perthshire. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot
Erecting bird nestboxes in woodland at Battleby, Perthshire. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Scotland’s nature agency is supporting more than 500 community groups this year to volunteer to help tackle the nature loss and climate change emergency.

Volunteers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds from all over Scotland are getting involved in hundreds of projects to put nature back on the road to recovery, protecting our plants, species and habitats from future climate impacts and making our town, cities and communities healthier, happier and more resilient.

NatureScot made the announcement ahead of International Volunteer Day, on Sunday 5 December, and encouraged others to take action now to help build a nature-positive future for the people of Scotland.

Through the Action Earth Campaign – an environmental grant scheme run by Volunteering Matters – NatureScot expects to support more than 140 community projects in 2021/22. Last year, 121 projects benefited, with over 3,300 volunteers involved in improving biodiversity in their local area. Inclusivity is a key part of the scheme, supporting volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, with 1,200 volunteers having defined health and social needs.

NatureScot also awarded £170k to The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to support over 248 community groups this year. TCV brings people and green spaces together and its projects aim to improve habitats for wildlife and the climate whilst improving health, providing learning and skills opportunities and connecting communities.

Through Paths for All, NatureScot has supported 51 community groups to develop local path networks. This includes giving 25 community groups advice and support to create, promote and maintain recreational and active travel projects, and a further 18 community groups funding for their path projects. Additionally, specific support has been given to eight disadvantaged communities including the restoration of The Blue Bonnet trails by the Opportunities in Retirement volunteer group in South Ayrshire.

Engaging in community-led marine biodiversity monitoring, 20 communities and groups across Scotland are monitoring their rocky shores, subtidal habitats and species like the flapper skate. Some communities, such as Berwickshire Marine Reserve, are recording the marine life on their shores and using ‘robolimpets’ – temperature loggers disguised as limpets – to monitor changes over time. Other groups, such as Ocean School at Struan and Carbost Primary Schools, are participating in community-led marine biodiversity monitoring to stimulate curiosity and scientific inquiry in their pupils and wider community.

Finally, more than £800k has been awarded to 43 community groups this year through NatureScot’s Better Places Green Recovery Fund. The Fund was set up to help communities manage visitors in 'hot spot' locations, following the surge in people visiting Scotland’s countryside, coasts and local green spaces during the initial easing of lockdown in summer 2020. Some of the money has been spent on upgrading and improving access to popular sites, while other volunteer groups and community partnerships have invested in promoting responsible behaviour.

Brits look to winter walking to boost health and wellbeing - Ramblers

people walking in a field (Ramblers)

New statistics revealed today by the Ramblers show the value we are placing on getting fresh air and enjoying being out in nature through walking this winter.

As we go into another festive season overshadowed by the threat of Covid-19 and other seasonal viruses, getting some fresh air is the most popular motivating reason for walking for leisure -- it was cited by seven out of ten walkers (70%), according to a poll conducted by YouGov plc exclusively for the Ramblers.

Enjoying being in nature would encourage nearly half of respondents (48.6%) to walk, and 40.1% said getting off the sofa would encourage them to do so. Nearly a third of respondents (30%) saw themselves as ‘health walkers’ who walked regularly to improve their health and wellbeing, whilst over a third (36.3%) said they walked to relax, perhaps at weekends. Only 7% said they were reluctant walkers, demonstrating just how much the British have embraced walking.

Our Walk Your Way in Winter campaign

These new statistics are released as part of our Walk Your Way in Winter campaign to encourage everyone to embrace the season and get the maximum enjoyment from walking in winter, no matter what type of leisure walker they see themselves as.

Tom Platt, Director of Advocacy and Operations for the Ramblers said: “Enjoying walking, connecting with nature, and getting fresh air are things that more of us than ever have valued since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as we head into winter the Ramblers is here to inspire and encourage everyone to embrace the season and get the most out of being outdoors. A winter walk has proven health and wellbeing benefits, like topping up your Vitamin D levels and boosting your mood, but we know the shorter days and colder weather can make it harder to get motivated, so we’ve got lots of inspiration and tips to get everyone out enjoying winter walking.”

Study puts a value on mental health and woodlands - Scottish Forestry

people walking in a wood (Scottish Forestry)
(Scottish Forestry)

A new study published today reveals that visits to woodlands for recreation could save around £26 million a year in treating mental ill-health in Scotland.

The study also estimates that trees in urban populations could reduce Scotland’s bill for antidepressants by around £1 million each year.
The research study is the first of its kind, demonstrating the “avoided costs” to the NHS through improved well-being by visiting woodlands and nature.
Welcoming the study, Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said: “Scotland’s forests and woodlands offer so many environmental, social and economic benefits to society. During Covid-19 pandemic, access to woodlands has become even more important to individuals in supporting and maintaining their well-being. It is widely recognised that spending time in woodlands can have a positive effect on alleviating conditions such as depression and anxiety. This study is important because we now have a clear monetary value on how much our woodland resource could be worth in tackling poor mental health.”
The study, carried out by Forest Research, was commissioned by Scottish Forestry, the Welsh Government and the Forestry Commission in England.

Pembrokeshire beach wheelchairs available for winter adventures - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

A Whizz-kidz beach wheelchair event on the sandy foreshore of Newport Sands (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority)
A Whizz-kidz beach wheelchair event on the sandy foreshore of Newport Sands (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority)

A fleet of 14 specially designed beach wheelchairs supporting outdoor access to some of the most beautiful coastline in the UK was successfully rolled out across the Pembrokeshire Coast this summer and some are available for winter adventures.

The project is managed by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and part-funded by Welsh Government with support from communities and organisations who have helped to fund the chairs in previous years.

The National Park Authority’s Beach Wheelchair and Outdoor Access Coordinator Sarah Beauclerk said: “Seeing the positive difference that beach wheelchairs have made to people has been a revelation and inspiration and adds tremendous value to all the good work happening in the National Park. Events with disability charity partners, like the successful Whizz-kidz and Versus Arthritis days, assisted by volunteers and National Park Authority staff this summer, introduced beach mobility equipment in a fantastic natural environment across a wide range of ages and abilities. We wanted to let people know that those with limited mobility can still access our wheelchairs, and we’ve removed the 48-hour booking notice during this quieter period. During these darker and wetter months, it is more important than ever that we find ways to support access to the National Park’s stunning beaches, especially as we now know that spending time immersed in nature can lead to better physical and psychological wellbeing. As well as our beach wheelchairs, there is a Mountain Trike ‘Push’ available at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill. There is safety information and guidelines on the booking site that people can read prior to booking to ensure they will be able to use and operate the chair safely.”

Study shows benefits of temporary walking and cycling measures - Sustrans

Research by Sustrans has revealed the benefits of the temporary changes to Scotland’s walking and cycling infrastructure, introduced during the 2020 Covid lockdown.

Launched in May 2020, Spaces for People provided emergency funding to local authorities, transport partnerships and health boards.

The funding was made available to create spaces for people to physically distance during the pandemic and to improve road safety for people walking, wheeling and cycling.

An initial evaluation of the measures which were put in place has revealed:

  • a 25% increase in pedestrian use where Spaces for People measures (such as pavement widening) were introduced, compared with control sites
  • 50% of local people support the 20mph limits introduced in Perth & Kinross, Dundee, Stirling and Angus, whilst a further 27% feel neutrally about them.
  • 48% of survey respondents in Perth & Kinross, Dundee, Stirling and Angus reported an increase in the time they spend walking for leisure and exercise.
  • 94% of survey respondents in Aberdeen City agreed that the Spaces for People measures have made it easier to walk or cycle.
  • 2 million people live within ten minutes’ walk of Spaces for People measures
  • 178 interventions were installed within the first two months of the programme and 316 were installed by the end of the first six months

Sustainability and Climate Change

Every household in Wales will be given a free tree to plant as part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackle climate change - Welsh Government

Every household in Wales will be offered a free tree to plant as part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackle climate change, Deputy Minister Lee Waters promised today.

The bold new policy will give people the chance to choose a tree of their own to plant or opt to have a tree planted on their behalf.

Speaking at a visit to a major Coed Cadw woodland creation project in Neath during National Tree Week, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change confirmed the Welsh Government had partnered with the Woodland Trust to deliver the campaign.

The first trees will be available to collect from March, from one of five regional community hubs that will be established. The Welsh Government aims to set up a further 20 hubs across Wales by October 2022.

Earlier this year, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change led a deep dive exercise into tree planting and timber, which identified a set of actions the Welsh Government needed to take forward to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change.

The Deputy Minister said: “Trees are amazing - they save lives by keeping our air clean, they improve people's physical and mental health, they are essential for tackling our nature emergency, improving biodiversity and, of course, in tackling climate change. The deep dive made it clear to me that everyone will have a part to play if we are to be successful in tackling climate change and realising our ambitions to create a National Forest for Wales. I am therefore pleased to announce we have partnered with the Woodland Trust to deliver a campaign that will provide every household in Wales an opportunity to plant a free tree in Wales. This will enable people in Wales to further understand and experience the many benefits that trees can provide, not only to the environment but also to people’s health and wellbeing.”

Transformative changemakers named UN's 2021 Champions of the Earth - UN Environment Programme

The United Nations’ highest environmental award honours this year a prime minister, a scientist, indigenous women, and an entrepreneur for their transformative impact on the environment

These Champions of the Earth inspire, defend, mobilise and act to tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our time, including ecosystem protection and restoration

This year’s award recognises laureates in the four categories of Inspiration and Action, Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, and Science and Innovation.

Nairobi, 7 December 2021 – The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced its 2021 Champions of the Earth. The Champions were chosen for their transformative impact on the environment and their leadership in advancing bold and decisive action on behalf of people and the planet.

Since its inception in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest environmental honour, has been awarded to some of the world’s most dynamic environmental leaders. So far, it has been awarded to 101 laureates, including 25 world leaders, 62 individuals and 14 organizations. This year, UNEP received a record number of nominations from all over the world.

“As we enter into a decisive decade, to cut emissions and protect and restore ecosystems, UNEP’s Champions of the Earth demonstrate that all of us can contribute. Every single act for nature counts. The entire spectrum of humanity has both a global responsibility and a profound opportunity,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “This year’s Champions are women who not only inspire us, but also remind us that we have in our hands the solutions, the knowledge and the technology to limit climate change and avoid ecological collapse.”

NRW welcomes net zero ambitions of Welsh Government’s Energy Deep Dive - Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has welcomed the recommendations made in the Welsh Government’s Renewable Energy Deep Dive today (8 December), highlighting the measures as a big step forward in helping the nation’s to achieve a net zero future.

The Deep Dive carried out by a team of experts from the public and private sector and led by the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS has looked at the barriers to scaling up renewable energy in Wales and how they can be overcome.

The recommendations include:

  • Generate renewable energy to meet the energy needs at least fully and utilise surplus generation to tackle the nature and climate emergencies.
  • A scaling up of local energy plans to create a national energy plan by 2024.
  • Public engagement and behaviour change plans to help citizens take action to reduce demand, improve energy efficiency and use energy in a way which supports the Net Zero Wales vision.
  • Create an easy to access advice service to help people improve the energy efficiency and smart performance of their homes and businesses as well as a ready supply of trusted suppliers and installers of low carbon heating systems in Wales.
  • Setting up a joint-working group to look at options for supporting new, flexible grid connections for renewables and energy storage solutions.
  • Undertake a review of resource needs and options for consenting and advisory processes to keep pace with the growth in renewables, including an urgent review of resource needs and options for NRW’s Offshore Renewable Energy Programme.
  • Identifying priority marine and terrestrial evidence gaps and mechanisms to fill them, to expedite the application process.
  • Identify marine ‘strategic resource areas’ by 2023 and provide guidance to signpost appropriate and inappropriate areas for development of different renewable energy technologies.
  • Explore ways of attracting additional investment in renewable energy generation in Wales, which will prioritise local and community ownership to maximise local economic and social value.
  • A scaling up of resources to support community and local renewable energy in Wales.
  • Welsh Government funding to build additional capacity in community enterprises to help them start to scale their work and mentor smaller organisations, to create a larger, sustainable sector.
  • Improve access to the public estate for the community energy sector.

Plans to phase out the use of peat in the amateur horticulture sector - Defra, Natural England, Welsh Government

Government seeking views on a ban of the retail sale of peat in horticulture by end of this Parliament

Plans to ban the use of peat in horticulture in England and Wales by the end of this Parliament were set out by the Government today (Saturday 18 December) in an effort to protect precious peatland habitats and meet net zero targets.

blue skies over ponds on heather moorland
Peat bogs and ponds on moorland (pixabay)

Peatlands are the UK’s largest carbon store and are routinely dug up in the UK for horticultural purposes, such as for growing media. Bagged retail growing media accounts for 70% of the peat sold in the UK. When this extraction takes place, the carbon stored inside the bog is released as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.

Peat extraction also degrades the state of the wider peatland landscape, damaging habitats for rare species of flora and fauna, and negatively impacting peat’s ability to prevent flooding and filter water.

In a consultation published today, the Government has set out measures to phase out the sale of peat and peat-containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this Parliament. Organisations with an interest in peatland protection, horticultural businesses and associations, and those who import and export peat products, are being asked for their views on new measures to end the use of peat products in horticulture.

The Government has also today awarded funding of over £4 million to help groups develop new projects seeking to restore peatland systems to a natural and healthy state at a landscape scale. The funding will be delivered by Natural England and will help unlock barriers to peatland restoration, enabling projects that would struggle to gain funding to be in a position to apply for future rounds of peat restoration funding. Grants have been awarded to 10 projects from across the country including in the Fens, Dorset, Somerset and Yorkshire.

Ending the retail sale of peat in horticulture in England and Wales - Defra, Natural England and Welsh Government

We want to know what you think about our proposed measures to end the retail sale of peat in England and Wales.

We need your views on:

  • measures to end the use of peat and peat containing products in retail horticulture
  • views on each of the proposed measures and how they could operate
  • any evidence you can provide on the impacts of ending the use of peat and peat containing products in the professional horticulture and wider sectors

Peatlands are an iconic feature of our landscapes and the UK’s largest stores of carbon. They also provide vital ecosystem services including supplying UK drinking water, decreasing flood risk, and providing food and shelter for rare wildlife.

The extraction of peat releases the carbon stored inside as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. Peat is extracted in the UK for, primarily, horticultural purposes. By ending the retail sale of peat in horticulture, we will be protecting our vulnerable peatlands and helping to prevent climate change.

Take part in the Consultation. The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 18 March 2022

The Wildlife Trusts call for immediate ban on all peat sales, peat extraction and peat imports to help address the nature and climate crisis - The Wildlife Trusts

Today the English and Welsh Governments announce a consultation on ending the sale of peat to amateur gardeners. But ambition to protect peatlands is still falling far short of what is badly needed.

For decades the UK Government has failed to bring to a clear end the commercial extraction of peat and its sale to gardeners and the horticulture industry. In 2010 a voluntary target was set to phase out the use of peat by amateur gardeners by 2020. Today, peat still accounts for a significant volume of the growing media sold by retailers and despite its initial aspirations, the voluntary targets set by the Government have been unsuccessful in changing the industry.

A similar target to end peat use in the professional sector by 2030 looks set to be missed, with peat still accounting for around 41% of the growing media used in horticulture overall. Unfortunately, today the UK and Welsh Governments have demonstrated that they will not act with the urgency required by immediately ending the sale of peat in both the amateur and professional markets.

Once the consultation closes in March 2022, the UK and Welsh Governments must publish a strategy which sets out a framework for an end to peat use among amateur growers and gardeners, by 2024 at the latest. The Wildlife Trusts are calling for:

  • An immediate end to the sale and use of bagged peat compost in the amateur market.
  • An immediate end to the sale and use of peat in the professional market.
  • The immediate cessation of the extraction of peat from the UK’s peatlands.
  • An immediate end to the importation of peat for compost; two-thirds of peat used in the UK is imported. An import ban must therefore be implemented alongside an extraction ban in order to prevent ‘offshoring’ of peatland damage to countries with less stringent legislation.
  • Restoration of all bogs damaged by the removal of peat as a priority.

Major grant to help capture carbon in the Broads - Broads Authority

A new partnership led by the Broads Authority has been awarded a new grant to design peatland restoration projects in the Broads National Park to build carbon storage and help adapt to climate change.

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

This funding recognises that the Broads is an internationally significant store of carbon, equivalent to 7% of the carbon stored in forest trees across the whole UK.

The new Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS) Discovery Grant of £800,000 runs until 2023, and will allow the partnership to develop a pioneering approach to peatland management and carbon storage in the Broads landscape.

The cross-sector partnership of charities, farmers, land managers and Palladium (a global impact firm) will work together across 13 sites in the Broads to find ways to stop this loss of carbon, and restore wetland so that it captures more carbon. The first phase of the project will work on feasibility studies and a new business case for private-finance investment for carbon and water storage.

Carbon-rich peatland ecosystems such as those in the Broads provide multiple benefits to the environment, including a net cooling effect on climate, reduction of flood risk, and supporting biodiversity. Healthy peatlands can reduce flood risk by slowing the flow of water from the uplands, and by providing floodplain storage in the lowlands.

The partnership aims to overcome complex barriers to peatland restoration that exist in the Broads and to change attitudes to peat restoration by demonstrating practical solutions for new peatland economics.

Wildlife left reeling by fires and storms – the ‘new climate normal’, warns The National Trust - The National Trust

  • Extreme weather events and natural disasters punctuate a year that saw a range of climate impacts on the UK’s wildlife
  • ‘Winners and losers’ include low butterfly numbers, starvation for sea birds, a topsy turvy year for terns, but beavers breeding for the first time in Somerset
  • Dry March and very dry April sees wildfires devastate landscapes in Northern Ireland and Yorkshire
  • Storm Arwen delivers a ‘sting’ in the tail end of the year, uprooting significant trees across the north of the UK as ash dieback also continues to bite
  • Significant cliff fall on the Dorset coast shows how coastal erosion is accelerating
  • North-south divide with late frosts affecting blossom and hitting apple harvests hardest in the north
  • Grey seal pups on track for another record-breaking year across three sites cared for by the National Trust
  • Poor year for acorns in the south (following last year’s mast year), but a bumper year for berries
  • Species extending their range with several new records in 2021
  • Landscapes and wildlife across the UK are increasingly suffering the impacts of extreme weather events and natural disasters, says the National Trust.
infographic showing nature's winners and losers
Weather & Wildlife Infographic. (Credit: James Bott, Honest Ltd & National Trust)

Although the year’s weather was uneventful at times, a handful of events and some unseasonal conditions caused devastation to important landscapes, coastline, and resulted in various ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ for our wildlife.

Warmer, wetter winters are resulting in diseases such as ash dieback taking hold and causing significant loss of trees, impacting landscapes and homes for nature.

The dry March and even drier April saw wildfires take hold at two significant landscapes cared for by the conservation charity – the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland and Marsden Moor in Yorkshire, devastating 200 hectares and 520 hectares (two square miles) of moorland respectively.

Both areas lost a diverse range of plants, and declining bird species were affected, such as skylark, meadow pipit and snipe (Mourne Mountains) and curlew, golden plover and short-eared owl (Marsden Moor) and other wildlife such as Irish hare (Mourne Mountains) and mountain hare (Marsden) as well as leaving important peat soils scorched and destroyed.

On the Dorset coast, a substantial 300m cliff fall in April - the largest for 60 years on this stretch of coastline – was caused by prolonged periods of dry weather, rain and erosion by the sea over several years, undermining the stability of the cliff changing the shape of the coastline forever; serving as a reminder of the dynamic nature of our coastal habitats.

The late autumn was bought to an abrupt end last month as Storm Arwen ripped through the north of the country causing widespread devastation, toppling hundreds of irreplaceable trees and plants at Bodnant garden in Wales, and thousands in the Lake District. At Wallington in Northumberland, where winds reached 98mph, over half of the 250-year-old oak and beech trees were also uprooted.

Temperature-wise, a high of 32.2 degrees Celsius was recorded at Heathrow airport in July and a low of -23 degrees Celsius was recorded in Braemer in Aberdeenshire in February. This summer is expected to be within the top ten warmest on record, evidence of the long-term trend of rising temperatures.

Ben McCarthy, Head of Nature Conservation and Restoration Ecology at the National Trust says: “Climate change is making some forms of extreme weather events the new normal. Heatwaves and heavy rainfall are becoming more frequent and more intense. What we’re seeing in the UK with the impacts of wildfires and severe storms such as Arwen and Barra, is how climate change is altering our landscapes forever. These extreme events are putting even more pressure on Britain's wildlife, which is already in trouble with more than half of species in decline and 15 per cent of wildlife species under threat of extinction. Our nature is part of what makes the UK unique and we must all play our part to protect it. The scale of the challenge we face is huge, but there is much we can do to heal climate harm. Isolated or small populations are the most at risk from climate impacts. Our conservation work protects and restores wildlife in our precious landscapes to help nature literally weather the storms. By conserving nature and improving habitats we can support larger populations that are better able to respond to the drivers of change and help nature’s survival.”

Land and Countryside Management, now including Rural Regeneration

National Trust warns of “catastrophic” impact of tree and plant disease - National Trust

British trees are under threat from an increase in the severity and frequency of diseases, the National Trust warned today.

Ash dieback felling tree at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire (National Trust images)
Ash dieback felling tree at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire (National Trust images)

Pathogens like ash dieback, Phytophthora ramorum and acute oak decline could have an even bigger impact across the British landscape as the effects of climate change are felt.

This autumn alone, a new disease, Phytophthora pluvialis, has been found in the UK and a new outbreak of the 8 toothed spruce bark beetle has been found in southeast England, meaning restrictions have been placed on the movement of trees, bark, wood chipping and cut foliage in various parts of the country.

The charity warns that ash dieback will lead to more than 30,000 trees being felled at a cost of more than £3m this winter alone, as trees that decay become dangerous to the public and require felling.

This figure is up from £2m last year and it is expected that between 75 – 95 per cent of all ash trees are likely to be lost in the next 20-30 years.

The effect of Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus-like pathogen, has escalated in the Lake District, requiring urgent felling of larch at several sites with Holme Wood above Loweswater the worst affected, where 75 per cent of the woodland will lose larch.

A large proportion of woodland in the South Lakes is also badly hit, including Tarn Hows and Coniston, but also badly hit are Wasdale, Langdale, and Crummock and it is estimated that 95 per cent of foresters’ time in the Lakes this year will deal with this disease.

On top of this, storms like Arwen – which last week decimated large parts of the north of England and Wales – are also altering the landscape, costing millions of pounds to clear up and distracting from vital disease management work. A number of trees that came down as a result of the storm were found to be almost hollowed out due to tree disease. Thousands of trees were lost due to Arwen in the Lake District.

Phytophthora pluvialis was discovered last month in an area of Cornwall – the first time the disease has been identified in Europe.

Land and water ecosystems, ‘stressed to a critical point’ - UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Land and water resources are “stressed to a critical point”, following significant deterioration over the past decade, according to a major new report released on Thursday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Entitled, State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture – Systems at breaking point (SOLAW 2021), the report highlights the challenges that lie ahead in feeding a global population that should near ten billion by 2050.

At the launch of the publication, FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, said that “current patterns of agrifood production are not proving sustainable.”

Yet, he added, these systems “can play a major role in alleviating these pressures and contributing positively to climate and development goals.”

Main findings

If the world keeps to the current trajectory, producing the additional 50 per cent more food needed, could mean an increase of 35 per cent, in the water withdrawals needed for farming.

That could create environmental disasters, increase competition for resources, and fuel new social challenges and conflicts.

Currently, human-induced soil degradation affects 34 per cent (around 1,660 million hectares), of agricultural land.

Even though more than 95 per cent of all food is produced on land, there is little room for expanding the area that can be made more productive.

In fact, urban areas occupy less than 0.5 per cent of the Earth’s land surface, but the rapid growth of cities has significantly reduced resources, polluting and encroaching on prime agricultural land.

In only 17 years, between 2000 and 2017, land use per capita declined by 20 per cent.

Water scarcity now threatens 3.2 billion people living in agricultural areas. 

Access the report

State of UK Public Parks 2021 - Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)

State of UK Public Parks 2021 report cover

In 2016 the previous ‘State of the UK Public Parks’ report was published by the Heritage Lottery Fund. That report identified that there was a need for central government, local authorities and a variety of partners to work together to address the problem of declining budgets, and the impact of the loss of finance on the quality, availability and future sustainability of UK’s parks. In our 2021 ‘State of the UK Public Parks’ report, published by APSE, we are disappointed to have to repeat many of the warnings made 5 years ago. Funding for our parks is once again at a tipping point with the loss of parks funding in further decline from £500 million lost between 2010 and 2016 to a further £190 million in 2021. A total of £690 million over the past decade.

Download the report here

Mayor announces ambitious new plans to rewild London - Mayor of London

Mayor announces new fund to help restore some of the capital’s most treasured natural sites and improve biodiversity

Plans unveiled for 40 “Keeping it Wild” traineeships to help young people who are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled or from areas of economic deprivation, to develop vital green skills

Mayor confirms the first 45 projects to be supported by his £6m investment in green spaces

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (Monday 13 December) announced a new £600,000 Rewild London Fund, that will help restore London’s most precious wildlife sites and create more natural habitats for plants and animals to thrive. 

There are 1,600 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) in London, covering 20 per cent of the capital. These include the world-famous nature reserve Richmond Park, Sydenham Hill Wood and the downlands in Bromley and Croydon that inspired Charles Darwin’s discoveries. Currently only around half of these sites are being appropriately managed to conserve or enhance their special wildlife

The new Rewild London Fund will be delivered with expert advice from London Wildlife Trust and will support 20-30 of these sites to ensure that London’s special species thrive, from creating new homes for stag beetles to water voles in newly restored waterways and helping birds like swifts and house sparrows to flourish. 

The Mayor has also announced a further £300K of funding for 40 ‘Keeping it Wild’ traineeships for young people aged 16-25. The traineeships, delivered with the London Wildlife Trust, will support young Black, Asian and minority ethnic Londoners, as well as young disabled Londoners and those from areas of economic deprivation, to develop vital green skills and help to remove barriers to entering the sector.

Sadiq also announced plans for a “Rewilding Roundtable” event that will explore opportunities for more ambitious, innovative projects to support nature in the capital. These plans will help make London a leader in urban rewilding, from restoring rivers to reintroducing species currently absent from London.

Assynt Foundation and Woodland Trust Scotland Announce Historic 30-Year Partnership - Woodland Trust

The Assynt Foundation and Woodland Trust Scotland have entered a 30-year partnership to revitalise Glencanisp and Drumrunie Estates in the North-west highlands.

The result will be a resilient upland landscape that should support more people as well as greater biodiversity.

Assynt Foundation Chair Claire Belshaw said: “Together we will work to create a diverse and productive landscape of woods, moorland and water. This will provide a high-quality backdrop for The Assynt Foundation to realise its rural development ambitions and provide a sustainable source of income.”

The 44,400 acres includes the mountains of Suilven, Canisp, Cul Mor and Cul Beag set amongst a vast patchwork of rivers and lochans.

The partnership aims to create new native woods amongst a wider mosaic of trees, open moorland and mountains. Open ground habitat, peatlands and riparian areas will be improved through this 30-year rolling work programme. Existing ancient woodlands including remnants of Scotland’s rainforest will be restored and expanded.

The partnership will deliver community benefits for Assynt Foundation members, the wider Assynt community and the Scottish people and will incorporate a programme of public engagement and training.

A joint management board will oversee the work with the chair alternating between the two charities. A Land Management Plan will be reviewed every five years with local consultation in line with Scottish Land Commission guidance.

New grant will help champion and protect the Yorkshire coastline - Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership

The Yorkshire coast is set to receive a grant of £46,000 from the Championing Coastal Coordination fund to support improved understanding of our unique and diverse coastal environment. The funding will deliver a project to explore how the importance and value of marine resources, such as food and fuel, could be better represented during regional decision-making.

landscape view across the sea bay at Robin Hood's Bay, heather in bloom and a stone marker post in the foreground
Robin Hoods Bay from Ravenscar (Credit: Mike Kipling / NYMNPA)

The ‘Connecting the Dots’ project focuses on a 95-mile long stretch of coastline from Staithes in North Yorkshire to Spurn Point in East Yorkshire. Led by the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership (YMNP), in collaboration with the North York Moors National Park Trust, it will bring together marine and coastal experts from different organisations, ensuring that important information is shared across sectors.

Heather Davison-Smith, Development Officer for the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership, explained more: “We receive so many things from the natural environment, from the food we eat to the air we breathe. We’re working with partners from across Yorkshire’s terrestrial and marine areas to understand the value of these services to our society, so that we can look after them better and enhance their functions. Understanding our ‘natural capital’ is an important tool in supporting nature recovery and it is vital that we coordinate this work across different environments.”

Amy Carrick-Knowles from the North York Moors National Park Trust said: “The North York Moors National Park Trust are delighted to support this project, which will build additional capacity into the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership. We all know that our coastline is incredibly valuable, but this has never been properly quantified in terms of the benefits it provides for us. With marine habitats under threat, it is critically important to asses this so that we can better understand what is at stake and ensure it is properly protected in the future.”

The project will deliver a report as to how marine natural capital can be integrated into regional decision-making. A series of short films will also be produced, exploring the meaning of natural capital for Yorkshire’s coastal ecosystems and how the concept can be used to benefit nature recovery.

To find out more about the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership, please visit

Rural Regeneration

Statistical Digest of Rural England and Rural economic bulletin - defra Official Statistics

Statistical Digest of Rural England

A compendium of rural urban statistics on a wide range of social and economic Government policy areas.

The latest edition of the Digest is for December 2021 and includes updates to:

  • Wellbeing, including loneliness, and feelings about the local neighbourhood
  • Volunteering and charity

The supplementary data tables provide additional statistics for each section of the Digest, using the rural urban classification categories. The local authority data tables supply the disaggregated datasets, used to conduct analysis in Digest, at a local authority level where feasible.

Statistical Digest of Rural England - December 2021

And click through to access the datasets.

Rural economic bulletin

The quarterly rural economic bulletin is a 'dashboard' of indicators designed to provide evidence on the rural economy.

Rural Economic Bulletin for England, December 2021

And click through to access the datasets


Urban gardens are a dependable food source for pollinators through the year, study suggests - University of Bristol

Gardens in cities provide a long and continuous supply of energy-rich nectar from March to October, scientists at the University of Bristol have found.

Despite huge garden-to-garden variation in both the quantity and timing of nectar production, pollinators are guaranteed a reliable food supply if they visit multiple gardens. This contrasts with previous studies on farmland, where pollinators are exposed to boom-and-bust cycles of nectar production with clear seasonal gaps.

photo of a garden full of flowers, herbaceous borders overflowing with pink and yellow blooms
A nectar-rich garden in Westbury Park (Bristol). (image: Nick Tew)

This means the actions of many independent gardeners result in the emergent property of a stable and diverse provision of food for city pollinators.

PhD student Nick Tew from the School of Biological Sciences said: “We measured the amount of nectar produced by flowers in 59 residential gardens in Bristol. We found that individual gardens vary in both how much food they provide and when they provide it during the year. However, because flying pollinators like bees can visit many different gardens, they are likely to be able to find food in residential neighborhoods whenever they need it.

The variation between gardens was extreme, ranging from 2g to 1.7kg of nectar sugar through the year and this was not determined by the size of the garden but rather by how people chose to manage their gardens.

Gardeners can help in particular by planting open flowers that bloom later in the year because in late Summer and Autumn 79% of nectar was produced by tubular flowers only accessible to long-tongued insects like bumblebees. Shrubs are also a recommended way to pack many flowers into a small space and were found to provide 58% of all nectar in gardens.

Dr Stephanie Bird of the RHS summarised: “This research highlights the collective power UK gardeners hold in safeguarding the future of our pollinating insects.”

Paper: Turnover in floral composition explains species diversity and temporal stability in the nectar supply of urban residential gardens by Tew, N.E. et al. in Journal of Applied Ecology.

Forestry and Arboriculture

UK’s Tree of the Year 2021 revealed - Woodland Trust

Hawthorn tree - winner of Tree of the Year Credit: Drew Patterson
Credit: Drew Patterson

A defiant lone hawthorn guarding the Scottish coastline is the winner of the Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year for 2021.

The tree at Kippford, Dalbeattie in Dumfries & Galloway is a fine example of a native, mature tree and while not spectacular in size, it cuts a striking presence as the only tree on the windswept cockle shell beach.

Now in its seventh year, the Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year contest highlights the UK’s favourite trees to help show their value and need for protection.

The hawthorn took 38% of the vote, finishing above a Monterey cypress tree planted on a beach in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales (19%) that was saved from felling this year after a passionate public campaign.

In third place with 13% was an exceptional parasol beech in Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland – a rare specimen with knotted branches growing randomly back towards the ground.

The competition was held across social media, with a shortlist of 10 finalists selected from hundreds of nominations across The Woodland Trust’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using #TreeoftheWeek

Tree surgeon Drew Patterson, who nominated the winning hawthorn, was thrilled to see such a 'beautiful specimen' take the coveted prize.

“I love this tree, it’s amazing,” said Drew, 57, whose father, grandfather and great grandfather all came from Dalbeattie. “It is a superb hawthorn and it’s incredible it has survived this well having been climbed on, battered by the winds and even bumped into by cars turning. It’s in a wild place and has been blown over at an angle, but it is still standing strong and proud on the edge of the beach. It has been there as long as I can remember and I have so many fond memories going back through the generations. I have pictures of my grandfather and mum in front of the tree.”

This year's winner is a striking hawthorn guarding the Scottish coastline.

Growing woodland to withstand storms and gales - Royal Forestry Society

Storm damage (Helivideo)
Storm damage (Helivideo)

Our woods need to change if they are to survive the impacts more storms and gales will have as a result of climate change in the future, says the Royal Forestry Society (RFS).

Measures can be implemented now. They include growing more species suitable for local soils and predicted climate conditions. Changing thinning regimes and introducing structural diversity – different trees of varying heights and ages – should also be considered.

RFS Chief Executive Christopher Williams He says: “Our thoughts go out to all those who have suffered loss or injury as a result of Storms Arwen and Barra. These events underline why we must be thinking now about how we minimise windthrow risk in the future. In past centuries we planned and grew our woodland believing the environment was stable. We now know there is a likelihood of increasingly frequent and severe gales under predicted climate change scenarios for the UK. We must therefore plan and manage our woodland differently to future proof not just against windblow events but against the spread of pests and diseases carried on the wind.”

Woodland in England typically relies on a small number of key species. Five conifer species account for 88% of the softwood forests and five broadleaf species make up over 72% of the hardwood woodland resource. Many are grown in monoculture.

For those restocking woodland after trees have blown down, Christopher Williams says there is an opportunity to add structural and species diversity into woods. Such moves would lessen the chances of storms toppling whole areas of single age/siefrecrengle height trees, leaving nothing standing. Depending on management objectives, considering continuous cover forestry, introducing shorter rotations or earlier thinning might also help adapt existing woods.

Those planting new woodland to meet Government tree cover targets should incorporate storm proofing into their forest design and operational planning. This should include a diversity of species planted at different ages to ensure that the woodland matures over time rather than at one point in the future.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Set to Tackle Ash Dieback - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is working in partnership with Natural England, who are leading the LIFE in the Ravines Project. The project has received £5 million in funding, with £3.6m from the EU LIFE Programme and the remainder from project partners. This project's aim is to help 876 hectares of forest survive this threat with a programme of woodland management and tree planting. 

Ash dieback, if left, will cause catastrophic devastation to ravine forests in the Peak District. Felling of diseased trees is due to start in January, followed by a tree planting programme which will see a number of tree species such as small and large leaved lime (Tilia cordata, Tilia platyphyllos), aspen (Populus tremula) and willow (Salix species); to help build resilience and add to the diversity of surrounding wildlife.

Kate Bradshaw, Living Landscapes Officer for the White Peak says: “The ravine woodlands of Derbyshire Dales are an incredibly special habitat and important on an international scale. This partnership project will not only help to mitigate the threat of ash die back, but will also make our woodlands more resilient to any future changes that might threaten these important ecosystems.”

Project partners have assisted the LIFE in the Ravines team to complete woodland surveys to assess what species are present and give a risk rating for how badly ash dieback is likely to affect the area. Starting in January, trees will be thinned with some mature trees left standing but enough light and space to plant new trees in the same area to enable them to flourish.

Pollution and Litter

Incidents up, enforcement down: Countryside Alliance respond to latest fly-tipping statistics - Countryside Alliance

The latest fly-tipping statistics for England, have been published today (8th December 2021).

The latest figures show that while the number of fly-tipping incidents have increased (by 16%), the overall number of enforcement actions taken are down.

The 2020/21 reporting period covers the first year of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted on the levels of fly-tipping seen in 2020/21.

Responding to the figures, Sarah Lee, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Countryside Alliance said: "These figures confirm the shocking scale of the problem before us. From quiet rural lanes and farmers’ fields to bustling town centres and residential areas, fly-tipping continues to cause misery across the country. It is incredibly concerning to see that despite a substantial increase in fly-tipping incidents, enforcement action is down. Fly-tippers, be they acting alone or as part of an organised criminal gang, need to know that their selfish actions will result in robust punishment. We must also continue to urge the public to play their part by ensuring those carrying out waste removal have the correct documentation. Lockdown and the subsequent closure of tips only exacerbated this situation and we would urge local authorities to think very carefully about preventing access to these facilities in future."

Key points

  • For the 2020/21 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.
  • As in the previous year, just under two thirds (65%) of fly-tips involved household waste. Total incidents involving household waste were 737,000 in 2020/21, an increase of 16% from 635,000 incidents in 2019/20.
  • The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for over two fifths (43%) of total incidents in 2020/21, the same as in 2019/20. In 2020/21, the number of highway incidents was 485,000, which was an increase of 16% from 419,000 in 2019/20.
  • The most common size category for fly-tipping incidents in 2020/21 was equivalent to a ‘small van load’ (34% of total incidents), followed by the equivalent of a ‘car boot or less’ (26%).
  • In 2020/21, 39,000 or 4% of total incidents were of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger, which is an increase of 16% from 33,000 in 2019/20. For these large fly-tipping incidents, the cost of clearance to local authorities in England in 2020/21 was £11.6 million, compared with £10.9 million in 2019/20.
  • Local authorities carried out 456,000 enforcement actions in 2020/21, a decrease of 18,000 actions (4%) from 474,000 in 2019/20.
  • The number of fixed penalty notices issued was 57,600 in 2020/21, a decrease of 24% from 75,400 in 2019/20. This is the second most common action after investigations and accounted for 13% of all actions in 2020/21.
  • The number of court fines issued decreased by 51% from 2,672 to 1,313 in 2020/21, with the value of total fines decreasing to £440,000 (a decrease of 62% on the £1,170,000 total value of fines in 2019/20).

Cleaning up Scotland's waters: Views sought on Marine Litter Strategy - Scottish Government consultation

Better recycling of fishing equipment and changing what we flush down the toilet could help cut the amount of litter in Scotland’s waters.

These proposals are included in a consultation on an updated Marine Litter Strategy, which aims to prevent litter reaching our seas and shores, remove rubbish from the marine environment, and strengthen monitoring.

Fishing and aquaculture nets and gear are currently difficult to recycle as these are usually made of multiple materials.

Adopting a circular design, with standardised materials, would make dismantling and recycling easier. This would enable re-use of valuable materials and reduce the amount of waste that could potentially end up in the water.

The draft strategy also includes measures to prevent items like wet wipes and sanitary products from entering our seas through the sewage system.

Actions include improvements to sewage system infrastructure and an awareness campaign to promote behaviour change and highlight inappropriate flushing of sanitary items.

To help curb plastic pellet pollution, the strategy includes the development of a certification scheme for businesses handling plastic pellets, with this work to be undertaken in collaboration with the plastics industry.

The consultation runs until 22 March 2022. Responses will be used to inform the new strategy which will be published in 2022.

New funding and projects

New funding for river restoration training - NatureScot

Organisations and businesses are being urged to apply for a share of new funding to support development of nature-based skills in river restoration.

The Working with Rivers training scheme will fund up to 20 paid placements of 12-weeks duration.

The placements will offer training and high quality, on-the-job experience in river restoration, natural flood management, control of invasive non-native species and riverside woodland creation.

NatureScot has secured National Transition Training Fund support from Skills Development Scotland to run Working with Rivers.

Organisations or businesses interested in hosting a placement are invited to apply for up to £7,500 per placement to recruit one or more trainees. Applications are open until January 7th.

NatureScot’s Action Plan for nature-based jobs identified the need to develop more career pathways into river restoration and natural flood management.

Claudia Rowse, NatureScot’s Deputy Director of Sustainable Growth, said: “Natural flood management and river restoration are key nature-based solutions that are essential in helping us to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. There is great potential for the growth of nature-based jobs in these areas as we transition to net-zero, but this will require a range of new and enhanced skills. These paid placements will give individuals valuable experience and help them to develop the skills required to move into employment in this sector. In doing so they will also increase capacity to support the kind of river restoration projects that are so essential in tackling the twin nature and climate change crises.”

£300,000 nature funding for under-served communities in Wales - National Lottery Heritage Fund

Five of Wales’s most excluded and disadvantaged communities will be making the most of nature on their doorsteps thanks to ‘Local Places for Nature – Breaking Barriers’ grants.

Funding of almost £300,000 is being provided by the programme from the Welsh Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Launched in July, Local Places for Nature – Breaking Barriers offered grants for groups including black and minority ethnic, refugee, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to connect with nature.

Communities in the top 30% of the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation were also eligible for funding.

Very encouraged by the response to Breaking Barriers

Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change, said: “We have been very encouraged by the response to the Breaking Barriers funding which we made available to widen participation and engagement in our Local Places for Nature programme. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the successful projects, there really is some fascinating work to be done here that I look forward to learning more about as things progress.”

The successful projects

The projects getting a share of the £288,639 Local Places for Nature – Breaking Barriers funding are:

  • Travelling Back to Nature led by Romani Cultural & Arts Company, south east Wales, £78,137
  • Greening Riverside led by South Riverside Community Centre, Cardiff, £81,202
  • Greening Maindee Together led by Maindee Unlimited and the Community House Eton Road, Newport, £39,300
  • Connecting to Nature led by Llanelli Multicultural Network, £30,000
  • The Green Connect Project led by Women Connect First, Cardiff, £60,000

The grant programme is part of the Welsh Government’s Local Places for Nature scheme which is committed to creating, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’.

Creating opportunities for women in agriculture - Scottish Government, Lantra Scotland

Extension of Practical Training Fund.

More women and girls living and working in Scottish agriculture will be able to apply for funding for courses to help develop their skills. Eligible courses include support to get tractor and trailer driving certificates or help to train sheepdogs.

The Practical Training Fund, which was launched in 2021 and is administered by Lantra Scotland, has already supported more than 400 women and girls to undertake courses to develop their skillset or change careers.

From today, women and girls over the age of 13 can apply for up to £500, or more on a case by case basis, for the cost of a practical or technical training course through the fund, with the first batch of successful applicants being notified by the end of January 2022.

It has been supported by another £75,000 of Scottish Government funding, with £20,000 of the funding ring-fenced for applicants living in island communities.

Animal and Wildlife News

Mouse presence on remote island puts millions of seabirds at risk - RSPB

(image: RSPB)
(image: RSPB)

A single mouse has been spotted on the remote Gough Island, putting the future of some of the world’s most endangered seabirds in jeopardy. Earlier in the year the Gough Island Restoration Team attempted to eradicate all mice on the Atlantic island, which is one of the most important seabird nesting sites in the world. But today (Tuesday December 14 2021) the team reported that monitoring equipment had spotted a single mouse.

The removal of every mouse was necessary to prevent the loss of more than two million seabird eggs and chicks, including those of the Critically Endangered and iconic Tristan albatross, one of the world’s greatest wanderers.

The mice were accidentally introduced by sailors during the 19th Century and have been seen eating the flesh of seabird chicks and, more recently, live adult birds too.

Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB said: “This was one of the most ambitious island restoration programmes ever attempted, bringing together experts from around the world to protect globally endangered seabirds in what many would consider one of the most remote and difficult to reach locations on Earth. With over a decade of planning and given the logistics involved, this has been the conservation equivalent of landing on the Moon. “We needed to take this urgent action to save millions of eggs and chicks from predation, prevent extinctions and to undo the damage caused by mice which humans unwittingly allowed onto the island in the past. We are confident that through this partnership we put everything in place to give the project the best chance of being successful. Although only one mouse has been sighted so far, unfortunately experience would tell us that it is unlikely to be the only one."

New General Licences for 2022 released for England and Wales - Countryside Alliance

We have welcomed the reissuing by Defra of the three General Licences for the control of certain wild birds for the purposes of: conserving wild birds, flora and fauna of conservation concern (GL40); preserving public health or safety (GL41); and the prevention of serious damage (GL42). The Licences, which came into effect on 1 January, are valid for two years to 31 December 2023, and this table shows the species of wild bird that can be controlled for the purposes of each licence.

There remain issues with some aspects of the licences which we will continue to discuss with the government, but on the whole they allow farmers and land managers to manage avian pest species for most legitimate reasons. The clarification that gamebirds can be classed as livestock whilst they are dependent on the provision of food, water, or shelter for their survival is also helpful confirmation that the General Licences can be used to prevent serious damage to pheasants and partridges in such circumstances.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has reissued its three General Licences for the control of certain wild birds: to prevent serious damage and the spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit (GL001); to preserve public health and prevent the spread of disease (GL002); and to conserve certain wild birds (GL004). The General Licences are only valid for six months, from 01 January – 30 June 2022

Whilst it is not necessary to apply for these licences, it is essential that the terms and conditions of use for each is complied with before carrying out any lethal control.

General licenses, updated information - Defra and Natural Resources Wales

Full details can be found here:

Defra, licences for England

Wild birds: licence to kill or take to prevent serious damage (GL42)

As a land owner, occupier or authorised person, use this general licence to kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage.

Wild birds: licence to kill or take for public health or safety (GL41)

As a land owner, occupier or authorised person, use this general licence to kill or take certain wild birds to preserve public health or safety.

Natural Resources Wales, licences for Wales

General licence 001 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit or to prevent the spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit.

General licence 002 - Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of preserving public health and preventing the spread of disease.

General licence 004 - Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of conserving certain wild birds.

Wild birds: licence to kill or take for conservation purposes (GL40)

As a land owner, occupier or authorised person, use this general licence to kill or take certain wild birds to conserve wild birds, flora or fauna of conservation concern.


Ground-breaking Scottish project to reduce marine animal entanglement in creel fishing gear - Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust

A ground-breaking project is helping reduce mammal, shark and turtle entanglement in creel fishing gear in Scottish waters.

NatureScot has published a report today (Tuesday 14 Dec) on the first phase of the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA) project, the first of its kind in the UK, which brings together commercial creel fishers, NatureScot, research scientists, and marine mammal conservation and rescue charities to better understand the scale and impacts of marine animal entanglement in Scottish waters.

Entanglements in fishing gear and marine debris can have both welfare and conservation impacts on marine animals, causing injury, impairment and death. Entanglement is the largest identified cause of death due to human activity in minke and humpback whales in Scottish waters, and the only known cause of human-driven mortality in basking sharks and marine turtles. During at-sea surveys, over 22% of live minke whales observed on the west coast of Scotland showed evidence of previous entanglements.

The project involved interviewing 159 creel fishers about their fishing practises and their experience of entanglements. A total of 146 entanglements over a 10-year period were reported. Only a small number of these entanglements were previously known, demonstrating that entanglements are hugely under-reported. The interviews also revealed that a wider range of species were involved than previously known.

Fishers also participated in training events and workshops to promote best practise, reduce entanglement risk, and safely disentangle large marine animals from fishing gear. This training gave fishers the ability to call on each other and safely provide a rapid response to any entangled animal.

Tales of whales and Wally, orca and oyster, and world’s largest flapper skate appear in The Wildlife Trusts’ 2021 marine review - The Wildlife Trusts

Conservation successes undermined by increasing disruption to UK seas

The Wildlife Trusts’ Living Seas team have compiled their highs and lows of the last 12 months from around the UK. These include:

image of walrus head above blue water
Wally the Walrus (© Joe Pender)
  • Recovering humpback whales, long-distance orcas, and a rarely seen highland dancer – plus exciting news about the world’s largest skate in Northern Ireland
  • Climate change disrupting marine life – from Wally the walrus to ring-necked blenny
  • A big increase in disturbance to marine life from human activities
  • Pioneering schemes to restore seagrass meadows and huge kelp forests
  • Native oysters, sand lizards and puffins fight back with help from The Wildlife Trusts

Lissa Batey, head of marine conservation for The Wildlife Trusts, says: “It’s been a fantastic year for marine megafauna sightings, particularly in the southwest, but it’s clear that our oceans are under immense pressure from fishing, development, pollution, climate change and recreation. All these issues are having a huge impact on life at sea. COP26 really brought home the need to limit global temperature rises to a maximum of 1.5°. Protecting our marine environment is a critical part of achieving that goal because healthy seabed habitats store carbon. We need policies that stop unsustainable fishing practices and prevent unrestricted development at sea – and we must protect at least 30% of our oceans by 2030. Future generations are counting on it.”

Wild salmon tracking project - Scottish Government

Initiative seeks to revive fortunes of iconic species.

An ambitious project is harnessing the power of technology to finally reveal the secret lives of wild Atlantic salmon – backed by £400,000 from the Scottish Government.

Atlantic salmon start their lives in streams and rivers, before migrating to the high seas to grow and return home to spawn, connecting vast ranges of diverse habitats.

Little is known about the migration routes of wild salmon as they leave our rivers, but they travel large distances to feeding grounds in the North Atlantic and Scottish salmon can be found in areas ranging from the seas off West Greenland to the Norwegian sea.

A number of factors, including climate change, has seen the species in serious decline across recent decades and the West Coast Tracking Project is part of a broad range of measures being used to build the resilience of the iconic species.

The multi-year initiative, sees highly trained biologists, some from west coast fisheries trusts, tagging young salmon with miniature acoustic transmitters, each with its own unique signature, as their migration begins.

Strategically placed receivers record the signal from each tag, allowing the progress of individual fish to be tracked if they pass multiple listening sites.

The information will fill key gaps in knowledge of salmon smolts as they migrate from fresh water through the key area of the coastal zone and will be combined with data such as sea lice distribution and ocean currents.


Solar parks could boost bumble bee numbers in a win-win for nature - Lancaster University

Bumblebee near a solar panel © Hollie Blaydes
© Hollie Blaydes

New research shows that simple changes to how UK solar parks are managed could boost ground nesting bumble bee populations in the parks and surrounding areas, providing an additional benefit on top of renewable energy.

These preliminary results will be presented at Ecology Across Borders on Monday 13 December by Hollie Blaydes, a PhD researcher at Lancaster University.

Using a model that simulated bumble bee foraging in UK solar parks, researchers at Lancaster University investigated different management scenarios that offered varying degrees of resources for bumble bees. Their findings indicated that solar park land managed as meadows - offering the most resources - would support four times as many bumble bees as solar park land managed as turf grass.

They also found that large, elongated and resource-rich solar parks could boost bumble bee density up to 1km outside of the parks themselves, delivering pollinator services to crops in surrounding agricultural land.

Hollie Blaydes said: “Our findings provide the first quantitative evidence that solar parks could be used as a conservation tool to support and boost pollinator populations. If they are managed in a way that provides resources, solar parks could become valuable bumble bee habitat. In the UK, pollinator habitat has been established on some solar parks, but there is currently little understanding of the effectiveness of these interventions. Our findings provide solar park owners and managers with evidence to suggest that providing floral and nesting resources for bumble bees could be effective.”

Boosted bumble bee numbers in solar parks could also provide potential benefits to nearby crops through enhanced pollinator visitation. Farmers who have solar parks on or nearby their land, could choose to plant pollinator-dependent crops close to these pollinator dense areas.

In the UK, solar parks are often located within intensively managed agricultural landscapes, raising the potential of solar parks as refuges for bumble bees.

The area of land used for solar parks in the UK is also growing, increasing the potential to harness this land for additional benefits. Ground-mounted solar parks currently take up 14,000 hectares. For the UK to meet net zero targets, the Climate Change Committee projects that there will need to be an additional 54GW of solar photovoltaic, meaning a land use change of 90,300 hectares for solar parks.


Suburban gardens, parks and allotments key for hedgehogs’ survival in Greater London - Zoological Society London

hedgehog © Christopher Morgan
© Christopher Morgan

Citizen scientists contribute to ZSL-led study on London hedgehogs which reveals the prickly creatures' residential preferences.

Conservation scientists at ZSL (Zoological Society London) have used data collected by the general public in Greater London to map out the best places for hedgehogs to live in the capital.

Due to loss of natural habitat, the west European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), once common across the British Isles, is now vulnerable to extinction in the UK. Cities and towns are especially important for conservationists to consider in any action plans, hedgehogs are found in almost 73% of major cities located within the hedgehog’s range in Europe - a figure illustrated by the number of the small mammals living in England's capital.

The new study, which was published today (Tuesday 14 Dec) in Mammal Review shows that public and private green spaces are key for urban hedgehogs, suggesting that the loss of connected wild spaces replaced with driveways, pavements and roads significantly lessens their chances of survival.

Lead author and PhD student at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, Jessica Turner said: “To successfully protect and restore hedgehog numbers, it is important to understand where and how they use the built-up environment. We have been able to use the large amounts of data generated by citizen scientists to look at where hedgehogs may be found and identify key habitat features for them within the entire city. This also shows the value of using records reported through citizen science, as it would not have been possible without the public’s efforts to report their sightings of hedgehogs and other mammals in London.”

Using the data of 3012 hedgehog occurrence records collected by citizen scientists across 32 boroughs in Greater London, the team created a predictive map of suitable habitats across the capital.

The Welsh National Survey for Otters shows partial decline of otter populations in Wales - Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales, Cardiff University and a host of volunteers have repeated the Welsh National Survey for Otters for the first time since 2010.

Using the same methods as previous surveys to ensure results were comparable, a total of 1073 sites were visited, with signs of otters found at 756 sites, showing a substantive decline in their populations for the first time since the 1970s, from around 90% occupancy in 2010 to 70% in 2015 to 2018.

Reasons for the decline are unclear and further work is planned by NRW and CU to investigate likely reasons for this.

Dr Eleanor Kean, who led the research for the Cardiff University Otter Project, said: “Cardiff University Otter Project (CUOP) surveyed national survey sites across six river catchments and noted a decline in otter signs. Natural Resources Wales collaborated with us to organise surveys of the remaining sites across Wales to complete a sixth Otter Survey of Wales, with the help of volunteer surveyors. Declines were not universal, with the worst affected regions being the Conwy, Loughor, and Teifi catchments. Smaller declines were evident on most other catchments, while only a few, such as the Severn, seemed to have stable populations”.

Liz Halliwell, Team Leader for Terrestrial Ecosystems and Species at NRW said: “Monitoring otter population status is important with respect to conservation of this much-loved mammal. As well as this, as top predator of our freshwaters, the otter can be an important biological indicator of the health of our rivers and wetlands. In Wales as in much of the UK, the otter is a largely nocturnal animal and is rarely observed in the wild, but it is possible to detect its presence by searching for its distinctive droppings – spraints- and footprints. Otter populations across Britain have been gradually recovering from significant declines in the 1970s. The clear message from this report is that we cannot be complacent about the ongoing recovery of the otter in the UK. To understand the reasons for the decline, we are working with otter and freshwater habitat experts to review the situation. We also have an extensive River Restoration Programme in development which will bring benefits to many riparian species including otters.”

The Mammal Society, Environment Agency and Natural England, with support from a number of water companies, will be initiating the sixth national otter survey of England in 2022.

New legislation to crack down on cruel illegal hare coursing - Defra

Government to introduce tougher sentencing and improved police powers to tackle cruel practice of chasing hares with dogs

Plans to strengthen the powers and penalties available to tackle the barbaric practice of hare coursing were set out by the Government today (Tuesday 4 January 2022).

Brown hares are widespread across the UK but numbers are declining. Their population is estimated at less than half a million in England and they are listed as a priority in the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan. An iconic sight in the British countryside, the brown hare is known for its long, black-tipped ears and fast running - it can reach speeds of 45mph – and is most commonly found on arable land and open grassland. They face a range of threats, including poaching and habitat loss.

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

In amendments tabled to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill today, the Government has set out measures to strengthen law enforcement for hare coursing by increasing penalties, introducing new criminal offences and creating new powers for the courts to disqualify convicted offenders from owning or keeping dogs – this includes an order to reimburse the costs incurred when dogs are seized in kennels.

The proposals include:

  • Increasing the maximum penalty for trespassing in pursuit of game under the Game Acts (the Game Act 1831 and the Night Poaching Act 1828) to an unlimited fine and introducing – for the first time – the possibility of up to six months’ imprisonment.
  • Two new criminal offences: firstly, trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; and secondly, being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare both punishable on conviction by an unlimited fine and/or up to six months’ imprisonment.
  • New powers for the courts to order, on conviction, the reimbursement of costs incurred by the police in kennelling dogs seized in connection with a hare coursing-related offence.
  • New powers for the courts to make an order, on conviction, disqualifying an offender from owning or keeping a dog.

The plans were welcomed by both the NFU and RSPCA.


2021 corncrake numbers continue worrying downward trend - RSPB

Corncrake, Crex crex. Oronsay RSPB reserve, Argyll, Scotland (Andy Hay /
Corncrake, Crex crex. Oronsay RSPB reserve, Argyll, Scotland (Andy Hay /

Corncrake numbers in Scotland are continuing to decline the latest RSPB Scotland survey has revealed, adding to concerns about their precarious future here. In 2021 only 850 calling males were recorded across the 16 areas in the country where these elusive birds are found, down from 870 in 2019. Corncrakes are usually surveyed annually but the COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020 meant that it was not possible to complete the count across all areas.

Whilst the decline from the 2019 survey is relatively modest, especially compared to other years where numbers have seen sharp reductions, it continues the overall worrying downward trend since the record high of 1289 calling males in 2014 and highlights how vulnerable these birds are.

Within the survey there are regional differences in how corncrakes are faring. In the Inner Hebrides the population has plummeted by 12.2 percent from 2019 but in the Outer Hebrides numbers are up by 9.9 percent. The reasons for these regional differences are unclear. In order to safeguard the species and try to provide a more certain future for them in Scotland targeted measures are needed.

The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) has been crucial in supporting corncrake friendly farming methods for many years but its future has looked uncertain in recent times. The Scottish Government’s announcement at the end of October, that AECS will continue for the next three years was therefore welcome news.

RSPB Scotland will work with farmers, crofters and Scottish Government to ensure as much corncrake and high nature value friendly management is delivered through AECS whilst it continues. From 2025, the Scottish Government has signalled that it intends to introduce new farming policy and changes to farm payments. RSPB Scotland is calling for payments for nature and climate friendly farming and crofting to be at the heart of this new policy.

Commenting on the results, Jane Shadforth, Project Manager for Corncrake Calling, an RSPB Scotland project to improve these birds fortunes over the next few years, says: “RSPB Scotland would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s survey. The results highlight how vulnerable this species remains with numbers declining by more than 30% since 2014. RSPB Scotland will use these results to help target management for corncrakes in the right places, working with farmers and crofters through Corncrake Calling and to make best use of the Agri-Environment-Climate scheme. The importance of island communities in protecting this magical species cannot be underestimated. The continuation of AECS over the next few years is welcome news to many. As we look ahead though, developing new farming policy and payments that better support farming and crofting communities everywhere to farm in nature positive ways is vital.”

A quiet Christmas? How Britain & Ireland’s breeding birds fared in 2021 - BTO

The latest results from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) report a poor year for many of our birds, largely due to a cooler and wetter spring than average.

Great Tit by Philip Croft
Great Tit by Philip Croft

The Constant Effort Site (CES) and Nest Record Scheme (NRS) findings show that breeding success was well below average pretty much across the board thanks to the late spring and early summer weather, with birds either failing to fledge young or fledglings succumbing to the cold, wet conditions after leaving the nest. Of the 24 songbird species monitored by ringers operating Constant Effort Sites, 18 produced significantly fewer young in 2021; be they migrant warblers, tits, thrushes or finches, the outcome was consistently poor.
Sadly, the weather in 2021 proved less than welcoming, with temperatures well below average throughout spring and heavy rainfall in May, a key stage of the breeding season. “Initial signs were promising,” explained Lee Barber, Demographic Surveys Officer at the BTO, “with many ringers noting good numbers of migrant warblers, such as Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler, returning and healthy populations of resident species, including Wren and Cetti’s Warbler.”
That proved to be the highlight, however. As predicted in a cold spring, nest recorders observed that many species were late to start nesting in 2021. “Those of you with nest boxes in your garden may have noticed that the Blue and Great Tits using them started to lay a few days later this year.” noted Dave Leech, the Head of the Ringing & Nest Recording Schemes, “Delays were even more pronounced for many migrant birds, including my own study species the Reed Warbler, and Pied Flycatcher, which started to breed almost a week later than the typical date. In some cases a late start can be beneficial, helping birds to track the advancing emergence of their insect prey but that was not to be the case in 2021.”
Fieldwork for all BTO volunteers has clearly been much more challenging during the pandemic and, after a difficult summer in 2020, the return to the countryside in 2021 was hugely appreciated. “Taking part in surveys is really a way of life for many of our volunteers,” explains Lee Barber. “Even a single record of a nest from your garden can be hugely valuable but there are plenty of ringers and nest recorders that devote a large part of their spring and summer to monitoring work, finding that it benefits their well-being and mental health as much as it helps the birds they study.”

For the full report, please visit here.

Dead puffins wash up on Scottish shores - UK Centre of Ecology & Hydrology

(image: UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)
(image: UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

More than 100 dead puffins have washed up across the northeast coast of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland over the past three weeks, making it one of the most significant reports of its kind in the UK for this time of year in the past 50 years.

The cases are being recorded by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), which carries out long-term monitoring studies to detect the effects of environmental change on UK seabird populations.

Dr Francis Daunt, seabird ecologist at UKCEH, said: “This is one of the most significant puffin ‘wrecks’ we’ve seen for this time of year since we began studying these fascinating seabirds almost 50 years ago. Many of the people who have found the birds say they are emaciated, which suggests there could be a problem within the marine food chain.”

Some of the birds found washed up in Orkney are adults, so there is a concern that this will have a negative effect on next year’s breeding numbers.

Earlier this year in the autumn, several thousand guillemots and razorbills were found dead along the east coast of Great Britain but it is not yet known if this occurrence is linked.

UKCEH is working with the Marine Scotland directorate of Scottish Government, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Edinburgh University, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Natural England and DEFRA to investigate these earlier seabird deaths. Over 100 of the guillemots and razorbills have been tested for avian flu, with all tests coming back negative. The continued investigation is now focusing on two possible explanations: a significant failure of the marine food supply or toxic poisoning from algal blooms, as well as potentially a combination of both*.

Dr Francis Daunt, continued: “It is worrying to now see puffins also washing up dead and sick. We hope to be able to carry out post mortems on them as well.”

Due to the complex and varied nature of the investigation into these rare events, results are not likely to be available until early next year.

Garden birds that head north for the winter - British Trust for Ornithology

Research, from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), in collaboration with Oxford University and Max Planck Institute, Germany, has uncovered the unusual migration of Blackcaps into UK gardens for the winter months.

It has long been known that birds move south for the winter, indeed, those birds that arrive here for the winter months, such as Redwings and Fieldfares that are escaping the worst of a Scandinavian winter, move south into the UK, while our summer visitors head south for warmer climes anywhere from southern Europe to South Africa.

picture of a female blackcap (small brown bird with russet cap) sitting on bare branch
Female Blackcap (photo by Liz Cutting)

That some Blackcaps do spend the winter in the UK isn’t new information but the fact that they originate from at least seven different countries to the east and south of the UK is. Until recently it was thought that our wintering Blackcaps had their origins in southern Germany. We now know that most birds come here for the winter from France, with other from as far away as Spain and Poland too.

The movement north from Spain is particularly intriguing as southern Spain and the Mediterranean coasts are the main Blackcap wintering locations and much nearer to those north bound birds than the UK. It is thought likely that our increasingly warmer winters and widespread garden bird feeding enable these Blackcaps to survive – access to these resources has provided them with a distinct advantage, enabling them to return to their breeding sites around a week before their southern migrating rivals.

Greg Conway, Lead Scientist on the project at the BTO, said, “Over four winters, a network of dedicated ringers marked over 600 wintering Blackcaps with individual colour ring combinations, generating thousands of sightings from Garden BirdWatchers, and we tracked the full migration of 30 birds with geolocators. The project owes its success to this close partnership between research scientists, BTO ringers, Garden BirdWatchers and the public.”

White-tailed Eagle, once extinct in the UK, visits Cornwall - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

White-tailed Eagle flying high, credit Cat Lake Photography
White-tailed Eagle flying high, credit Cat Lake Photography

One of Britain’s largest and rarest birds, which disappeared from the UK during the early 20th century, has been spotted in Cornwall.

The sighting gives conservationists from Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society hope that the species could breed in Cornwall within the next 20 years.

The White-tailed Eagle was captured in a series of spectacular photographs by amateur photographer Cat Lake on Bodmin Moor. The juvenile is one of six released on the Isle of Wight as part of a reintroduction programme run by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England.

Other former breeding birds like Chough and Cirl Bunting have become re-established in Cornwall, showing the potential for previously-lost species to make a comeback.

Almost half of breeding birds have declined in Cornwall, as revealed in our State of Nature Cornwall 2020 Report released in partnership with Cornwall Council and the University of Exeter.

Ecology and Biodiversity

Dragonflies threatened as wetlands around the world disappear - IUCN Red List

The destruction of wetlands is driving the decline of dragonflies worldwide, according to the first global assessment of these species in today’s update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Their decline is symptomatic of the widespread loss of the marshes, swamps and free-flowing rivers they breed in, mostly driven by the expansion of unsustainable agriculture and urbanisation around the world.

blue damselfly on reed perch looking at camera
Mesamphiagrion gaudimontanum taken at the Santa Ines Páramo Complex, Antioquia, Colombia ©Cornelio Bota

With today’s (Thur 9 Dec) update, the number of species at risk of extinction on the Red List has exceeded 40,000 for the first time. The IUCN Red List now includes 142,577 species of which 40,084 are threatened with extinction.

“By revealing the global loss of dragonflies, today’s Red List update underscores the urgent need to protect the world’s wetlands and the rich tapestry of life they harbour. Globally, these ecosystems are disappearing three times faster than forests,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General. “Marshes and other wetlands may seem unproductive and inhospitable to humans, but in fact they provide us with essential services. They store carbon, give us clean water and food, protect us from floods, as well as offer habitats for one in ten of the world's known species.”

The assessment of the world’s dragonflies and damselflies reveals that 16% out of 6,016 species are at risk of extinction, as their freshwater breeding grounds increasingly deteriorate. In South and Southeast Asia, more than a quarter of all species are threatened, mostly due to the clearing of wetland and rainforest areas to make room for crops such as palm oil. In Central and South America, the major cause of dragonflies’ decline is the clearing of forests for residential and commercial construction. Pesticides, other pollutants and climate change are growing threats to species in every region of the world, and are the greatest threats to dragonflies in North America and Europe.

A big win for nature as heathlands bounce back - Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

It’s a wildlife oasis rarer than the rainforest and home to some of Britain’s most endangered reptile, amphibian and bird species.

Now, five years on from the start of an incredible conservation effort, the future of heathlands in the south of England is looking much brighter.

The Heathlands Reunited project has successfully conserved and enhanced 23,825 hectares – or 18,000 football pitches – of lowland heath. An independent scientific assessment has revealed that the initiative has been “significant” in restoring the ecological condition of the habitat.

The £2m initiative started in 2016 after backing from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is now coming to its conclusion.

The project has seen amazing biodiversity success stories, including the return of the woodlark to key sites, recovery of the endangered field cricket, Dartford Warbler and natterjack toad, and new habitat for the UK’s rarest lizard, the majestic sand lizard.

The project focused on heathland at 41 sites, stretching from Bordon, in Hampshire, to Pulborough in West Sussex. The need was profound because less than one per cent of former heathland remains in the South Downs National Park and what was left was very fragmented, leaving animals and plants vulnerable to extinction in these isolated “island” habitats.

Heathlands are, in fact, ‘man-made’ and only exist because our ancestors used them to dig peat for fuel, harvest heather and graze animals, unwittingly creating a unique mosaic of habitats which many plants and animals now can’t survive without.

The sky’s the limit: Using airborne DNA to monitor insect biodiversity - British Ecological Society

Coriolis µ. The air sampler used to obtain eDNA from insects in the field. It works by sucking in air and swirling it through water, where the particles contained in the air get captured.  Credit: Fabian Roger
Coriolis µ. The air sampler used to obtain eDNA from insects in the field. It works by sucking in air and swirling it through water, where the particles contained in the air get captured.  Credit: Fabian Roger

Scientists at Lund University have discovered for the first time that it is possible to detect insect DNA in the air. Using air from three sites in Sweden, insect DNA from 85 species could be identified. This offers scope for exploring a whole new way to monitor terrestrial biodiversity.

These preliminary results will be presented at Ecology Across Borders (13th-15th December) via an online poster by Dr Fabian Roger, who is currently working at ETH Zürich.

Insects detected included many important species such as bees, moths, flies, beetles, wasps and ants. The study not only picked up evidence of insects, but many vertebrate species too, including birds, mammals and some domestic species.

In many areas, insects are declining at an alarming rate, but we also know very little about the number of species in existence. It is estimated that we have described 1 million out of 5.5 million insect species on Earth. This means it is vital to develop efficient ways to monitor biodiversity.

Fabian Roger said “In the face of the biodiversity crisis, we desperately need better information on the status and distribution of species. Our study is a proof of concept that shows that we can detect DNA from insects and vertebrates from air collected under natural conditions. This opens many exciting possibilities for species monitoring and detection, which could allow us to comprehensively monitor biodiversity at large spatial and temporal scales.”

UN report praises UK efforts on wildlife and forest crime - Defra

The Government has this week published a report by the United Nations which praises the UK’s approach to wildlife and forest crime.

The United Nations this week published a report praising the UK’s approach to wildlife and forest crime. The report also provides key recommendations about how the UK can improve or build on policy-making in this area.

head and shoulders of brown hare in sitting in long grass
Brown hare (pixabay)

The comprehensive analysis, the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit Report: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, puts forward a series of recommendations as to how the UK can better address key aspects of wildlife crime which the government will consider carefully.

As President of the G7, the UK led other countries in recognising wildlife trafficking as a serious crime and secured commitments from members to use the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime’s (ICCWC) Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit to assess their response to wildlife crime. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recommended the UK exports its world-leading expertise to support international efforts to tackle wildlife crime such as from Border Force and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

The report highlighted the UK’s strength in “overarching policing structures and strategies to address wildlife crime” and that these structures could be described as “ international best practice”. It also recognises the UK as being the first G7 country to request the ICCWC Toolkit assessment as “a commendable demonstration of leadership shown by the UK in the wildlife crime arena”.

The report also recommends that the UK undertakes a review of regulations governing the implementation of CITES, particularly the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (COTES) Regulations 2018, and evaluates the scale and value of the legal and illegal wildlife trade in the UK to help support the detection of, and collection of data on, the illegal wildlife trade.

Today’s assessment forms part of our ongoing work to tackle wildlife crime, using the framework of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) toolkit which was originally developed in 2012.

Natural History Museum describes over 550 new species in 2021 - Natural History Museum

Despite international travel to field sites or other museum collections having remained largely off limits this past year, the scientists and researchers at the Natural History Museum have continued their busy work in documenting the planet's life and geology.

Over the last 12 months, this has seen the researchers, curators and scientific associates describe 552 species new to science. The discovered species range across the entire tree of life, from some of the smallest invertebrates swimming in the oceans to ferocious predators that stalked the land millions of years ago.

The biggest and by far most fearsome new species to have been described this year are a pair of giant carnivorous dinosaurs known as spinosaurs. Discovered by PhD student Jeremy Lockwood on the Isle of Wight, the predators have been named the 'riverbank hunter' and 'hell heron' after the swampy environment they would once have lived and hunted in.

But the spinosaurs were just two of six new dinosaurs to have been described by Museum scientists, four of which were from the UK. These have included the truly bizarre Spicomellus afer, the earliest ankylosaur and first to have been found in Africa, Brighstoneus simmondsi, a new iguanodontian with an unusual snout also from the Isle of Wight, Pendraig milnerae, the earliest known carnivorous dinosaur from the UK, and Rhomaleopakhus turpanensis, a chunky sauropod from China.

two side by side images of two five petaled flwoers aginst dark green leaves, one flower is cerise pink the other a pale blush pink.
Impatiens versicolor. One of five new species of jewelweeds, or touch-me-nots, described from eastern Africa. (Credit: Fischer et al., 2021)

There have been a number of other new species from across the board, including five new species of plants from eastern Africa.

Known as jewelweeds or touch-me-nots, they usually produce delicate pink or white flowers, except for a few species which have switched to producing red flowers. This is because rather than being pollinated by butterflies the flowers are instead visited by birds, which find it easier to pick the colour red out from amongst green foliage.

With the world continuing to warm at an unprecedented rate it has never been more important to record what is currently alive and what has been here before, with every single species playing a crucial role in the functioning of our planet.

Another of the biggest science stories this year was when, during lockdown in February, a large chunk of space rock burnt through the atmosphere before coming to a sudden stop on a driveway in the Gloucestershire town of Winchcombe.

Hundreds of people spotted the fireball streaking across the night sky, and within a matter of hours researchers were able to get out and recover over 600 grams of the meteorite that had travelled billions of kilometres and reached over 1,6000C as it burnt through the atmosphere.

And finally, you asked us for something more light hearted in the news - well, here you go!

Our top 21 animal rescues of 2021 - RSPCA

Animals get themselves up to all sorts - and nobody sees that more than our rescue teams.

In 2021, 281,390 incidents were reported to our frontline teams via the emergency rescue hotline, including lots of animals who got themselves into rather a-moo-sing situations.

As we calling on the public to Join the Rescue and help us be there for more animals who need us as we head into 2022, we round-up our top fur-vourite rescues of 2021 (warning, they're a hoot!)

a dishevled badger peering out of the top of a green compost bin
(image: RSPCA)

From a cat wedged under a solar panel to this greedy badger stuck in a compost bin . "The green plastic compost bin would normally have a lid secured on top but this inquisitive and hungry badger had spotted an opportunity for what he thought would be an easy meal and clambered in through the open top," rescuer Louis Horton said. "The compost bin was around 2ft tall and narrower at the top so although the poor little guy could poke his head out of the top, he couldn't squeeze himself up and out. I used some power tools to carefully cut the top of the plastic away and lift him out." The badger went to Wildlife Aid Foundation for a check-up before being released two days later.

One that's well worth a coffee time peruse to lift your spirits as we settle back into our working life routines after the festive break.

Training Directory.

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

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

Search for your next CPD course here.

Recently added online events and learning including calendar of short courses happening in March 2022

Online Events

02/03/2022 Heritage Interpretation Online at Online via Zoom 6 Days

Association For Heritage Interpretation Contact: 01795436560

This virtual course will take place over 6-weeks and will be run online through a series of virtual lectures, ‘at home’ activities, and a participatory discussion forum. Aimed at professionals with responsibility for planning, delivering or managing learning programmes or interpretation across the heritage sector.

30/04/2022 Rewilding the UK - Potential and Obstacles at Online 1 Day

University of Oxford Contact:

Dr Ada Grabowska-Zhang will explore the term ‘rewilding’. Dr Keith Kirby will reflect on whether conservationists in the UK have been able to reinstate the autonomy of ecological processes in the past 20 years. We will also hear from Rebecca Wrigley, CEO of Rewilding Britain. Join online or in Oxford.

Online Learning - Short Courses

20/01/2022 I am NOT a Spider 1 hour

Zoom, London Natural History Society

This talk will introduce you to the Opiliones, the harvestmen. They are some of the most easily seen and readily identified, yet overlooked invertebrates in Britain that are just crying out for you to give them your attention. This richly illustrated lecture will inspire with these amazing creatures.

25/01/2022 Bats and Woodlands 2 hours (10am-12pm)

This workshop will look at different woodland types and how different bat species use woodland features. We will discuss the impacts of forestry operations on local bat populations, different survey methodologies for determining use by bats and how to identify the most appropriate for a range of different situations.

Cost £25

26/01/2022 Bats and Woodlands 2 hours (6pm-8pm)

This workshop will look at different woodland types and how different bat species use woodland features. We will discuss the impacts of forestry operations on local bat populations, different survey methodologies for determining use by bats and how to identify the most appropriate for a range of different situations.

Cost £25

Above two courses with Tragus Training

28/01/2022 Seahorses of the UK: 20 Years of Research 0.5 Day

Online, FSC BioLinks

Join this talk to learn about the two different seahorse species that live in the coastal waters of Britain: the Spiny Seahorse and the Short Snouted Seahorse. The Seahorse Trust has been researching seahorses in the UK for over 20 years.

Free Course

03/02/2022 Bats in Winter 3.5 hours (9.30am - 1pm)

Online, Tragus Training

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

Cost £50

04/02/2022 Freshwater Fish Identification on the Riverbank 0.5 Day

Online, FSC BioLinks

There are roughly 50 fish that spend some of their lives living in freshwater in the British Isles, with a lot of them look very similar. This talk will identify some of the main species and give a few hints and tips on what to look for when faced with a slippery specimen.

Free Course

07/02/2022 Online Woodland Activity Leader Training Theory Course 4 Days

Online, Wild Things 01309 690450

Start your Outdoor Leader career by learning the theory part of our Woodland Activity Leader Training course online, then follow up when you are ready with a short practical 3 day course to complete your qualification.

Cost £200

08/02/2022 Around Britain in 25 Grasses Online 0.5 Day

Online course looking at the key grass, sedge and rush species which define five of the main habitat types found in the UK.

Cost £45

10/02/2022 Winter Tree ID Online 0.5 Day

Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter

Cost £65

Above two courses with The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

17/02/2022 Habitat Talk: Woodlands 1 hour

Zoom, London Natural History Society

This talk is the first in a series by the LNHS Vascular Plants Recorder and eminent botanist Mark Spencer looking at key habitats and describing their features and the plants that characterise them. This initial talk will look at woodlands.

18/02/2022 More Than Just Fish Food: The ecosystem services provided by aquatic insects 0.5 Day

Ecosystem services and benefits provided by freshwater insects are diverse and wide-ranging including decomposition and nutrient cycling, food for a wider range of species including humans, and the inspiration for art, music, and literature. This talk will explore some of these services and benefits with examples from around the world.

Free Course

25/02/2022 The A to Z of Bee-flies 0.5 Day

This webinar will introduce the cast of bee-fly species in the UK, provide the latest news on what they get up to, and let you know how to join in with Bee-fly Watch 2022. As both pollinators and parasitoids of solitary bees and wasps, the bee-flies lead truly remarkable life-cycles.

Free Course

Above two courses with FSC BioLinks

28/02/2022 Around Britain in 30 Bryophytes Online 0.5 Day

Online course looking at the key bryophytes that are commonly found in grassland, heathland and woodland in lowland Britain

Cost £37

03/03/2022 Around Britain in 20 Ferns and their allies Online 0.5 Day

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

Cost £37

Above two courses with The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

04/03/2022 Introduction to QField 1 Day

Online, TCV Scotland 01786 479697

This 1 day introduction course will teach people how to set up QGIS for common types of ecological surveys, including Phase 1 habitat surveys and protected species surveys, and how to use the QField app to carry out surveys in the field.

Cost £35

04/03/2022 Monitoring Endangered Species of Beetle Using Pheromone Lures 0.5 Day

Online, FSC BioLinks

This talk will describe how using chemicals produced by the insects themselves can be used to monitor endangered species of beetle. The use of pheromone lures to detect endangered species is a non-lethal and highly targeted means of monitoring these sometimes very difficult to observe species.

Free Course

07/03/2022 How to survey and assess hedgerows using the Hedgerow Regulations Online 0.5 Day

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

Cost £30

08/03/2022 Aquatic Plant ID Online 0.5 Day

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

Cost £45

15/03/2022 Habitat Indicator Species Online 0.5 Day

An online course giving participants an overview of terrestrial lowland habitats and the key indicator species which define them

Cost £55

Above courses with The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

25/03/2022 British Intertidal Marine Isopods 0.5 Day

Online, FSC BioLinks

In this talk, we will explore their relationship with woodlice, and cover some of the species you can find, how to find them, and how to go about identifying and recording them. The new British Myriapod & Isopod Intertidal Marine Isopod recording scheme is also introduced.

Free Course

28/03/2022 Around Britain in 25 Sedges Online 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

Online course looking at the key sedge species which are commonly encountered in UK habitats.

Cost £37

29/03/2022 Introduction to Bird Song 3 x 2 hour online sessions Days

Online, Avon Wildlife Trust 07421226110

Develop your skills in recognising bird song on this 3 session online course with ecologist Matt Collis. Each session builds on the last, covering a new selection of birds and deepening your understanding of how features such as pitch, rhythm, timbre and repetition can help you distinguish between similar-sounding species

Cost £50

29/03/2022 UK Wildlife & The Law 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

A half-day online course getting participants to grips with UK Wildlife legislation and policy.

Cost £38.5

03/04/2022 Brown Hares: Their biology, ecology, mythology and future 1 hour Days

Zoom, London Natural History Society

Learn how the biology and physiology of Brown Hares superbly adapt them to their way of life. Explore their ecological and habitat requirements and how this fits in with the changing face of the British countryside. Finally, delve into the extensive superstition and mythology which has surrounded this animal.

29/04/2022 Can you use earthworms to indicate healthy soil? 0.5 Day

In this talk, we’ll discuss whether finding earthworms in soil is a good indicator of healthy soil, what factors control the presence of earthworms in soil and how many holes you have to dig to find an earthworm.

Free Course

27/05/2022 Soldierflies and Allies? What are they and how to record them. 0.5 Day

With around 160 species in Britain, these charismatic flies have very specialist lifestyles and habitat niches that make them vulnerable to habitat disturbance and as such, they can serve as excellent habitat quality indicators.

Free Course

Above two courses with FSC BioLinks

09/12/2022 Winter Tree ID Online 1 Day

Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter

Cost £75

Various Around Britain in 25 Grasses - Bespoke Online Course 0.5 Day

Online course looking at the key grass, sedge and rush species which define five of the main habitat types found in the UK.

Cost £55

Above courses with The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539

Short Courses - Face to face / on-site

Administrative and Office Skills

01/03/2022 How to write highly cited papers 1 Day
Online, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster University. Contact: 01491 69 2225
This interactive workshop will boost your confidence and ability to write a great science paper that will be cited again and again. This workshop focusses on getting high citations. The workshop will study the following using group and individual exercises. from £179

04/03/2022 Introduction to QField 1 Day
Online, TCV Scotland. Contact: 01786 479697
This 1 day introduction course will teach people how to set up QGIS for common types of ecological surveys, including Phase 1 habitat surveys and protected species surveys, and how to use the QField app to carry out surveys in the field.

09/03/2022 Starting Your Conservation Group Workshop 0.5 Day
Online, EcoTraining. Contact: 07786 444 816
Join our programmes co-ordinator for an evening workshop on getting your group started. We will cover: Your group's focus, Gaining support, Engaging more people, Formalising your group and Funding. Get tips and support and network with like-minded people.

15/03/2022 Habitat Indicator Species Online 0.5 Day
Online, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539
An online course giving participants an overview of terrestrial lowland habitats and the key indicator species which define them

23/03/2022 Developing and Running a Campaign 4 Days
Online, EcoTraining. Contact: 07786 444 816
Across four weeks, we will guide you through creating your campaign strategy, evaluating and monitoring your outcomes and planning for the future. Delivered via weekly Zoom sessions on Wednesday evenings (approximately 2 hours) with 2-4 hours carrying out the set activity each week.

29/03/2022 UK Wildlife & The Law 0.5 Day
Online, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539 A half-day online course getting participants to grips with UK Wildlife legislation and policy.


Community Engagement and Environmental Education

15/03/2022 Level 1 - Award in Forest School Principles 2 Days at Bradfield Woods nr Bury St Edmunds , This course is aimed at those who are interested in learning more about the Forest School approach to learning and who would like to help out at an existing Forest School.?

16/03/2022 Level 2 - Forest School Assistant 4 Days at Bradfield Woods nr Bury St Edmunds
This course is designed for individuals wishing to assist with the delivery of a forest school programme.

28/03/2022 Level 3 - Forest School leader 8 Days at Bradfield Woods nr Bury St Edmunds
Eight days of training - to cover Forest School programme delivery, learning and development, planning and preparation, practical skills and the woodland environment.

Above courses with Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01473 890089


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

05/03/2022 Outdoor First Aid 2 Days 2 Days at Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow

Suitable for all types of outdoor practitioners. Theoretical training and practical scenarios are used together, and are progressed to being based in remote locations, potentially several hours from help. You will be very active on this course, both inside and outdoors.

05/03/2022 Outdoor First Aid for Forest Schools and Outdoor Woodland Learning 2 Days at Bonaly Outdoor Centre, Edinburgh
This course is specifically required by forestry workers to allow them to work for the Forestry Commission and other similar organisations. Theoretical training and practical scenarios are used together, and are progressed to being based in remote forestry locations.

11/03/2022 First Aid Conference 1 Day at EICA:Ratho, Edinburgh
Practitioners, trainers, and providers can attend lectures, workshops, talks by keynote speakers. An exhibition with a mixture of commercial sales stands and health related voluntary sector organisations is also included, as well as experts in the field being on hand to give advice on a range of topics.

17/03/2022 Outdoor First Aid 2 Days 2 Days at EICA:Ratho, Edinburgh
Suitable for all types of outdoor practitioners. Theoretical training and practical scenarios are used together, and are progressed to being based in remote locations, potentially several hours from help. You will be very active on this course, both inside and outdoors.

19/03/2022 Outdoor First Aid 2 Days 2 Days at EICA:Ratho, Edinburgh
Suitable for all types of outdoor practitioners. Theoretical training and practical scenarios are used together, and are progressed to being based in remote locations, potentially several hours from help. You will be very active on this course, both inside and outdoors.

24/03/2022 Outdoor First Aid 2 Days 2 Days at Bardowie Loch, Glasgow
Suitable for all types of outdoor practitioners. Theoretical training and practical scenarios are used together, and are progressed to being based in remote locations, potentially several hours from help. You will be very active on this course, both inside and outdoors.

Above courses with First Aid Training Cooperative. Contact: 07585723763


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

Online, FSC BioLinks. Contact:
This talk will describe how using chemicals produced by the insects themselves can be used to monitor endangered species of beetle. The use of pheromone lures to detect endangered species is a non-lethal and highly targeted means of monitoring these sometimes very difficult to observe species.

07/03/2022 Introduction to UK amphibians and reptiles 2 Days
Folly Farm, Stowey, Bishop Sutton, BS39 4DW, Avon Wildlife Trust. Contact: 07421226110
Explore the lives of UK amphibians and reptiles and how you can help them thrive on this 2-part course led by ecologist Matt Collis. One of the practical skills you will gain, is how to carry out an amphibian or reptile survey, which can enhance your career and volunteering opportunities.

25/03/2022 British Intertidal Marine Isopods 0.5 Day
Online, FSC BioLinks. Contact:
In this talk, we will explore their relationship with woodlice, and cover some of the species you can find, how to find them, and how to go about identifying and recording them. The new British Myriapod & Isopod Intertidal Marine Isopod recording scheme is also introduced.


Practical Countryside Skills

05/03/2022 Woodland Coppicing 1 Day at Guiting Manor Farm, Guiting Power, GL54 5UX
This is the method of periodically harvesting small areas of woodland, traditionally for a wide array of products. It encourages the re-growth of trees and shrubs. Learning: the skills of coppicing, using tools, a little of the history of woodland coppicing and the potential uses for harvested coppice.

05/03/2022 Hedgelaying 2 Days at Manor Farm, Sopworth, SN14 6PS
You will learn to: clear/prepare the hedge, cut and lay the pleachers, fix stakes, correctly use and maintain hedge laying tools and the benefits of hedgelaying for wildlife and landowners. In the Cotswolds, the most commonly used are the Midlands and Somerset styles, and it is these that we teach.

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

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