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: People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)

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: 11 May 2023

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


14 adverts for paid posts included in this edition at time of publication.
Please note adverts are deleted as they reach the closing date.


Apprenticeship, trainee and interns

One advert included here: Grounds Maintenance Apprentice with the New Forest District Council



Kent Wildlife Trust is looking for people to get involved in their bugs Matter citizen science project from June to August [more]


CJS Updates and other useful information

Spring into summer with job ads at CJS here 

Membership renewal: We have renewed our membership to the Rural Services Partnership [more

Free student and new graduate subscriptions [more]

It's that time of year - we have also renewed our membership of the Climate Coalition [more]


Features and In Depth Articles

For National Hedgelaying Week this week: A Day In The Life Of A Hedgelayer By Derrick Hale
Bugs Matter - the National citizen science survey of flying insect abundance By Dr. Lawrence Ball, Ecological Data Analyst Lead at Kent Wildlife Trust
Food for thought: building a connection with land for future generations By Sarah Nadin, Digital Manager at the Country Trust
Next week is Mental Health Awareness WeekGreen social prescribing in Scotland By NatureScot
ADHD and the working life By Tracey Churcher, General Manager Isle of Purbeck, National Trust
May is National Walking MonthKit Up For National Walking Month This May By Cotswold Outdoor
Freshwater Habitats Trust restores Oxfordshire’s historic wetlands By Lizzie Every, GRCF Community Engagement Officer at Freshwater Habitats Trust
For International School Grounds Month in May: Global voices for learning and play outdoors By Julie Mountain, Director, Play Learning Life CIC for the International School Grounds Alliance
Outdoor Classroom Day is on 18 MayJob Profile of Tanya Eyre an Outreach and Education Officer working for Fylingdales Moor Environmental Stewardship Scheme (FMESS) Company
Starting on 15 May Invasive Species Week 2023: Free resources to help you protect the environment from invasive non-native species from the Non Native Species Secretariat 


In case you missed it, five features worth revisiting


CJS Focus

Adverts now being accepted for CJS Focus on Land & Habitat Management in association with the Landscape Institute, due for publication on 5 June. Click here to advertise

Features from CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with The Conservation Volunteers.

Start Making a Difference in Conservation with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) By: Alex Poole, Marketing Executive More information here or read the article here 

Empowerment and action for nature: The BBOWT Community Network By: By Lily O'Neill, Community Networking Officer More information here or read the article here


News from the month


Training and Events

Calendar of events and short courses occurring in July plus details on additions made to the Directory following the spring update over the past month.

Training Directory Spring update: Twice a year we remind training providers to send us their latest listings for inclusion in the CJS Training Directory, the spring reminder went out last month and there's been a lot of action on the Directory as new courses have been added and updates made. [more]

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.


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

Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles.


See all listings online at:

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

We have a wide range of articles focused on volunteering covering everything from the benefits of volunteering to how
organisations can best set up volunteering programmes.

Browse the list here.


Kent Wildlife Trust is looking for people to get involved in their bugs Matter citizen science project from June to August, read all about it this article: 

Bugs Matter - the National citizen science survey of flying insect abundance By Dr. Lawrence Ball, Ecological Data Analyst Lead at the Trust


Reminder that we published CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with TCV in February Read it here.

CJS announcements, information and other articles of interest.

Rural Services Network membership renewal graphic

Representing and supporting rural England

As a large proportion of CJS readers work and live rurally we thought it would be a good idea to garner support from an organisation that knows all there is to know about rural living and working.

The Rural Services Partnership (RSP) is a long-standing not-for-profit membership company Limited by Guarantee. The RSP is a component of the Rural Services Network (RSN). The RSP works predominately with both the private and third sector service providers in rural England.

Working closely with the RSN’s local authority members, the RSP is the only national champion for rural services in England. The RSP works for the benefit of all rural sectors through a membership organisation which lobbies and advocates on behalf of rural service providers.

So, we’ve now taken out membership for 2023/24 and hope the year will bring rural regeneration leading to rural jobs – and those jobs we’ll be sure to share with you.

Find out more about the organisation at and See all our Endorsements here.



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Free student and new graduate subscriptions

It's always 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 current 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.

What's the benefit of signing up to CJS Weekly?

It's the original newsletter dedicated to countryside and conservation staff. Each edition is 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 giving you a special insight into what's happening in the industry. Additionally as a CJS Weekly subscriber you gain early access to many features, there are three career focused articles included in the edition published today (Friday 5 May) plus the monthly Training Calendar which isn't online for several weeks. If you've started your job search there are more adverts in CJS Weekly than we post on the website, you have access to the jobs we advertise free of charge in the Standard Linage format plus the unique CJS Digest of vacancies which since January has included details of 250 additional positions.
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.

Climate Coalition membership renewal graphic

Together our voices are louder

The climate crisis is worrying, we could just hope for the best or we could join with other organisations and make ourselves heard. So, we have renewed our membership of the Climate Coalition for another year.

The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action against climate change. Along with their sister organisations Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, they are a group of over 130 organisations — including the National Trust, Women's Institute, Oxfam, and RSPB — and 22 million voices strong. They are reaching across the UK to show love for all the things we want to protect from climate change, and to ask politicians to put aside their differences and commit to doing whatever is necessary to protect them.

The Coalition organise the Great Big Green Week every year in June. This is a chance to get involved in UK’S biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.

Find out more about the organisation at and see all our Endorsements here.  

Features and In Depth Articles.

This week is National Hedgerow Week

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week

May is National Walking Month

May is also International School Grounds Month

Outdoor Classroom Day is on 18 May

Invasive Species Week is next week, starting on 15 May

In case you missed it: features worth revisiting.

photo of a red fox running away

In Case You Missed It

Details of features and articles shared for a second time across social media.

Click on the image or article title to read more.

a number of pairs of hands leaning on a log

Towards greater ethnic diversity in the environment sector

By Ellie Ward, Policy Officer

a spade driven in to the muddy soil

World Soil Day - Where Food Begins

By Ann Generlich, Marketing Consultant at the British Society of Soil Science

aerial view down on to a forest

Adapting forest management to the changing climate in Alice Holt Forest

By Dr Gail Atkinson, Scientist: Climate Change Adaptation

CJS Focus.

Logo: CJS Focus

Current Edition: CJS Focus on Land & Habitat Management in association with the Landscape Institute. Read it in full here.

Logo: Landscape Institute - inspiring great places

Next Edition: CJS Focus on Land & Habitat Management in association with Landscape Institute, due for publication 5 June More information about this edition here.

The Focus will contain articles about working in this field, job profiles and anything associated with working in land and habitat management.

Do you have a job to advertise, a training course that will help people get in to this type of work. Perhaps you run a support organisation? Even if you don't have any jobs at the moment you can provide us with a free company profile to let readers know you work in land and habitat management. 

Send us your free adverts by clicking here

Contact Amy on if you have any questions. 

    Features from CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with The Conservation Volunteers promoted this month

    people with gloves on pulling at invasive weeds

    Start Making a Difference in Conservation with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

    Given the current economic and environmental anxiety gripping the UK, we are seeing more and more people and corporations recognise the importance of wildlife and conservation.

    However, despite the surge in popularity, getting qualified and started in the industry is difficult at the best of times. That is where The Conservation Volunteers come in. Find out more here 

    image of the community toolkit web page

    Empowerment and action for nature: The BBOWT Community Network

    Tackling the nature and climate crisis is a daunting job and conservation charities like the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) know they cannot do it alone. Volunteers are the beating green heart of the Trust and supported volunteers are ones that come back. A new Community Network aims to provide a supportive and informative service for individuals and community groups interested in caring for the environment. Find out more here 


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

    Click on the headline to read more.

    Land and Countryside Management

    Justice for the River Lugg - The Wildlife Trusts

    Damaged stretch of river must be restored following successful prosecution by Natural England and Environment Agency writes Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

    On Thursday 20 April a court sentenced a landowner to prison for badly damaging a stretch of the River Lugg. This follows a successful investigation and prosecution by Natural England and the Environment Agency where the landowner pleaded guilty to carrying out work without consents.

    Full restoration of this highly protected river is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Jamie Audsley, chief executive, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, says: "Today’s outcome means justice for the River Lugg. The sentencing reflects the seriousness of the damage caused to a stretch of the river and which is supposed to be protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We were shocked to discover a bulldozer was used to undertake work in the river, disturbing gravels, reprofiling a bank and removing vegetation – the episode caused immense harm to this special and much-loved river. The riverbed and its plants such as water crowfoot are home to crayfish, otters and salmon, lampreys and dragonflies. Whilst it will take a long time to recover, we hope that this stretch of river can once again become a thriving natural habitat for wildlife. We’re all looking forward to seeing it restored to its natural beauty. Landowners have a clear and vital responsibility to look after the rivers in their care. This prosecution must act as a deterrent to prevent anyone harming rivers again." He finished by saying, "We would like to thank teams from Natural England and the Environment Agency for their diligent investigations, which led to this prosecution, and to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust staff and members for their support.”

    For more information, see Landowner sentenced for destruction of River Lugg, Herefordshire - GOV.UK (

    Meet the bog-trotting superstars helping to restore valuable heath and bog habitat in Monmouthshire - Natural Resources Wales

    An exciting new restoration project between Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will help to restore valuable heath and bog habitats in Monmouthshire, south Wales.

    Cleddon Bog, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Beacon Hill in the Wye Valley, provide a valuable habitat for a range of wildlife and rare plants and require careful management to prevent scrub from taking over the land.

    As part of the vital work to restore the habitat at both sites, four Belted Galloway cattle – named Ringo, Penguin, Ginger and Oak are being brought in to graze the land, which will help to restore the rare habitats by opening up the bog and heathland landscapes for wildlife.

    The site at Beacon hill is a nationally important lowland heathland and one that supports a range of increasingly rare and vulnerable wildlife, including heathers, Bilberry, Heath Bedstraw, Eyebright and Lousewort.

    It is also home to the secretive Nightjar that can be seen and heard on the heathland during the spring and summer months. It requires active management to keep the scrubby vegetation such as bracken, bramble and birch from encroaching, leading to the loss of this valuable habitat.

    Areas of the heathland have been cleared over the past few years and introducing grazing to the site is an important part of the positive management of a diverse heathland habitat.

    Grazing with cattle is an important management tool as they selectively graze the heathland plants and browse some of the invading birch scrub, helping to maintain a healthy balance between the habitat types.

    Cleddon Bog is home to a number of unusual plant species, including bog asphodel and round-leaved sundew, a carnivorous, insect eating plant. The bog also supports a number of insects, which make perfect dining for species like bats.

    As a peat bog, it helps to play a vital role in tackling climate change by locking away carbon as well as helping to regulate flood flows for the local community. Over the last 20 years, the water levels at the bog have dropped, and plants that prefer drier conditions, such as purple moor grass and birch have become more dominant, speeding up the drying process.

    East coast wetlands added to UK’s list of potential World Heritage sites - RSPB

    • England’s east coast wetlands, “a habitat with super-powers”, have become one of just five new sites added to the UK’s ‘Tentative List’ of World Heritage sites
    • An independent expert panel convened by government described the application as delivering “a clear and convincing case for the potential to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value”
    • Inclusion on the list will enable a full proposal to be developed alongside local communities and conservation organisations, and submitted to UNESCO for consideration over the coming years.

    Wetlands along the east coast of England, from the Humber to the Thames, have successfully been added to the UK’s Tentative List of World Heritage sites.
    England’s east coast wetlands will be added to the UK’s Tentative List of World Heritage sites along with just five other new sites, government has announced today [10th April 2023]. Inclusion on this exclusive list is the first stage towards joining UNESCO’s (United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage List, which recognises cultural and natural heritage across the globe considered to be of outstanding universal value to humanity. If accepted by UNESCO the east coast wetlands could join a list of some of the world’s most iconic sites, such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Islands and Mount Kilimanjaro.
    The proposed site receiving backing from government brings together a coastal network of wetlands covering 170,000 hectares (two New York cities), from the RSPB's Blacktoft Sands reserve on Humber estuary in the North to RSPB Wallasea Island, Essex and coastal Kent reserves along the River Thames in the South. Well-known sites such as RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk and the National Trust's Blakeney National Nature reserve, Norfolk have both recently been featured in BBC’s Wild Isles series and would also be included.


    Hedgerow study using artificial intelligence to help National Trust bring back its ‘blooming boundaries’ - The National Trust

    The National Trust on Thursday 27 April published research into the changes in hedgerows and density on its land in England and Wales since the start of the 20th Century, which will help inform its ambition for future conservation projects and aid plans to establish 4 million blossoming trees by 2030.

    Results revealed during the conservation charity’s first ever Blossom Week – a week designed to celebrate the beauty of the wide variety of tree and hedgerow blossom – found that across England and Wales in 1900 there were just under 10,000km of boundaries on land now cared for by the National Trust.

    sunsetting over a field, the foreground is filled with a white blossom  covered hawthorn hedge
    Hawthorn in flower at Stockbridge Down, Hampshire (© National Trust Images/John Miller)

    Over the last 100 years, one third (33 per cent), nearly 3,300km, of the boundaries on land now cared for by the National Trust has disappeared, compared to 50 per cent of hedgerow loss across the rest of the country – suggesting that, while still a significant decline, National Trust places have fared better than the wider countryside.

    This loss on land cared for by the conservation charity, is likely due to farmers following government policy, or because the loss occurred prior to acquisition.

    A regional analysis shows that this loss appears to be fairly consistent across all regions and countries. The one key exception appears to be in the East of England where nearly half (48 per cent), over 400km, of boundaries recorded in the 1900 appear to have been lost.

    Explaining how Artificial Intelligence (AI) aided the research, Professor Matthew Heard, Head of Environmental Research and Data said: “Historic mapping provides a rich point-in-time snapshot of our landscapes – but this information is effectively ‘locked up’ in the images meaning that previously the analysis of the data has been a time consuming, manual process. However, the development of AI approaches presents an opportunity to ‘detect’ features of interest with much greater speed and at greater scales than ever before. This research will help us to build an understanding of the role hedges played in past landscapes, looking at national and regional variations and the extent and survival of hedgerows over time as well as the implications of this for landscape character, biodiversity, habitat connectivity, pollinator food sources and access to blossom for people.”

    Giant boost for nature in Yorkshire Dales as charity plans huge native woodland - The Woodland Trust

    One of the boldest projects in the English uplands is about to start with the first trees to go in the ground at Snaizeholme in the Yorkshire Dales.

    Here, near Hawes, the Woodland Trust is aiming to plant 291 hectares of a huge site with saplings which would create one of the largest native woodlands in England.

    But it’s faced with one of its most challenging of projects – an unforgiving landscape which witnesses everything our weather has to throw at it, high hillsides and gushing streams alongside delicate ancient habitats such as limestone pavements and peatlands. It is a project where habitat restoration and nature recovery are as much a part of the plan as planting.

    This first phase of tree planting at Snaizeholme has been funded by the White Rose Forest through its Trees for Climate funding programme. Trees for Climate, part of Defra’s Nature for Climate fund, provides grants for woodland creation within all Community Forest areas in England.

    Al Nash, who is spearheading the project for the Woodland Trust, said this weekend - when the first of 100,000 trees will go into the ground in phase one - will be a significant moment for the Woodland Trust.

    Mr Nash, a passionate Yorkshireman himself, said: “I love the Dales but the one thing it lacks in many areas is an abundance of trees! Here we will be giving nature and biodiversity a big boost and creating a vibrant mosaic of habitats and a rare opportunity to create a sizeable wildlife haven for the north of England. Woodland birds will have a home here for the first time in centuries, and open scrub woodland should benefit endangered species like the black grouse. It's clearly a wonderful opportunity to create something tangible in the Yorkshire Dales for the fight against climate change. The work we do here will restore an entire ecosystem, lock away carbon for years to come, and help improve water quality and mitigate flooding in the area.”


    New Cefas research hub launched to help find solutions to protect worlds’ oceans - Cefas

    A new research hub which aims to help national and international governments find solutions to the some of the major challenges facing our oceans has been launched by Cefas today (22 April).

    The International Centre for Ocean Protection and Use (iOPUS) will bring together Cefas experts and national and international stakeholders to generate evidence and new solutions for the sustainable management and conservation of our seas.

    The global ocean and aquatic ecosystems are both essential for our wellbeing and our economies, and an important home to world’s biodiversity. However human activities, such as coastal development, pollution, fisheries, and climate change are causing increasing pressures on these ecosystems leading to loss of species and the degradation of nature. A key challenge is to develop solutions that balance society’s need to protect the ocean, with the continued use of its natural resources.

    Work under iOPUS covers Cefas’ international and domestic work on freshwater and estuarine, coastal and oceanic ecosystems related to balancing objectives for protection and use of the environment.

    Oxford University joins largest ever ocean survey in a global effort to save marine life - University of Oxford

    Oxford University Museum of Natural History is to play a leading role in the largest programme in history to discover life in our ocean. The endeavour, known as Ocean Census, has set the ambitious target of finding at least 100,000 new marine species in the first decade.

    Scientists believe little more than 10% of the species that live in our seas have been found and that around two million remain undiscovered. But up to now, the process of finding and scientifically describing species (taxonomy) has been slow and methodical, with the average rate of new species discovery little changed since the 1800s. This approach is clearly unable to address the threats posed by the climate and biodiversity crises that could result in the loss of the majority of species on Earth.

    Ocean Census aims to revolutionise this by harnessing the power of technologies such as digital imaging, sequencing, and machine learning, to discover ocean life at speed and at scale. Using cloud-based approaches to share knowledge, the project aims to catalyse global efforts to conserve our oceans, besides significantly advance our understanding of fundamental science. Such areas include oxygen production, carbon cycling, sustainable food production, the evolution of life on Earth, and potentially even discoveries of new medicine and biotechnologies.

    One of the UK’s largest known seagrass beds discovered in St Austell Bay - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

    A report published this April by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England has revealed that St Austell Bay supports the largest known subtidal seagrass bed in Cornwall – and is one of the largest known seagrass beds in the UK.

    seagrass meadows
    Image: Matt Slater

    A report published this April by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England has revealed that St Austell Bay supports the largest known subtidal seagrass bed in Cornwall at 359.1 hectares (887 acres) – and is one of the largest known seagrass beds in the UK. The findings come from the St Austell Bay Blue Carbon Mapping Project, part of the ambitious G7 Legacy Project for Nature Recovery announced by the Prime Minister at the G7 Summit held in Cornwall in 2021.

    This news follows on from a report last summer that substantial seagrass beds had been discovered in Mount’s Bay and the Fal and Helford estuaries.

    The St Austell Bay findings are the result of acoustic surveys carried out in partnership with the Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA). Boats used echosounder techniques to identify ‘blue carbon’ habitats – areas of the sea that act as highly effective carbon stores. The surveys focused on the historically under-recorded habitats of seagrass, which can flower and photosynthesise just like meadows in shallow seas, and beds of the delicate and brittle pink, coral-like algae known as maerl.

    In addition to the acoustic mapping, volunteer dive surveyors from Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Seasearch programme monitored the sites over the course of 22 dives during the project. The team found an incredible total of 122 different species of plants and animals within the seagrass and maerl beds, proving these sites to have real biodiversity importance. They even discovered the rare short snouted seahorse in St Austell Bay, and multiple economically valuable scallops.

    Pollution, Climate Change and Sustainability including Natural Capital

    Kent Wildlife Trust lay out ambition to increase wildlife abundance and climate resilience across 30% of Kent in new 2030 strategy - Kent Wildlife Trust

    The strategy has been launched by Kent’s leading conservation charity outlining ways to make the county more resilient to the climate and nature crises.

    Through increasing land in conservation, managed through wilding and paid for by “Nature-based Solutions” the charity believes it can create a better future Kent’s people and wildlife.

    Kent Wildlife Trust has laid out its ambition to increase wildlife abundance and climate resilience across 30% of the county’s land and sea as they launch the Wilder Kent 2030 strategy.

    The Trust is also calling for residents to champion nature in Kent as a way of safeguarding our own life support systems in a time of rapid change. It wants to work with more people to take more meaningful action for nature.

    herd of bison wandering into view through thin tree trunks, the lead animal has its head up sniffing the air
    The Trust is committed to developing and promoting innovative approaches to allow nature to recover and adapt, like the introduction of wild bison to West Blean and Thornden Woods. (Photo: Evan Owen-Jones)

    According to the State of Nature in Kent report, by 2030 summers in Kent and Medway will be, on average, 3 degrees hotter. In July 2022, temperatures soared past 40 degrees, in this time more human deaths were recorded in the UK, there were more wildfires, and nature struggled to cope. Insect numbers fell further and we lived through a false autumn with leaves turning brown in August as trees fought to survive the hot temperatures.
    As we live through nature and climate crises, more must be done to protect wildlife and help our landscapes to be more resilient to the changes we face as a way of helping society become more resilient. The strategy outlines action that will help Kent to do just that.

    Chief Executive Officer of Kent Wildlife Trust, Evan Bowen-Jones said: “Connecting people with nature and restoring nature at scale is fundamental to fighting the climate and biodiversity crises. It will take a concerted effort from us all to enact the change that now needs to be made. One organisation cannot do this alone. There are many ways people can help. They can join us as a member, volunteer with us, or create a wilder garden at home by not using insecticides and mowing less often. They can vote for politicians who want to act for nature and climate as well as writing to their MPs to support our campaigns. By working together, we can make Kent better placed to cope with the challenges we now face by harnessing the power of the natural world on which we all depend.”

    Research shows the current diversity of tree species has been shaped by climate change over the last 21,000 years - Northumbria University

    A new global survey of 1,000 forest areas shows how past climate change has had a major impact on the diversity and distribution of the tree species we see today. The results can help to predict how ecosystems will react to future changes, helping to shape conservation management around the globe.

    A research team led by Aarhus University in Denmark, in collaboration with researchers from more than 50 research institutes around the world including Northumbria University, has assessed how past climate changes have affected how the composition of tree species in one area differs from the composition of neighbouring areas on six continents.

    The researchers including Dr Matthew Pound, an Associate Professor in Northumbria’s department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, examined the beta diversity – a measure of the variation of species between different habitats or areas.

    They found that the global pattern of beta diversity in terms of tree species, species characteristics and evolutionary history was closely linked to temperature changes since the peak of the last Ice Age, which was about 21,000 years ago. The findings also show that the effects of historical climate variations on the beta diversity were stronger than the effects of current climatic conditions.

    The researchers involved focused their studies on the angiosperm tree species – species which produce seeds that are covered with a protective layer like a seed shell. Angiosperms make up about 80 per cent of all plant species, and some of the most common angiosperm tree species are oak, beech, birch, maple, linden, maple, willow, palm, and eucalyptus.

    Data sets stored in five openly shared databases of tree species and their distributions was combined as part of the study, with information on the evolutionary history or phylogenetic relations between species, and their adaptations or ecomorphological attributes.

    Lead ammunition campaign latest: Study reveals excessive lead levels in raw dog food with pheasant - Wildfowl & Wetland Trust

    A staggering 77% of raw dog food with pheasant has excessive levels of lead – posing significant risks to our pets, the latest study has confirmed.

    It’s the latest in a line of research which outlines the issue of toxic lead shot, who and what it impacts and how prevalent it is in game meat, despite partial regulations and a voluntary ban being in place and alternative types of ammunition readily available.

    WWT has been leading a campaign to end the use of lead ammunition in order to halt environmental contamination and protect wildlife and people. Working with international partners, we helped secure an EU-wide ban on the use of lead in wetlands and are now campaigning for tighter regulations as part of the UK and EU REACH processes which put in place restrictions and guidance for the use of chemicals, including lead.

    “Lead is toxic for people and animals – both wild and domestic – and we must act now to prevent further harm,” explains Dr Julia Newth, WWT’s Ecosystem Health and Social Dimensions Manager. “As a society we’ve wised up to the harms of lead in petrol and paint and taken clear action to get rid of this, but as it stands lead – in the form of lead ammunition - continues to contaminate our countryside, poison our wildlife and pose significant threats to people and now we understand, their pets too. When lead enters the body, be it that of a swan, a dog, a human or foetus, the damage is widespread and prolonged. There are non-toxic alternatives available and we need to transition to these in order to protect the planet, nature and people.”

    Researchers from the University of Cambridge tested samples of raw pheasant dog food and discovered that the majority contained high levels of lead that could put dogs’ health at risk if they eat it frequently.

    Wildfire and drainage accelerate carbon loss from northern peatlands - University of Plymouth

    Dr Scott Davidson is among the authors on research estimating how wildfires and other factors impact peatlands' carbon storage

    sun setting over a collection of connected pools of water in a boggy landscape
    pristine peatland in the Flow Country, Scotland (photo: unsplash)

    The harm caused to the northern hemisphere’s peatlands as a result of wildfires could lead to greater quantities of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, a new study involving the University of Plymouth has warned.

    Peatlands are a globally important carbon stock, storing twice as much carbon as the world’s forests, and until now it has been difficult to measure the impact of wildfire on the northern peatland carbon stock or to predict its future.

    New research published in Nature Climate Change has estimated for the first time how degradation, wildfire combustion and post-fire dynamics influence carbon emissions from non-permafrost peatlands across vast areas of the northern hemisphere.

    When peatlands are drained, typically to convert them to agriculture or forestry, they release carbon back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The study estimated that these emissions are enhanced by as much as 10% when taking wildfire into account.

    Using a modelling approach, the researchers found that while northern peatlands as a whole are still currently sequestering carbon, small increases to the drained area, fire severity or burn area can all switch the system to a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

    There is already evidence from other studies of climate-induced drying in peatlands, which could contribute to increased fire severity and higher emissions during a wildfire. Current predictions also point to a drastic increase in annual area burned over the coming century in the northern hemisphere, as well as an increase in extreme wildfire weather.

    A reduction in the strength of our natural carbon sinks will make it more difficult to remain below critical global climate and emission reduction targets.

    Access the full study – Wilkinson et al: Wildfire and degradation accelerate northern peatland carbon release, published in Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/s41558-023-01657-w.

    Twilight zone at risk from climate change - University of Exeter

    Life in the ocean’s “twilight zone” could decline dramatically due to climate change, new research suggests.

    The twilight zone (200m to 1,000m deep) gets very little light but is home to a wide variety of organisms and billions of tonnes of organic matter.

    The new study warns that climate change could cause a 20-40% reduction in twilight zone life by the end of the century.

    And in a high-emissions future, life in the twilight zone could be severely depleted within 150 years, with no recovery for thousands of years.

    “We still know relatively little about the ocean twilight zone, but using evidence from the past we can understand what may happen in the future,” said Dr Katherine Crichton, from the University of Exeter, and lead author of the study.

    The research team, made up of palaeontologists and ocean modellers, looked at how abundant life was in the twilight zone in past warm climates, using records from preserved microscopic shells in ocean sediments.

    “We looked at two warm periods in the Earth’s past, about 50 million years ago and 15 million years ago,” said Professor Paul Pearson of Cardiff University, who led the research. “We found that the twilight zone was not always a rich habitat full of life. In these warm periods, far fewer organisms lived in the twilight zone, because much less food arrived from surface waters.”

    Animals in the twilight zone mainly feed on particles of organic matter that have sunk down from the ocean surface.

    The study showed that in warmer seas of the past, this organic matter was degraded much faster by bacteria – meaning less food reached the twilight zone.

    Only one in 20 of us can enjoy a starry sky, Star Count results find - CPRE

    Most of us don’t get to see a truly dark sky, our data shows | Joshua Earle / Unsplash
    Most of us don’t get to see a truly dark sky, our data shows | Joshua Earle / Unsplash

    Our 2023 Star Count was one of our biggest yet, with almost 4,000 people taking part! But the results suggest that only 5% of people can enjoy the wonder of a truly dark starry sky.

    Although the beauty of a starry night sky is one of the joys of the countryside, our Star Count 2023 results show that, sadly, most people can’t easily enjoy that sight because of light pollution where they live. Three-quarters of people in the UK have an obscured view of the night sky.

    Severe light pollution

    Star Count is the country’s biggest annual citizen science project of its kind, and took place this year from 17-24 February. Participants reported the number of stars they could see with the naked eye in the Orion constellation.

    But the results show that, for just over half the population, severe light pollution obscures their view of the night sky. The number of people experiencing ‘truly dark skies’ or ‘very severe light pollution’ – the best and worst categories – both increased a little from last year (2%).

    Emma Marrington, CPRE’s landscape enhancement lead, said:

    ‘It’s great that so many people took part in Star Count this year. What is clear is that light pollution continues to affect people’s experience of the night sky. Action is needed now!

    ‘Local councils need a strong approach to manage light pollution. They should ensure local planning and street lighting policies protect dark skies and intrinsically dark landscapes in their areas. We’re also calling for the introduction of minimum standards nationally, to manage external lighting and help cut light pollution.

    ‘This would be a hugely important step towards strengthened planning to ensure we get well-designed lighting that is only used when and where it is needed. This would protect our existing dark skies for the benefit of current and future generations.’

    Tackling the nature and climate crises is the biggest business opportunity this century, say industry leaders - National Trust

    Business leaders including Deborah Meaden and leaders from NatWest, John Lewis Partnership and the Financial Conduct Authority, are joining the UK’s three leading nature charities WWF, RSPB and National Trust to urge all businesses to act now to tackle the nature and climate crises.

    Nature is the foundation of the systems that allow businesses to function, yet the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. Nature loss and climate change are resulting in ecological breakdown at an unprecedented level, creating risks to businesses from supply chain disruption, asset losses, and fundamental shifts in how businesses operate.

    Despite this, only 3% of UK businesses currently monitor nature and biodiversity risks. According to the Treasury’s report on the economics of biodiversity – the Dasgupta Review, between 1992 and 2014, productivity doubled, but the stock of natural capital per person declined by nearly 40%.

    As part of their Save the Wild Isles campaign, the three charities are calling on businesses to put nature at the heart of every boardroom decision as businesses have a major impact on the natural world, both in the UK and globally, through their value chains.

    To help restore nature and protect the long-term future of their businesses, the charities are also calling for large companies to commit to nature-positive net-zero transition plans.

    Nurdles washed up at Kimmeridge Bay - Dorset Wildlife Trust

    With the aftermath of the oil spill in Poole Harbour still being monitored, visitors and staff at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre at Kimmeridge Bay are reporting a large amount of white nurdles, or tiny plastic pellets, which have been washed onto the beach.

    Nurdles are the form of raw plastic that is transported to factories around the world to be moulded into a myriad of plastic products – anything from plastic bottles and bags to window frames and sunglasses. Unfortunately, they are regularly spilled from container ships into the sea or in factories where they are washed down drains. Nurdles are not harmless plastic beads but instead pose a real threat to marine wildlife. Often eaten by fish and birds, they accumulate in their stomachs causing feeding and digestion problems which can be fatal.

    At the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre, nurdles have been a focus of discussion for many years, with a nurdle o’meter clearly demonstrating the number of nurdles washing ashore. However, staff and visitors at the Centre have been shocked by the increasing amount of white nurdles washing up in the last few days.

    Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre Officer, Julie Hatcher said “For many years, we have encouraged visitors to hunt for nurdles and hand pick them from the beach to help protect the important beach and shoreline wildlife. However, the number of nurdles currently on the beach has been truly shocking. We don’t know where they have come from, but many people are collecting handfuls of them and bringing them to us for disposal.”

    Apart from collecting and removing these tiny plastic pellets from beaches, people can take action against this type of pollution by avoiding single-use plastic and excessive packaging and by choosing items made from natural materials wherever possible.

    Animal and Wildlife News

    Lockdowns revealed the British wildlife most at risk of becoming roadkill - British Ecological Society

    Badger roadkill. Credit: Gerald in Leeds. Provided by Sarah Raymond.
    Badger roadkill. Credit: Gerald in Leeds. Provided by Sarah Raymond.

    Researchers find that badgers, foxes and pheasants benefitted the most from reduced traffic during UK lockdowns. The findings are presented in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

    Scientists have used UK-wide lockdowns as a unique opportunity to observe wildlife with the absence of traffic. Their findings shedding light on what characteristics and traits make iconic British species – like badgers and pheasants – more likely to be involved in collisions with vehicles.

    Researchers at The Road Lab, based at Cardiff University, used data of roadkill records to assess the 19 wildlife species most frequently involved in vehicular collisions, to see which exhibited changes in road mortality during two major lockdown periods (March- May 2020 and December 2020 – March 2021).

    By comparing lockdown rates to the same time periods in previous years (2014-2019), they were able to identify the traits that put species at higher risk of becoming roadkill.

    Sarah Raymond, research student at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences who led the research, said: “During lockdowns, we found that there were fewer records of nocturnal mammals, animals that visit urban environments, mammals with greater brain mass and birds with longer flight initiation distances. Species that have several of these traits – such as badgers, foxes and pheasants – are more likely to be hit by cars and have the highest mortality rate in normal traffic levels. These species therefore appear to have benefited from the lockdowns the most, and so suffer most during ‘normal’ times.”

    Saving Britain’s Royal Fish - ZSL

    UK sturgeon action plan

    An armour-plated fish once so popular that King Edward II declared it ‘royal’ is set to make a comeback thanks to an ambitious plan launched by UK conservationists to bring the ancient, Critically Endangered native sturgeon back to UK waters.

    To mark Saturday’s historic Coronation, a team of conservationists led by ZSL have today (3 May 2023) launched the UK Sturgeon Conservation Strategy and Action Plan, a science-based guide developed by experts which meticulously outlines the action required to recover numbers of Atlantic and Critically Endangered European sturgeons in the UK.

    Big UK fish

    Hannah McCormick, ZSL’s Conservation Project Officer for Estuaries and Wetlands, and one of the experts behind the plan, explained: “Growing up to 5m in length, with long whisker-like barbels and diamond-shaped armoured plates along their backs, sturgeons look like they’ve swum straight out of a paleontologist’s textbook. These impressive and ancient animals were once common in UK rivers and along our coastline, so it’s hardly surprising that they were declared “royal fish” by King Edward II back in the 14th Century, meaning all sturgeons landed in the UK have to be offered to the Crown – although nowadays this is just a formality. Fast-forward 700 years, and sturgeons have all but disappeared from our waters, after dam construction in rivers blocking their migration routes and overfishing caused numbers to plummet in the latter half of the 20th century.”
    The team behind the action plan will be working with key stakeholders and river users to take the necessary steps towards sturgeon restoration – such as identifying essential habitats, the restoration of migratory passages and reducing accidental bycatch.
    This UK-wide action plan forms part of a larger call to recover populations of the Critically Endangered royal fish, following successful conservation action in France and Germany helping to save European sturgeons from the brink of extinction.


    Report details red squirrel conservation successes, with key recommendations for the iconic species’ long-term future in Scotland. - Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels

    red squirrel looking straight at the camera, the animal is perched on the top of a small stump
    Red Squirrel (photo by Rebecca Prest on unsplash)

    One year on from it’s five-year Developing Community Action project, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels detail key successes of red squirrel conservation work, and advise on essential actions needed to ensure long-term survival of the species in Scotland.

    The final report of the £2.46 + million funded project, titled Saving an icon: Final report from the Developing Community Action Phase of Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels summarises the methods, achievements, challenges, and crucial lessons learned over the five-year nation-wide endeavour, and outlines recommendations to ensure a legacy of continued successful red squirrel conservation in Scotland into the future.

    The project aimed to find sustainable and affordable ways by which to halt the decline, and enable reestablishment in some areas, of Scotland’s red squirrels – which account for around 75% of the total UK population. Since 2017 grey squirrel control and monitoring efforts have increased dramatically across Scotland with red squirrels remaining and gaining ground in significant areas. The recommendations detailed are founded on the work put in by staff, and on the considerable achievements of local communities, landowners, stakeholders, and the Scottish public to save Scotland’s red squirrels from suffering a similar fate to those of England and Wales.
    Eileen Stuart, NatureScot Deputy Director of Nature and Climate Change, said: “The red squirrel is one of our most iconic species, and it’s heartening to reflect on the progress that has been made through this project to protect and expand populations. It is particularly encouraging to see the number of individuals, communities and landowners who have volunteered their time to make a significant contribution to help protect Scotland’s red squirrels. NatureScot remains committed to ensuring the important work undertaken by Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels continues, and this project has demonstrated that a mix of voluntary and funded action can provide a sustainable long term future for this much-loved species.”

    Sarah Robinson, Director of Conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the lead partner on the project, said “It’s fantastic to see the successes for red squirrels in Scotland due to the exceptional work put in by staff, landowners, and volunteers. It is essential now to recognise that this work needs to continue, and the recommendations detailed in the report are inputted into the delivery plans for the new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to 2045.”

    Saving an Icon: Final Report from the Developing Community Action phase of Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels can be viewed at

    National effort needed to save Scottish wildcat - NatureScot

    Wildcat (felix sylvestris) at the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot
    Wildcat (felix sylvestris) at the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

    Research published today by NatureScot is being used to inform the action needed to secure the long-term future of the critically-endangered wildcat in Scotland.

    To establish a sustainable population of wildcats the research recommends a number of actions, to work alongside releases of wildcats, for population reinforcement. These include reducing the threat of hybridisation with domestic cats and hybrids, improving the habitats wildcats use, and reducing deaths from disease, persecution and road traffic accidents.

    Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the suite of nine technical reports and a summary report presents all of the work completed by Scottish Wildcat Action, a multi-partner project led by NatureScot, which ran from 2015-2020.

    Over the five-year lifespan of the project, Scottish Wildcat Action:

    • Worked with over 140 volunteers to detect, trap, neuter and vaccinate 205 feral domestic and obvious hybrid cats.
    • Collected over one million images in camera-trap surveys of wild-living cats, identifying 356 cats in six priority areas and collected 769 cat records from the public.
    • In addition to exhaustive camera trap surveys in the six priority areas, project partners conducted camera-trap surveys at 268 camera locations in over 30 sites stretching from Torridon to the Trossachs.
    • Ran genetic tests on 529 cat samples, finding that no samples taken from wild-living cats scored highly enough to be considered wildcats.
    • Examined the morphology of 118 dead cats, over half of which were killed on our roads, with none proving to be wildcats.
    • Genetically screened all fertile captive wildcats in the Scottish Wildcat Studbook, managed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, and increased the captive wildcat breeding population by 67% in preparation to establish a conservation breeding programme.
    • Tracked, using GPS collars, 14 wildcat hybrids to identify potential threats to wildcats and learn more about their ecology and behaviour.

    The project was able to show that there were too few wildcats for their populations to be sustainable in the short or long term. In 2019 Scottish Wildcat Action shared its evidence with the IUCN SSC (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission) Cat Specialist Group, who concluded in their own independent review that the wild population was no longer viable without reinforcement or reintroduction.

    Scottish Wildcat Action’s work has been used to inform the design of a next phase of work, Saving Wildcats, led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in collaboration with NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Nordens Ark and Junta de Andalucía, with releases conducted with the support of Cairngorms Connect. Saving Wildcats aims to prevent the extinction of wildcats in Scotland by breeding and releasing them into the wild and is supported by the LIFE programme of the European Union. The team are currently preparing for the first in a series of trial releases of wildcats in the Cairngorms National Park this summer.

    Scotland’s wildcats one step closer to releases in the Cairngorms National Park later this year - RZSS

    A tabby coloured wildcat sitting in a hunched position with wide eyes and ears low. Snow in the background
    RZSS/Saving Wildcats

    The Saving Wildcats conservation partnership project has announced that the wildcats which will be released in the Cairngorms National Park this summer moved into specially designed pre-release enclosures earlier this year.

    Led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), the Saving Wildcats partnership is working to restore Scotland’s critically endangered wildcat population by breeding and releasing them into the Cairngorms Connect project area. All the cats have now been moved into large, natural pre-release enclosures that have been designed to help them prepare for the challenges of life in the wild. These new pre-release enclosures, of which there are 20, were constructed in 2022 as a core element to the project’s dedicated wildcat conservation breeding for release centre based at Highland Wildlife Park.

    David Barclay, Saving Wildcats ex-situ conservation manager, said “It is fantastic to have passed this critical milestone in the project and exciting to take another important step forward in the plans to release wildcats this year. The journey to restore a viable wildcat population in Scotland is just beginning and we are incredibly grateful for the efforts of our team members, partners and supporters whose expertise has been crucial to reach this point.”

    The pre-release enclosures situated in the eight-acre conservation breeding for release centre at Highland Wildlife Park are managed in a way which supports natural development and reduces exposure to humans and disturbance. They are not available for public viewing.

    Mr Barclay continued “The large pre-release enclosures are designed to encourage the cats to exhibit their full repertoire of natural behaviours whilst promoting social interactions and communication between cats. Our expert keeper team also use a selection of tools and techniques to promote natural activity patterns whilst enhancing key skills needed for life in the wild, including hunting, foraging and scent marking. To compliment this, we have an extensive CCTV system which allows us to monitor the behaviour of the cats around the clock from our office, without any activity at the enclosures.”

    Lynx reintroduction discussed in Scottish Parliament for first time - Scotland The Big Picture

    European lynx, adult female with spots on sandy fur and pointed ears walking through woodland
    European lynx (Felis lynx) adult female walking through woodland, Norway ©

    Missing native species could help restore nature and benefit communities, say charities

    The case for reintroducing lynx to Scotland is being discussed in the Scottish Parliament for the first time, with a reception today (Tuesday 25 April) organised by rewilding charities and sponsored by Ariane Burgess MSP.

    The Lynx to Scotland parliamentary event held at Holyrood reflects growing public support for the return of the Eurasian lynx – a native species missing from Scotland since being made extinct through hunting and habitat loss more than 500 years ago.

    MSPs, senior advisors and rural groups are to attend the event, hosted by Lynx to Scotland project partners SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Trees for Life and The Lifescape Project.

    “It’s good news that politicians and policy makers are now seriously discussing the return of lynx, which would have strong public support. Scotland is one of the poorest places on Earth for nature, and if we are serious about tackling the nature and climate emergencies, these conversations really matter,” said Peter Cairns, Executive Director of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.

    The potential for reintroducing lynx was also debated in the Scottish Parliament on 20 April, after a parliamentary motion by the SNP’s Kenneth Gibson MSP received cross-party support.

    The motion noted calls on the Scottish Government to rectify lynx extinction in Scotland by a managed reintroduction, following appropriate assessments. It highlighted the moral and ecological case for the species’ return, and how lynx reintroduction could make Scotland’s natural world richer and stronger.

    Research suggests the Highlands has sufficient habitat to support around 400 wild lynx. Reintroducing the species could help reduce the impacts of deer browsing on woodland, boost biodiversity and restore natural processes, while also providing fresh economic opportunities for local communities, says the Lynx to Scotland project.

    The rewilding charities emphasise that any lynx reintroduction should properly consider all relevant stakeholder interests and legitimate concerns, including through full consultations.

    Scotland has more woodland deer than any other European country. By preying on roe deer – their preferred prey – lynx could reduce browsing pressure on regenerating woodlands, helping to expand and enrich the country’s forests. Lynx could also act as high-profile ambassadors for nature recovery, attracting valuable tourism revenue for rural communities.

    World’s last ‘wild’ horse foal born at Whipsnade Zoo - Whipsnade Zoo

    Przewalski's horses mare and foal, both are dun coloured stocky ponies with a dark brown upright mane, they are standing in a grassy field
    Przewalski's horses Mum Charlotte and baby Luujin 4 (c) Whipsnade Zoo

    Zookeepers are celebrating the birth of an endangered Przewalski's foal at Whipsnade Zoo - the world’s last “truly wild” species of horse.
    The pointy-eared foal was born on 13 April at the conservation zoo, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme for the species, and is just starting to stretch his legs and explore his surroundings.
    Keepers had been monitoring the foal’s pregnant mum, Charlotte, and were delighted when she gave birth to the healthy foal in a secluded area of the 600-acre conservation zoo. Eagle-eyed visitors watching from a distance also glimpsed a sneak peek of the wobbling youngster standing up for the first time.
    Zookeeper Luke Pharoah said: “Our team filmed the youngster’s first tentative steps moments after being born, which gave us all an immense feeling of hope for this Endangered species.”
    Przewalski's horses (Equus przewalskii) were classified as Extinct-in-the-Wild until horses bred at Whipsnade Zoo were successfully reintroduced to Mongolia as part of a collaborative conservation project between Mongolian and UK ZSL scientists to save the species. There are now hundreds of wild Przewalski's horses living in the grasslands and deserts of Mongolia, Ukraine and China, and their population is increasing. As a result of reintroduction projects, the IUCN Red List reclassified the Przewalski's horse as Critically Endangered in 2008, and then again as Endangered in 2011.

    33,627 badgers culled in 2022 - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

    Derbyshire Wildlife Trust urge the government to end the badger cull sooner and move to cattle measures instead.

    Figures published yesterday show that another 33,627 badgers were culled nationally, 1,939 of those here in Derbyshire. 

    Dave Savage at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said, “We understand the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, the badger cull is not the answer.  Badgers are not the primary cause of the spread of bTB in cattle: the primary route of infection is from cattle-to-cattle. Regulations and restrictions on cattle movements as well as the development of cattle vaccine are the best approach for the farming industry and our wildlife.    We welcome recent work being done to accelerate the introduction of an effective cattle vaccine and improved bTB testing in cattle, which offers the best long-term way to reduce bTB in the cattle population.”  

    Vaccinating badgers against bTB has been an important part of a suite of measures helping to tackle the disease. The Badger Vaccination Programme at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust began in 2014 to demonstrate that badger vaccination was possible. The Trust continues to work closely with the Government to help train vaccinators across the country.  

    Confirmation of the 2022 figures means that since the cull began over 210,000 badgers have been culled, up to half the estimated population. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust yet again call on the government to end the cull, accelerate the roll out of a cattle vaccine and implement livestock measures urgently.  

    Yorkshire Wildlife Park celebrates the surprise arrival of rare Giant Otter triplets - BIAZA

    Image: Yorkshire Wildlife Park
    Image: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

    Yorkshire Wildlife Park is celebrating the surprise arrival of rare Giant Otter triplets. The litter is the second to proud parents, Alexandra and Orimar, in the space of under 18 months and is part of the award-winning park’s ongoing conservation programme aimed at the protection of this endangered species.
    The new arrivals were born on Monday 27th March and are being closely monitored by the expert animal team.
    It means YWP, which welcomed triplets only in February 2022, is now the home to nine Giant Otters, believed to be the most in a single zoo or wildlife park in Europe.
    Aquatics Team Leader Kelsie Wood said “We are overjoyed at welcoming a second litter of Giant Otters in such a short time. Giant otters don’t always breed easily and every birth is a significant and valuable one for the breeding programme. Mum Alexandra is very relaxed this time - you can see she is an experienced mother. She will keep a careful eye on the pups as they start exploring. At the moment, they are mainly staying indoors. Meanwhile, Bonita, the eldest sibling, is taking charge of the last litter of triplets born in February last year so that Alex can concentrate on the new cubs. It is a real family effort! We can’t wait to see them all grow up together."

    She added: "This second litter, which is the third time Alex has given birth, is testament to our commitment to the conservation of endangered species, and we believe these pups will inspire our visitors to learn more about these incredible animals."

    Hailing primarily from the Amazon basin in South America, Giant Otters were listed as endangered in 1999. Years of poaching, deforestation and gold mining has rapidly decreased the population of this species, with an estimated number of only 5,000 in the wild. They are poached for their waterproof fur and meat.

    YWP and the WildLife Foundation charity, which is based at the park, protect giant otters in the wild by supporting conservation projects with the Instituto Araguaia in the Amazon.


    Will Norfolk osprey make East Anglian wildlife history? - Norfolk Wildlife Trust

    ventral view of an osprey in flight showign teh white underbelly and brown tips to the flight feathers, bird is in a clear pale blue sky
    Osprey at Ranworth by Lynne Warner

    We have confirmed regular sightings of a male osprey at our Ranworth Broad nature reserve, leading to hopes that it may become the first osprey to breed in East Anglia in over 250 years.

    Visitors to our Ranworth Broad reserve have been able to easily spot the osprey as he is often found sitting on a newly created platform within view of the visitor centre.

    Ospreys are migratory birds, present in the UK in summer and currently nest in parts of Scotland, Cumbria, the East Midlands and Wales. It is not unusual, on migration, to see a travelling osprey over any large body of water, with the Norfolk Broads often playing host to several en route to Scotland.

    Individuals often stay longer at Ranworth, even spending the best part of the summer at the site. In 2022 a pair was present for most of the summer, so during the following winter, having taken advice, our wonderful staff and volunteers constructed a roosting platform in the trees alongside the broad. This spring the male has returned and along with displaying and calling, he has begun showing interest in the strategically placed artificial nest site.

    Adam Pimble, our Nature Conservation Operations Manager, explains the rising excitement felt by our staff and visitors alike: "Whilst osprey often drop in on Ranworth as they move through on migration during the spring, this male bird is certainly showing signs that he would be happy to stay if a mate arrives. If he stays and luck brings his mate back too, this could be the first breeding pair of osprey in the Broads for nearly 250 years. We would usually expect a female to arrive around four weeks after the male, so the next few weeks are going to be nail biting waiting to see if she arrives."

    “Lifeline” thrown to the UK’s Turtle Doves as another year of no hunting along their migration route is declared - RSPB

    A temporary moratorium on shooting Turtle Doves along their migration route across Spain, France and Portugal during 2023, as recommended by the European Commission, will save nearly a million Turtle Doves.

    One of the UK’s fastest-declining wild bird species, the Turtle Dove, has been thrown a “lifeline” by the European Commission, who have recommended that none will be hunted in south-west Europe in 2023 for the third year running.

    This globally threatened migratory bird has suffered steep declines in the UK, and in neighbouring countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, since the 1970s, primarily due to changes to farming practices but with the situation made worse by unsustainable hunting in south–west Europe.

    All UK-breeding Turtle Doves spend the winter in West Africa, migrating via south-west Europe in both autumn and spring. When here in the UK, Turtle Doves breed in key areas of southern and eastern England, with the first few returning birds spotted in the UK last week.

    Hunting of the birds has taken place for many years in France, Spain and Portugal, and prior to 2018, around one million Turtle Doves were being hunted each autumn across these three countries alone. Meanwhile, agricultural changes here at home have caused a loss of suitable habitat for the birds that make it to the UK to raise the next generation, leaving just 2,100 breeding territories remaining in the UK according to a 2021 study.

    As Dr Guy Anderson, Migrants Recovery Programme Manager for RSPB describes: “By introducing this hunting moratorium for the third year running in south–west Europe, Turtle Doves that migrate across this region and breed the whole way across western Europe – including the UK - have been thrown a vital lifeline at a time where their declines are a real cause for concern for conservation organisations across the continent. While hunting has exacerbated the problems caused for these birds by agricultural changes, the UK has an important role to play in ensuring that plenty of good quality habitat is available for them on their return. This moratorium brings an ideal window of opportunity to really ramp up our efforts. To save these beloved birds, we have to take a two-pronged approach to tackle both problems at the same time”

    Black eyes in seabirds indicates bird flu survival - RSPB

    • Scientists have discovered evidence that Northern Gannets can recover from bird flu and that unusual black iris coloration is linked to a previous HPAIV infection
    • The study also assessed the impact of HPAI on adult gannet survival at the largest gannet colony in the world - the Bass Rock, UK
    • The team found that at Bass Rock, adult survival between 2021 and 2022 was 42% lower than the average over the previous 10 years.
    Gannet exhibiting black iris (c) Jude Lane
    Gannet exhibiting black iris (c) Jude Lane

    A new study has discovered evidence that Northern Gannets can recover from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1, with black irises, an indicator of a previous infection.

    Scientists from multiple organisations investigated outbreak timings at colonies across their North Atlantic range. At their largest colony, Bass Rock, UK, a detailed study was conducted to estimate the impact of the virus on colony size, breeding success, adult survival, and whether Gannets were potentially able to recover from an infection.

    Black irises – instead of the usual pale blue – were first seen in Gannets breeding on the Bass Rock in June 2022 with colour varying from completely black to mottled. The team took blood samples from 18 apparently healthy adult Gannets with both normal and black irises, which were tested for bird flu antibodies by APHA to determine whether the birds had been previously infected. Eight tested positive, of which seven had black irises.

    Dr Jude Lane, RSPB Conservation Scientist and lead author of the study: “This has been a fascinating development and the discovery may prove a useful non-invasive diagnostic tool. The next steps are to understand its efficacy, if it applies to any other species and whether there are any detrimental impacts to the birds’ vision. Ophthalmology exams will also be needed to determine what is causing the black colouration.”

    Major increase in eagle nests where gamekeepers work - The Scottish Gamekeepers Association

    A new survey has shown a 57% increase in eagle nests in only 7 years in Scotland on land managed by professional gamekeepers.

    The national study, following on from similar surveys in 2013 and 2015, was conducted by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, which has 5300 members in Scotland.

    A white fluffy golden eagle chick standing in an open nest
    A golden eagle chick (photo: SGA)

    Officials asked members for locational details of active eagle nests on the ground they manage, with 35 new nests mapped from the previous survey carried out in 2015.

    Reintroduced sea eagles featured for the first time, with 5 new territories mapped while there were 11 new golden eagle nests within the Cairngorms National Park boundary and 10 in the Monadhliath Mountains; the area showing the biggest geographic rise since 2015.

    From the 2015 survey, 2 of the 58 territories were no longer used by eagles but the 35 new nests amounted to a significant surge from 58 to 91 nests between 2015 and 2022.

    The actual increase is likely to be greater, with large parts of the west coast and Sutherland not enjoying the same survey coverage as areas of central and eastern Scotland.

    Similarly, south Scotland was not mapped although officials from The South of Scotland Golden Eagle project stated recently that 19 of the 23 eaglets translocated to bolster populations in the region had come from Scottish game estates.

    Remarkably, in the Cairngorms National Park there are now 37 active eagle nests on land managed by gamekeepers for grouse, pheasants, deer or other game species.

    Bird flu outbreak spreads across West African migratory route - Natural History Museum

    The bird flu pandemic has reached West Africa, after the virus was detected in Senegal and its neighbouring country, The Gambia.

    Thousands of birds have already been found dead, raising concerns for the tens of millions of birds that pass through these African countries every year on the East Atlantic Flyway migratory route.

    An avian influenza outbreak has been detected in the West African nations of Senegal and The Gambia.

    Caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu, conservationists working in the area are now worried that without more funding to contain the virus it will spread further amongst the millions of birds that move through the region as they migrate between southern Africa and northern Europe.

    Already, reports from Senegal suggest that at least 1,552 dead wild birds have been found, while in The Gambia at least 500 dead seabirds have been recorded at Tanji Bird Reserve. The birds found dead have reportedly included great white pelicans, great cormorants, grey-headed gulls, royal terns and the West African crested tern.

    In addition to this, hundreds of cases of bird flu have been found in poultry, which has led to the culling of tens of thousands of chickens.

    Teams of conservationists in Senegal and The Gambia have been trying to tackle the outbreak in a bid to contain its spread. Their efforts have included collecting as many dead wild birds as possible and burying them. But there is a fear that because the wetlands and coastal marshes where the infected birds have been found are on migratory routes, it might lead to further outbreaks in Europe.

    The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results 2023: House Sparrow tops the charts for 20th year running but bird declines since the survey began are “startling” - RSPB

    male house sparrow, a small brown bird with a grey cap and cheeks, and and chestnut nape, perching on thr edge of seed filled open saucer
    Male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

    House Sparrows are celebrating their 20th year as the number one bird spotted in UK gardens, but bird declines since the survey began are “startling” with 22 million House Sparrows alone lost from UK skies since 1966 Despite their “startling” long-term declines, this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch has revealed that House Sparrows have held on to the top spot for an incredible 20 years running. Meanwhile, long term trends in the number of Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches recorded in gardens over the past decade alone also highlight the fragility of our natural world.

    The RSPB’s Chief Executive, Beccy Speight said: “With so many people sending in their sightings over the weekend from across the UK, Big Garden Birdwatch really helps paint a picture of how our garden birds are faring.

    While we celebrate the 20 year stint of the House Sparrow at number one, the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the startling declines of some of our once common birds. They no longer have the abundance across the UK that they used to have.  We are in a nature and climate emergency and we’ve lost 38 million birds from our skies in the last 50 years.”

    Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in Song Thrush numbers, which are down 80% compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979.  This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979 but by 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded 44 years ago. The Song Thrush scraped in at number 20 in the rankings this year, seen in just 9% of gardens.

    Hanuman plover makes a comeback as a species after 86 years - Natural History Museum

    The Hanuman plover has been reinstated almost a century after being relegated to a subspecies.

    male Hanuman plover, a small mainly dark brown specked brid with a pale fawn breast, the bird in osn grass and sand
    Hanuman Plover male - credit Avian Sciences & Conservation (ASC)

    Named after a Hindu god, it is hoped that resurrecting the species will focus conservation attention on at-risk habitats.

    A species of shorebird has finally come out of the shadow of its close relative.

    In the 1930s, the Hanuman plover, Charadrius seebohmi, was merged into the Kentish plover as both species were considered to be the same. The advent of DNA sequencing has now allowed scientists to confirm subtle differences between the groups that are enough to split them apart once again.

    The researchers hope that by resurrecting the species, which lives in Sri Lanka and southern India, conservation funding will be used to help protect the area's threatened wetlands. These habitats are highly biodiverse and provide important overwintering sites for migrating birds.

    Dr Alex Bond, who co-authored the study and is Principal Curator and Curator in Charge of Birds at the Museum, says, 'While we don't know if the Hanuman plover is threatened at the moment, it lives in an area which has one of the highest human population densities on the planet. Having a name attached to these birds means it is easier for policymakers and politicians to notice these plovers and take any steps needed to help them.'

    2023 GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count results highlight the conservation work done by thousands of land managers - Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

    GWCT Big Farmalnd Bird Count infographic
    (image: Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)

    The results are in for the 2023 GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the tenth year of the event has revealed more than ever before about the conservation work undertaken by participants.

    Unlike last year’s count which took place amidst a series of storms, the count period from 3rd to 19th February saw plenty of dry settled weather, which enabled over 1,700 farmers and land managers to get their binoculars out and take a vital snapshot of the health of our cherished farmland birds.

    “The fact that the count is still going strong after 10 years highlights the passion and commitment that British farmers have for the birds on their farms and their keenness to understand how the birds – whether Red-Listed or not – are faring,” said GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count organiser, Dr Roger Draycott.

    A total of 149 species were recorded across more than 1.5 million acres (607,000 hectares) in all four countries of the UK. Records came in from far and wide – from white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Benbecula, to white storks in Cambridge and cirl buntings in Devon.

    The birds that were spotted most often were blackbirds, woodpigeons and robins, seen on seven out of every ten counts. Birds seen on less than one in 100 counts included species that are elusive like jack snipe and bittern, localised such as red grouse, or rare and declining like willow tit.

    Boomin’ brilliant: UK’s loudest bird has bumper year - RSPB

    Bitterns have had another great breeding season in the UK with 228 booming males counted in 2022, according to new survey results from the RSPB and Natural England.

    • Bitterns are bouncing back again with a fantastic 228 booming males counted during their last breeding season.
    • They have also bred successfully for the first time at RSPB Saltholme Nature Reserve in Teesside – their most northernly breeding record.
    • Bitterns, the UK’s loudest bird, became extinct in the UK in the 1870s due to persecution and draining of their wetland habitat for agriculture.
    Eurasian bittern Botaurus stellaris, adult moving through reedbed, Lincolnshire, June. Ben Andrew (
    Eurasian bittern Botaurus stellaris, adult moving through reedbed, Lincolnshire, June. Ben Andrew (

    Bitterns have had another great breeding season in the UK with 228 booming males counted in 2022, according to new survey results from the RSPB and Natural England.

    Bitterns are dependent on reedbed habitats as they move through them at the water's edge, seeking out fish, insects, and amphibians to eat. They are the loudest bird in the UK - the males make a remarkable far-carrying booming sound in spring which can be heard three miles away and is used to establish territories and attract female mates through the season. Bitterns are well-camouflaged so the most reliable way to count them in the breeding season is to listen for this song.

    This secretive member of the heron family became extinct in the UK in the 1870s due to over-hunting for food and draining of their wetland homes for agriculture.

    The species returned to Norfolk in 1900 but dropped again to just 11 booming males by 1997, leaving them on the edge of a second national extinction. A research programme by the RSPB investigated the needs of the birds. A key part of bringing Bittern numbers back up was recreating, managing and protecting their wetland habitats.

    Simon Wotton, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said: “Many wetlands were drained in the 19th and 20th centuries to make space for agriculture, leaving the Bittern fewer and fewer places to breed. One of the aims of the Bittern work since 1990 was to create and restore suitable wetlands away from the coast – to create safe sites that wouldn’t be affected by the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels. Rewetting these spaces also helps prevent flooding and fights the climate crisis – wetlands are incredible carbon sponges, with coastal wetlands locking in more carbon that forests. A win-win for the nature and climate crises”

    Significant Scottish report on avian flu released - NatureScot

    A group pf barnacle geese grazing
    Barnacle geese ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

    A major report into avian flu in wild birds in Scotland, published today by NatureScot, concludes that long-term conservation measures will be the most effective tool against this devastating virus.

    The study, by a sub-group of NatureScot’s Scientific Advisory Committee, analyses the unprecedented avian flu outbreak among wild birds since 2021, providing advice to support the work of Scotland's Avian Flu Task Force.

    The report assesses that avian flu will likely continue to be an issue among wild birds into the 2023 nesting season and beyond. It finds that the most effective solutions will likely be long-term conservation measures for birds which are particularly susceptible, accompanied by enhanced disease surveillance, demographic monitoring, and continued research.

    The report also looks at the effectiveness and benefits of short-term measures and provides a picture of how avian flu has affected Scotland's wild birds so far. It finds that once avian flu is present in a wild bird population, it is very difficult to control or reduce it. Measures such as carcass removal or reducing human activity across sites, for example, whether for recreation or monitoring are unlikely to significantly reduce the impact of an outbreak on wild birds.

    The number of wild birds affected by avian flu in Scotland are difficult to estimate as many dead birds are not found or reported. But, an example of one of the worst hit species is Svalbard barnacle goose population, where the virus was first detected in late October 2021 in the Solway Firth. By the end of the winter, estimates suggest that 13,200 birds - around one third of the migrating population – had been killed by the virus.

    Read the full report - 'Avian Influenza Report on the H5N1 Outbreak in Wild Birds 2020-2023'.


    The State of the UK’s Butterflies - Butterfly Conservation

    Comma (Owen Beaumont)
    Comma (Owen Beaumont)

    Every five years or so, since the start of the century, Butterfly Conservation and its partners have produced an up-to-date assessment of the changing fortunes of the UK’s butterfly species. The latest such assessment, The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2022, was published in February and contains long-term trends derived from countrywide citizen science schemes involving tens of thousands of participants.

    UK butterflies are one of the most comprehensively monitored insect taxa in the world, with spatially extensive data on species distribution and population abundance dating back to the 1970s. These data, collated through the Butterflies for the New Millennium recording scheme and UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), enabled the estimation of long-term trends (from the 1970s to 2019) in both distribution (occupancy) and abundance for almost all species at the UK level and for many species separately in each of the four UK countries.

    In terms of abundance at UKBMS monitored sites, slightly more species have statistically significant long-term declines in the UK than have increased: 33% of species have decreased significantly and 26% increased significantly. For distribution change, nearly four times as many species have decreased as have increased (52% show a significant decrease versus 14% with a significant increase). A combined assessment shows that almost twice as many species (61% versus 32%) have decreased significantly in one or both measures in the UK since the 1970s as have increased significantly in one or both.

    The new report also contains multi-species indicators, which provide a different way to summarise the long-term trends of UK butterflies. The all-species abundance indicator shows little overall change meaning that, on average, UK butterflies have fairly stable abundance trends. However, an indicator containing just the habitat specialist species, those that can only maintain breeding populations in semi-natural habitats, shows a 27% abundance decrease. The all-species distribution indicator shows that, on average, UK butterflies have lost 42% of their distribution since the 1970s and habitat specialists have fared even worse (68% decrease).

    Major milestone for conservation of the rare pond mud snail - Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)

    brown conical shelled snails on folliose moss
    Pond mud snails (image: RZSS)

    After a mammoth five-year search, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)’s conservation breeding programme to boost numbers of the rare pond mud snail has reached a major milestone. Five of the tiny snails were found last month during routine monitoring by the RZSS conservation and keeping teams within the Pentland Hills, southwest of Edinburgh, Scotland.

    The discovery comes after the wildlife conservation charity conducted a release of more than 80 pond mud snails – a fingernail-sized freshwater snail which lives in ponds, marshes and ditches – at the Red Moss reserve site in the Pentlands in 2018.

    Formerly a widespread presence in Britain, pond mud snails are now limited to only a handful of sites across Scotland, England and Wales. The species is typically found in very clean water and survives on a diet of algae and decaying plants and their decline across Britain over the years is a result of habitat loss and pollution.

    Dr Helen Taylor, Conservation Programme Manager at RZSS, said, “It was so exciting to finally find these wee guys at the release site in Red Moss – it is a hugely encouraging sign that pond mud snails from our original release in 2018 have survived. Although we have looked for signs of their survival over the years, we have not previously found any and could not be sure whether the release had been successful or not… until now! This finding also highlights the importance of RZSS’s long-term commitment to the reintroduction projects that we do – it can take years (literally) to establish whether a reintroduction effort is working and that’s why it’s so key that we establish long-term post-release monitoring programs such as these.”

    Female butterflies breed despite male shortage - University of Exeter

    two monarch butterflies mating, the butterflies are orange with black scalloped margins to their wings
    Image: A male and female African monarch mating

    Female monarch butterflies have no trouble finding a mate – even when a parasite kills most of the males, new research shows.

    Some females carry a parasite called Spiroplasma that kills all their male offspring, meaning highly infected populations have very few males.

    But the new study – by the universities of Exeter, Rwanda and Edinburgh, and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund – found females mated about 1.5 times on average, regardless of how many males were around.

    The male proportion dropped below 10% in some cases, but it appears the remaining hard-working males managed to breed with most of the available females.

    10-20% of females remained unmated, only slightly higher than the expected average in a population with plenty of males (5-10%).

    “It was an inspiring and powerful experience working along with an international team of experts and advancing our knowledge of monarchs, which will shape my future career path towards research-based conservation,” said first author Vincent Rutagarama, a student at the University of Rwanda.

    Professor Richard ffrench-Constant, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said: “It seems that monarch butterflies are very good at finding each other and mating. The proportion of males in butterfly populations fluctuates through the year, but we found consistent evidence of female breeding success all year round.”

    Study reveals how pollinators cope with plant toxins - University of Exeter

    Pollinators such as honeybees produce special enzymes that detoxify defence chemicals produced by plants, new research shows.

    Many plants produce alkaloids as protection against herbivores, and these toxins are also found in their nectar and pollen.

    The new study, by the University of Exeter and Bayer AG, examined the genes of several species in a group called Hymenoptera – insects including bees, wasps, ants and sawflies that share a common ancestor about 280 million years ago.

    Remarkably, all the species tested produce the same group of enzymes (the CYP336 family of cytochrome P450 enzymes) to tackle alkaloid toxins.

    “These species differ greatly, but one thing they share is this ability to detoxify alkaloids,” said Dr Angie Hayward, from Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall. “We were fascinated to discover this family of genes has been preserved across almost 300 million years of evolution by a whole order of insects with very diverse lifestyles. Although some of these species have very little contact with certain key alkaloids, such as nicotine, they appear to have retained the ability to metabolise them, almost as an aspect of their genetic heritage, rather like the case of the human tailbone or appendix.”

    The researchers examined the genomes of key hymenopteran species, creating an “evolutionary tree” for the family.

    They also extracted the enzymes produced by these species and placed them in a cell-line to see how they would react with alkaloids – and found they do indeed detoxify them.

    “Understanding how insects react to specific toxins is vital – it should inform how we produce any new chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides,” said Dr Bartek Troczka, also from the University of Exeter. “To avoid environmental damage, we need very specific compounds that do very specific things. Our paper feeds into the wider attempt to understand how chemicals are broken down by insects and to what extent the genes responsible persist across insect groups.”

    Recreation and Visitor Management

    Huge nature access gap must be bridged to meet Government's 15-minute nature promise - Wildlife & Countryside Link

    New report reveals that in more than 1 in 10 neighbourhoods 90%-100% of the population have no access to nature within 15 minutes’ walk.

    Even within the most nature access-rich areas, only 11 out of more than 300 local authorities have 90% or more of households within 15 minutes-walk of nature.

    Both rural and urban communities fall in the bottom-ten for nature access, with transport barriers a particular issue for nature access in deprived rural communities

    The most deprived communities are more than twice as likely to live in areas with a low amount of natural space per person.
    A new report, ‘Mapping access to nature in England’ released today (27 April) outlines the huge scale of the challenge for the Westminster Government in meeting its recent promise for every household to be within 15 minutes’ walk of nature. Environment experts are setting four key challenges to the Government to help ensure its landmark commitment to equal nature access is delivered.
    Campaigners are in particular urging a vital change to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. They are asking Government to agree to an amendment to the upcoming law that will require local planning authorities to prioritise addressing health inequalities, with improving access to nature as an essential part of local plans. Ninety different environment, health, and equality organisations back the ‘Nature For Everyone’ campaign and are encouraging members of the public to join over 36,000 other people in petitioning the Government to amend the Bill:
    Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “Access to nature isn’t just an environmental issue, it’s a social justice issue. These results show that the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities are most likely to be left cut off from nature. The Government has made a major commitment to deliver local nature access for everyone. But with a third of the population currently missing out, environmental equity will not be easy to achieve. Everyone should have the right to a healthy environment, backed up by legal rights of access and requirements on public bodies to deliver it. Dedicated funding will be needed, from improving the quality of urban parks, to opening up new access routes in the countryside.”

    Rural Regeneration

    Rural communities up and down the country set to benefit from funding to support rural business and create jobs - Defra

    £110 million funding for communities allocated under the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

    Communities across rural England are set to benefit from an extra £110 million in local authority funding to support rural business and community groups, it has been announced today (7 April).

    Eligible local authorities in England will receive the funding, which they can invest in initiatives such as farm diversification, projects to boost rural tourism, and community infrastructure projects including electric vehicle charging stations. The funding will also help people start up local businesses to supercharge growth and create employment opportunities for rural areas.

    The confirmed allocations are spread right across the country, including over £5 million for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, £3m for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, over £3 million for North of Tyne, over £2.5 million for West Yorkshire, £2.5 million for Shropshire and almost £1 million for Cheshire East.

    The Rural England Prosperity Fund is a rural top-up to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment to support levelling up across the UK. It marks a change from previous bureaucratic and fragmented EU funds, allowing England to take back control of its own growth investment and giving local leaders a greater say in where funding is best spent.

    Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Driving investment in rural areas is a vital part of our vision for levelling up the country. The new Rural Prosperity Fund replaces the bureaucratic EU funding system - allowing us to work closely with local leaders to direct funding where it is most needed to close the rural productivity gap, create job opportunities and protect the English countryside. This confirmed spending will allow local authorities to deliver on their plans to level up businesses and communities in rural areas from today, in line with their residents’ priorities.”

    Ecology and Biodiversity

    First locations for The Wildlife Trusts’ Atlantic rainforest recovery programme announced - The Wildlife Trusts

    Pine marten (c) Mark Hamblin, 2020Vision
    Pine marten (c) Mark Hamblin, 2020Vision

    The Isle of Man and North Wales are the first places where The Wildlife Trusts will begin restoring and expanding rainforests across the British Isles, following a donation of £38 million from Aviva.

    British rainforests have been largely destroyed over hundreds of years and now cover less than 1% of Britain. The restoration of this precious habitat is part of a wider programme of nature-based projects funded by Aviva to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to help nature recover.

    Local communities will be closely involved in rainforest projects and will benefit from increased access to nature, volunteering, educational and employment opportunities. Rainforest recovery will also provide cleaner air and water and reduced risk from flooding.

    The ambitious programme will see temperate rainforests restored and expanded in areas where they used to grow along the damper, western climes of the British Isles. The first two sites are Creg y Cowin in the Isle of Man and Bryn Ifan in North Wales.

    Creg y Cowin, Isle of Man – Manx Wildlife Trust

    Over 70 acres at Creg y Cowin will be planted with native tree species, with around 20 acres allowed to regenerate naturally. Non-planted areas of lowland heath, fen-meadow, waxcap grassland and ponds will provide further habitat for wildlife. In time, conservation grazing with sheep and cattle, will enhance this special place. Manx Wildlife Trust anticipates the return of oakwood dwellers such as wood warbler, pied flycatcher and redstart, as well as raptors, owls and woodland invertebrates. The rainforest will increase water purity for the West Baldwin Reservoir, help with flood prevention, and contribute to a nature recovery network in the Isle of Man. Abandoned agricultural dwellings, known as Manx tholtans, will be protected for their cultural and historical significance.

    Mysterious underwater acoustic world of British ponds revealed in new study - University of Bristol

    two magnified images of the heads of a water beetle and a water boatman showing their antennas, eyes and mouth pieces
    Freshwater life (Dr Jack Greenhalgh)

    The previously hidden and diverse underwater acoustic world in British ponds has been revealed by a team of researchers at the University of Bristol.

    Ponds are magnets for life and a lot of that life is very noisy. Water beetles, bugs, fish, frogs, and even aquatic plants all produce sound creating a diverse underwater orchestra that scientists are only just starting to understand.

    Acoustic monitoring has been shown to effectively survey birds and monkeys in rainforests, and marine mammals in the oceans. However, freshwater environments have remained largely unexplored despite their diverse soundscapes.

    “Ponds are packed full of bizarre and mysterious sounds made by scratching aquatic insects, booming fish, and popping plants. It’s like an underwater disco!” explained lead author Dr Jack Greenhalgh from Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences.

    To better understand these mysterious soundscapes, the team collected 840 hours of underwater sound recordings from five ponds in the southwest of England using an underwater microphone (a hydrophone).

    And in findings published in the journal Freshwater Biology, analysis of the audio files revealed clear daily acoustic activity cycles in each pond.

    Typically, a nocturnal chorus is made by aquatic insects that compete to attract mates by producing strange scratching sounds as they rub their genitals against their abdomens. During the daytime, however, aquatic plants dominate the underwater orchestra with rhythmic whining and ticking sounds produced as tiny oxygen bubbles are released by plants respiring in the hot sun.

    Prof. Gareth Jones said: “Recording animal sounds has provided great advances for monitoring and surveying terrestrial animals remotely. Given the rich diversity of underwater sounds that is only now being revealed, the potential for assessing the health of freshwater ecosystems is great, especially with low-cost monitoring devices now becoming available.”

    Kent Wildlife Trust launches appeal to safeguard ancient Canterbury woodland in the hope of restoring the pine marten to Kent - Kent Wildlife Trust

    path through short grass in an open canopied woodland,
    (image: Kent Wildlife Trust)

    An appeal has been launched by Kent Wildlife Trust to protect an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Canterbury.

    Covert Wood is a 26-hectare area of ancient woodland in the Elham Valley and has recently been put on the market for £475,000.

    With over £100,000 already received towards the appeal, a further £362,500 is sought to secure this precious nature-rich habitat within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    The site comprises a striking broadleaf woodland, quintessential of East Kent, alongside oak, beech, hornbeam and sweet chestnut. Visitors to the site will also find bluebells, wood anemones, bee and purple orchid and other key ancient woodland indicator species.

    Because of this extremely special amalgamation of British woodland species, Covert Wood is classed as being of high conservation value.

    Covert Wood offers a significant opportunity to connect up our fragmented woodland habitats, vital for species such as woodpeckers, nightingales and pine marten which require healthy woodland that they can move between unimpeded.

    This year, the Trust are conducting social and ecological feasibility studies to determine whether the habitat in the South East is suitable for pine martens. Covert Wood sits within a wider forest complex, a short distance from Blean Woods, making it a suitable site to explore the return of the pine marten.

    Make yours a dandelion spring! - The Wildlife Trusts

    Alison Steadman backs campaign to grow longer lawns

    Spring has sprung and the abundance of dandelions has prompted The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to renew their call for longer lawns. The new campaign, Wild About Lawns, encourages gardeners to champion dandelions and other wildflowers by letting lawns grow longer.

    There are an 239 dandelion microspecies recorded in Britain & Ireland and 58 of those are endemic which means that they are only found in the British Isles. Dandelions are central to garden ecosystems, supporting more than fifty different species of insects including bees, moths, flies and wasps. Some of those insects are pollinators and are eaten by birds, so they all play a vital role in the food chains that wildlife relies on.

    Every dandelion 'flower' is made up of lots of little individual florets, each with its own supply of nectar and pollen. After the flowers have bloomed, fluffy seedheads known as ‘dandelion clocks’ form and the seeds are dispersed by the wind. Dandelion seeds also provide food for birds such as sparrows and goldfinches. Beyond lawns, these resilient perennials have been spotted across the UK growing in walls, sand dunes, cliff faces, verges, drain covers, at the foot of traffic lights and even on windowsills.

    Alison Steadman, actress and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts, is backing Wild About Lawns. She says: “I absolutely love relaxing in my garden listening to birdsong. Longer lawns offer birds the perfect foraging spots especially when there are plenty of wildflowers in amongst the grass. One of my favourite animals is the hedgehog and what better way to make them feel welcome than a luscious patch of grass and wildflowers to hunt for worms and beetles? I do hope you'll join me in freeing your lawn and letting golden dandelions flourish this year for a splash of colour!”

    Exciting new Buglife project, “Pollinators Along the Tweed”, gets underway - Buglife

    Image Credit: Peebles Golf Club – Bee Bank Building © Neil MacIntyre
    Image Credit: Peebles Golf Club – Bee Bank Building © Neil MacIntyre

    “Pollinators Along the Tweed”, a new Buglife Scotland partnership project restoring 40 hectares of wildflower-rich habitat along the River Tweed, is set to create a buzz for local pollinators and communities.

    Working with Scottish Borders Council, Borders Forest Trust and other landowners in Scotland and north Northumberland, “Pollinators Along the Tweed” sets to create, enhance and restore 40 hectares of wildflower-rich habitat. Working across 50 sites in towns and villages along the Tweed, as well as the wider countryside, this project will help restore habitat connectivity for pollinating insects, enabling them to move across the landscape and adapt to a changing environment.

    “Pollinators Along the Tweed”, part of the Destination Tweed source-to-sea river revitalisation project, is being made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, AEB Charitable Trust, Craignish Trust, Fallago Environment Fund, J & JR Wilson Trust, Milkywire, NatureScot, Northumbrian Water Group and ScottishPower Foundation.

    Charlotte Rankin, Conservation Officer at Buglife Scotland, commented: “We are delighted to have received significant funding which enables us to expand Buglife’s pollinator work into the Scottish Borders and north Northumberland. Pollinators Along the Tweed is a really exciting opportunity to work together, source to sea, to increase and reconnect flower-rich habitat for pollinators, and provide opportunities for everyone to discover, learn about and protect the Tweed’s pollinators. By reconnecting a network of wildflower-rich habitat in the Tweed Valley, together we can help boost and protect local pollinator populations.”

    Environmental Education, Volunteering & Employment

    Green apprenticeships celebrated in honour of the Coronation - Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

    Six green apprenticeships are to be marked with the Coronation emblem in recognition of their sustainability credentials

    Six green apprenticeships have been hand-picked by industry experts to mark the Coronation in recognition of their sustainability credentials, the Department for Education has announced today (4 May 2023).

    In honour of His Majesty The King’s Coronation, the apprenticeships have been selected for their contribution to creating a low carbon economy by ensuring the country’s workforce is equipped with the skills needed to support the transition to net zero.

    The official Coronation emblem will be used by employers and Government to promote the six apprenticeships, which include Low Carbon Heating Technician, Sustainability Business Specialist and Countryside Worker. The apprenticeships are the gold-standard for green skills training, encouraging more people to take up the opportunity to gain the skills to build an exciting career in the green industry while meeting the skills needs of employers and boosting economic growth, one of the Prime Minister’s 5 priorities.

    Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “As we work towards our net zero goals, it has never been more important to prioritise green skills and protect our natural environment. In recognition of the critical role education and skills play in responding to climate change, these green apprenticeships have been selected in honour of His Majesty The King’s Coronation. These gold-standard, sustainable apprenticeships offer people the chance to embark on exciting new careers in industries from forestry to construction, and contribute to creating a more sustainable economy.”

    A good use of technology leading to future careers: Rivercraft 2: the game engaging young people on flood risk - Environment Agency

    Rivercraft 2 will help to educate children and young people about the risks of flooding - and inspire them to careers where they can make a difference

    Rivercraft 2, a suite of games launched today (25 April), will help to educate children and young people about the risks of flooding – and inspire young people to careers where people can make a difference.

    Produced by a partnership of the Environment Agency, Microsoft and developers BlockBuilders to engage young people on flood risk reduction, climate change and biodiversity, the games provide an innovative and exciting geography resource for students and teachers.

    The launch of Rivercraft 2, available on the Minecraft Education Edition, follows the success of the original game, rolled out last April and based on the £54.7 million flood risk management scheme in Preston and South Ribble. The in-game Preston world represented the first use of artificial intelligence to map a region and convert it into an interactive Minecraft map.

    Rivercraft 2 is a continuation of this project, now based in generic urban and rural worlds rather than a specific location, making it applicable to all. The suite comprises the following three games:

    • Game 1 – Nature-based Solutions, where the player has to use natural methods to reduce flood risk, including by restoring rivers, building ponds and helping beavers to build their dam;
    • Game 2 – Farming, Irrigation and Drought, where the player has to find the right balance of water use, leafy crops and cover crops for a successful harvest and to ensure wildlife survives during a drought;
    • Game 3 – Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and Water Efficiency in the home, where the player has to construct sustainable urban drainage features to reduce surface water flooding and complete tasks around a typical home to reduce water use.

    New scheme to inspire schools to help the nation’s bumblebees - Bumblebee Conservation Trust

    The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has launched a new scheme for schools. ‘Bumblebee friendly Schools’ introduces students, staff and the wider school community to the wonderful world of bumblebees.

    The scheme encourages positive actions that will make schools a better place for bumblebees and other wild pollinators.

    Bumblebees’ have had a tough time in the UK, and their decline is a big problem as they are key pollinators of wildflowers and many of the fruit and vegetables we eat, making them essential for both biodiversity and our food security.

    Andy Benson, Senior Education Officer at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust said “In the last century, changes to the way we manage our land have led to a huge decline in bumblebee numbers, with two species of bumblebee becoming extinct in the UK. The good news is that small actions and changes to our local environments, including in and around our schools, can create a genuine conservation impact for bumblebees, helping them to survive—and thrive!”

    On 20 April we celebrated Volunteer Recognition Day: Volunteers help count 43,000 flowers - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

    Nature lovers urged to catch dazzling spring spectacle while it lasts.

    Volunteers helped carry out the annual count of Oxfordshire’s county flower on the banks of the River Thames in Oxford.

    The team of professional and amateur ecologists from BBOWT tallied up a whopping 43,349 snake’s-head fritillaries at the Trust's Iffley Meadows nature reserve on Tuesday (April 18).

    This compares to just 500 flowers on site when BBOWT started managing the rare floodplain meadow habitat off Donnington Bridge Road in 1983.

    he plants will only keep flowering for a few more days, and the Trust urged locals to get down to the nature reserve and enjoy the rare spectacle.

    BBOWT Ecologist Colin Williams, who was in charge of the count, said: “We are really happy with this figure – it shows that we’ve got a very healthy population of fritillaries at the site, which is also a great indicator that the habitat is doing well overall thanks to our decades of careful management. We'll continue managing this reserve as traditional hay meadow so that not only the fritillaries but all the other important plants and animals here will continue to flourish. These flowers will stay in bloom for another week or so, and we would absolutely urge people to come down and see them: they only grow in a few fields at the reserve, and they’re not directly on the banks of the river so you have to do a bit of hunting to find them but it’s worth the effort. Finally, a huge thank you to the volunteers who helped us at this year’s count - we couldn’t do what we do without the support of passionate nature lovers like you.”

    Newcastle United Foundation partnership supporting young people into employment - Urban Green Newcastle

    (Newcastle United Foundation)
    (Newcastle United Foundation)

    Young people in Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland are gaining valuable work experience and training in the city’s parks and allotments thanks to our new partnership with Newcastle United Foundation and Prince’s Trust.
    Part of the Prince’s Trust Team programme, which is delivered by Newcastle United Foundation, young people aged 16-25 who are not in full-time employment, education or training are now able to take part in a two week work experience placement with Urban Green Newcastle as part of the 12 week employability scheme.
    Working with our team of rangers, young people are able to learn new skills in horticulture, planting and growing, and park maintenance, whilst also improving their communications, team working, and health and safety skills.
    21 year old Kieran Poole from Cowgate, Newcastle, is one of the first young people to benefit from the new partnership having spent two weeks working with our ranger team in Hodgkin Park, City Stadium, Walker Park, St Lawrence Park and Heaton Park.

    Kieran supported us with a wide range of tasks, including park patrols, footpath edging, and winter tree works.
    Emma Armstrong-Smith, Ranger Team Leader at Urban Green Newcastle, said: “Providing opportunities for young people to develop new skills and go on to enjoy rewarding and fulfilling careers has been an important part of our charity’s work since we were founded in 2019. Experiencing the world of work is so important in building young people’s confidence, and it’s been great to see Kieran find his passion. In a very short space of time he’s really excelled, and we’ve loved having him as part of the team. His experience of working with Urban Green Newcastle might just set him on a path to a career working in nature and biodiversity.”

    £1million to create new jobs in natural heritage – applications open soon - National Lottery Heritage Fund

    Ben, a New to Nature trainee at The Ecology Centre in Kinghorn, in Scotland. Image by Neil Hanna.
    Ben, a New to Nature trainee at The Ecology Centre in Kinghorn, in Scotland. Image by Neil Hanna.

    This support builds on £2m already invested in paid work placements to help people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds kickstart their career in the environment sector.

    To mark The King’s coronation next month, we’ve boosted our our New to Nature initiative with an additional £1m of funding.

    The scheme – developed to mark The Queen’s platinum jubilee last year – has already got 10 young people into 12-month fixed-term roles in nature and landscape organisations across the UK. Nearly 60 more will start new placements next week (17 April).

    This latest investment will create another 25 roles – bringing the total to 95.

    Changing lives and diversifying workforces

    Research shows that less than 7% of environment sector professionals are from diverse ethnic communities. The impact of the pandemic on young people’s employment prospects has further widened existing skills gaps and shortages in the UK.

    New to Nature is providing high quality and potentially life-changing experiences for marginalised people struggling to get jobs. It’s also supporting the natural heritage sector to be more inclusive and diverse.

    The trainees we’ve funded are working in organisations including WWF-UK, the Zoological Society of London, The Woodland Trust, Bat Conservation Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the National Trust. Their responsibilities range from desk-based roles in communications and social media to outdoor conservation roles.

    Get your thinking caps on, who will you nominate?

    The National Park Protector Awards are back! - Campaign for National Parks

    logo: National Park Protector Awards

    We’re heading back to Westminster to celebrate those who go above and beyond for our protected landscapes in England and Wales, and this year is going to be bigger than ever.

    National Park Protectors are individuals and groups who go above and beyond in and for National Parks. From large-scale projects that help nature recover to grass-roots groups improving community access to National Parks and volunteers helping people to visit responsibly. Tens of thousands of National Park Protectors work day-in, day-out on this never-ending task. The annual National Park Protector Awards, run for decades by Campaign for National Parks, is the chance to recognise and reward these efforts.

    Nominations open 10 May 2023, more information coming soon.

    And finally news of CJ Snail - the first charitable cause supported by CJS (more on CJ here)

    ‘Extinct’ snails return to the wild - Zoological Society of London

    Partula snails prepare to leave London Zoo
    Partula snails prepare to leave London Zoo

    Zookeepers have returned more than 5,000 Extinct-in-the-Wild and Critically Endangered tropical snails bred at conservation zoos across the world to their French Polynesian island homes - almost 30 years after they were wiped out by a human-introduced invasive species.

    Thousands of Partula snails reared at London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and St Louis Zoo, were carefully flown over 15,000km to the islands of Moorea and Tahiti earlier this month, for the largest reintroduction in history.

    ZSL’s Curator of Invertebrates, Paul Pearce-Kelly, who coordinates the collaborative Partula conservation programme, said: “Despite their small size these snails are of great cultural, ecological and scientific importance – they're the Darwin’s finches of the snail world, having been researched for more than a century due to their isolated habitat providing the perfect conditions to study evolution. This collaborative conservation initiative is, without a doubt, helping to bring these species back from the brink of extinction and shows the conservation power of zoos to reverse biodiversity loss. With nature across the world increasingly under threat, these little snails represent hope for the world’s wildlife.”

    This year’s conservation efforts saw eight species and sub-species reintroduced, which are classified as Extinct-in-the-wild, Critically Endangered or Vulnerable. Before making the two -day journey to the islands, the nocturnal snails, which measure 1-2cm in length, were individually marked with a dot of red UV reflective paint, meaning they will glow under UV torchlight to - help conservationists monitor the populations at night when they’re most active.

    Partula snails - also known as Polynesian tree snails - eat decaying plant tissue and fungi, so play an important role in maintaining forest health. Returning them back to the wild enables us to start restoring the ecological balance in these islands.

    Training Directory.

    A person in an orange jacket wearing protective gloves using a chainsaw to cut through a tree. Header reads: Cutting through to the heart of the matter and find the right training course

    Training Directory Spring update:

    Twice a year we remind training providers to send us their latest listings for inclusion in the CJS Training Directory, the spring reminder went out last month and there's been a lot of action on the Directory as new courses have been added and updates made. Katie, our Training Directory Co-ordinator, estimates there are around 500 short courses currently listed including nearly 100 added since the middle of March when we sent the reminder and new entries are arriving every week. The long courses section which includes courses such as undergraduate degrees, masters qualifications and similar was updated in February and there are currently approximately 150 different qualifications on there and an additional 70+ distance learning courses covering all levels and offering a vast range of qualifications. You'll also find details of 50 professional events and webinars listed including many of the annual conferences. And if you still don't find what you're searching for there's a comprehensive list of Training Centres and Providers for you to browse through and contact with your requirements.

    Start here to find the right course for you:

    If you'd like to see your training provision listed on the Directory you can find information here: as it's CJS basic listings (50 words) are free. Or email Katie on with your courses or for more information

    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 July 2023.


    16/05/2023 Rewilding for All: Generation Restoration Workshop at Zoom - online 1 Day

    & another thing Contact:

    Rewilding is a new term that’s taking root in our vocabulary. What does it mean? What can you do to rewild yourself and your local wild spaces? Find out about current initiatives, ways you can get involved to rewild yourself, the land and others and find a new community.

    18/05/2023 The National Honey Monitoring Scheme: A Peek Behind The Scenes at Zoom 0.5 Day

    Biological Recording Company Contact:

    entoLIVE webinar. The National Honey Monitoring Scheme monitors the health of the UK countryside, by working with beekeepers to determine the forage patterns of honey bees and to measure their exposure to agricultural pesticides whilst foraging. Take a peek behind-the-scenes from sample collection through lab processing, to sequencing.

    01/06/2023 The Bugs Matter Citizen Science Survey: Where Every Journey Counts at Zoom 0.5 Day

    Biological Recording Company Contact:

    entoLIVE webinar. The annual Bugs Matter survey is a national citizen science survey that aims to quantify trends in flying insect abundance by recording bug slatter on vehicles. Learn how the data is collected and analyzed and what the results can tell us about insect population trends.

    17/07/2023 Invertebrate Sentience: Do Invert Experiences Deserve Welfare Protection? at Zoom 1 Day

    Biological Recording Company Contact:

    To be sentient is to have positive or negative experiences, such as pain, pleasure, warmth, comfort, hunger, anxiety or joy. Humans are sentient, but are we alone? Which other animals are sentient? Dr Jonathan Birch played a key role in amending the new legislation to include octopuses, crabs and lobsters.

    19/07/2023 Local Wildlife Sites Virtual Symposium at Zoom 1 Day

    Biological Recording Company Contact:

    The Local Wildlife Sites Virtual Symposium will enable conservationists to share their experiences and case studies for tackling some of the issues that the environmental sector faces when it comes to managing Local Wildlife Sites. Book your ticket now and join this exciting webinar!

    20/07/2023 Rarities in Arachnology: Finding and Recording Rare Spiders in Britain at Zoom 1 Day

    Biological Recording Company Contact:

    It's easy to find and record common spiders in Britain. However, finding rare ones is obviously much harder. Richard Gallon, the Spider Recording Scheme Organiser for the BAS, will take you on a virtual mission to locate interesting species, highlighting tips and methods which may apply to other invertebrates too.

    Short Courses

    Administrative and Office Skills

    03/07/2023 What is QGIS? (Online) Day
    Online, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    This introductory online QGIS course will introduce GIS and how it works, as well as an introduction to QGIS as an open software option. This is a 2-week course with live webinars.

    04/07/2023 MapInfo Foundation Training - 4 sessions 3 Days
    Virtual Training,
    Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

    10/07/2023 QGIS Intermediate Training - 2 sessions 2 Days
    Virtual Training,
    Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

    Above courses with Idox formerly exeGesIS. Contact: 03330146855

    10/07/2023 Discovering iRecord (Online) Day
    Online, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    This course will introduce learners to biological recording, grid references, data flow and verification. It will give those new to iRecord (or those existing users that struggle with the platform) an introduction to the features of the platform and instil them with confidence when using iRecord to submit biological records.

    10/07/2023 Freshwater Phytoplankton Identification 4 Days
    Wallingford, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Contact: 01491 69 2225
    Over 5 days - 4 days learning from Monday lunchtime to Friday lunchtime. By the end of this four-day interactive course, you will have experience with various methods for sampling and analysing freshwater algae, and have acquired practice and knowledge about microscopic identification.

    12/07/2023 Developing Nature Writing (Online) Day
    Online, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    During this beginner course, you will build on your skills within nature writing and learn some practices and techniques, allowing you to develop as a writer, as you take inspiration from nature, art, and philosophy to hone your craft. This is a 4-week course with live webinars.

    17/07/2023 QGIS Foundation Training - 4 sessions 3 Days
    Virtual Training,
    Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

    18/07/2023 ArcGIS Intermediate Training - 4 sessions 3 Days
    Virtual Training,
    Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

    Above courses with Idox formerly exeGesIS. Contact: 03330146855

    18/07/2023 Best Practice Stakeholder Participation 3 Days

    Wye, Kent, Dialogue Matters. Contact: 01233 813875

    Dialogue Matters share over 20-years worth of experience and bring you up to speed on the cutting-edge methods and techniques for delivering best practice stakeholder participation in an environmental context.

    Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

    01/07/2023 Introduction to Dragonflies and Damselflies 1 Day at Bishops Wood, Crossway Green, Stourport-on-Severn
    This beginner course presents a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of dragonflies and damselflies! You will be introduced to their fascinating life cycles before observing the different life stages in action out in the field.

    03/07/2023 Bee Conservation (Online)
    This beginner course will introduce you to the threats bees are facing, and how conservationists and citizen scientists are taking action to reduce their decline. You can work through this course content and assignments at your own pace at a time that suits you.

    Above courses with Field Studies Council. Contact:

    07/07/2023 Magnificent Moths 1 Day at Nower Wood / Leatherhead
    Learn how to identify a collection of moths by viewing them up-close and enjoy a presentation about them.

    14/07/2023 Dragonflies & Damselflies 1 Day at Nutfield Marsh
    Learn to identify dragonflies and damselflies in their native habitat.

    Above two courses with Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523

    14/07/2023 Identifying Insects using Specimens and Microscopes 4 Days at Preston Montford, Montford Bridge, Shrewsbury
    This course on identifying insects using specimens and microscopes focuses on how to find and sample insects, how to prepare and curate specimens for identification purposes, and how to approach identification of your chosen species group.

    14/07/2023 An Introduction to Butterflies and Moths 3 Days at Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Colchester
    This beginner course will provide you with the skills to identify British butterflies and moths correctly. Develop an understanding of their ecology and monitoring techniques.

    15/07/2023 Beetle Field ID: Conspicuous Ladybirds 1 Day at Bishops Wood, Crossway Green, Stourport-on-Severn
    This beginner course will cover the field identification of all 26 British conspicuous ladybird species, as well as information on the ecology, distribution and natural history of this group.

    Above courses with Field Studies Council. Contact:

    15/07/2023 Community Mothing 1 Day in Wellington
    Join us for a Moth Breakfast as we discover the world of moths in Wellington Parish. We will have set up numerous traps around the village and left a couple to reveal at 8.30. There will be lots of moths to ponder and bacon/egg butties to eat as well! You can also join us the night before if you wish - just email for details.

    15/07/2023 A Beginners Guide to Solitary Waps 1 Day at HARC
    When people think about wasps, they only remember the yellow and black Common Wasp which is a social beast and frequenter of picnics. However, this fascinating group includes the Giant Woodwasp, 1717 species of Chalcid wasp, the beautiful Ruby-tailed wasps, Spider hunting wasps and Potter wasps to name just a few! Led by a national expert in the field we will find a few and get a little understanding of these amazing animals. Tutor: Ian Cheesebrough

    Above two courses with Hidden Herefordshire. Contact: 07980863577

    16/07/2023 Beetle Field ID: Ladybird Larvae 1 Day
    Bishops Wood, Crossway Green, Stourport-on-Severn, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    This beginner course will cover the field identification of the larvae of all 26 British conspicuous ladybird species, as well as information on the ecology, distribution and natural history of the group.

    22/07/2023 Bug Walk 1 Day
    HARC, Hidden Herefordshire. Contact: 07980863577
    Whether you know nothing about the 'true' bugs or just a little then please join us as we take a stroll down to the River Wye and back. Our expert Joe will be on hand to tell us what we find and you will get an insight into the myriad forms of the Hemiptera which include Shieldbugs, Mirid Bugs, Aphids, Froghoppers, Assassin Bugs and Cicadas. Tutor: Joe Botting

    24/07/2023 Boat-based marine ecological survey techniques 5 Days
    Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, The Marine Biological Association. Contact: 01752 426493
    Discover a range of marine ecological surveying techniques aboard the MBA Research Vessel Sepia. This course, approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD, takes place in the UK's first national marine park.

    27/07/2023 Evening Pond Dipping 1 Day
    Nower Wood / Leatherhead, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523
    Reflect back on a simpler time by enjoying an evening of pond dipping with fellow grown-up enthusiasts.

    Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

    01/07/2023 Discovering Wildlife Tracks and Signs 2 Days
    Dounans Centre, Aberfoyle, Stirling, Scotland, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    This?beginner?course is a great place to start for those looking to improve their ability to identify a range of wildlife tracks and signs encountered in rural and urban areas and even gardens. Learn this valuable skill for anyone with an interest in natural history and conservation.

    02/07/2023 Wild Boar Workshop - Online 1 Day
    With the re-emergence of Wild Boar in recent years, its impact is increasingly felt in some parts of England, yet the animals themselves remain largely elusive and much still remains to be learnt about them. This one-day workshop will start with a series of zoom sessions examining the boar's history, behaviour, ecology, impacts, public perception and management. Our expert trainer will lead a 'virtual' afternoon walk in the Forest of Dean to show you field signs linked with this elusive mammal. A question / discussion session will follow, after the virtual walk has concluded.

    14/07/2023 Dormouse Ecology & Conservation - In person 1 Day at Somerset Wildlife Trust Offices, Shipham Road Shipham BS27 3DQ
    This one-day course is recognised as the definitive course on dormouse ecology, survey and monitoring. Ideal for those with a general interest, or working towards their Dormouse Handling Licence. The course is held in-person and includes information on relevant legislation, dormouse ecology and conservation, survey techniques and habitat management theory.

    Above two courses with The Mammal Society. Contact: 02384 010983

    Identification and Field Survey Skills - Ornithology

    05/07/2023 Discovering Garden Birds: Identification and Ecology (Online)
    This beginner online bird course is aimed at bird enthusiasts who wish to learn more about their much-loved garden visitors and want to begin to be able to identify them and understand their biology and ecology. This is a 4-week course with live webinars.

    25/07/2023 Bird Field Skills (Online)
    This beginner online bird course will introduce you to the field skills required to start identifying and recording birds, including how to use a guide and make a valuable record!

    29/07/2023 Scottish Island Birds 2 Days at Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, North Ayrshire
    This beginner-intermediate bird course provides a unique opportunity to embark on a guided ornithological tour of a beautiful, yet accessible, Scottish island. Be inspired and engaged by the expertise of our specialist tutor and enjoy being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your interests.

    Above courses with Field Studies Council. Contact:

    Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

    01/07/2023 Plant Families Workshop 1 Day
    Dulnain Bridge, Grantown-on-Spey, PH26 3LT, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Contact:
    Plant Families workshops are ideal for beginner botanists aiming to improve their plant identification. Workshops involve classwork and fieldwork with expert tutors, following the principle of 'finding the family first'. A copy of the Pocket Guide to Wildflower Families is included. Places are limited, booking essential.

    01/07/2023 Identifying Plants of Limestone Habitats 2 Days
    Castle Head, Grange over Sands, Cumbria, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    You will be exploring the key habitats and encounter many of the species that are characteristic of base-rich soils. The course will be entirely based in the field ? finding plants and identifying them.

    01/07/2023 Wildflowers, Orchids and Grasses with Leif Bersweden 2 Days
    The Kingcombe Visitor Centre, Dorset Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01300 320684
    Join expert botanist Leif Bersweden and learn how to identify the diverse flora of Kingcombe Meadows.

    03/07/2023 Midsummer Grass Identification 2022 (field course) 1 Day
    Salisbury, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539
    A one-day course giving participants confidence in identifying key grasses of neutral and unimproved calcareous grassland and an overview of using grass indicator species for habitat assessment

    04/07/2023 Heathland - a Rare & Beautiful Habitat 1 Day
    Horsell Common, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523
    Discover more about this unique and globally important habitat through a talk from the Education & Engagement Officer of Thames Basin Heath and then a guided walk.

    06/07/2023 Practical Re-wilding (field course) 0.5 Day
    Online, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539
    An immersive course covering the history & potential future of this alternative approach to nature conservation

    07/07/2023 Aquatic Plants 4 Days
    This course will introduce you to the identification of aquatic plants, the key features for discrimination, and the importance of these species for ecology,? conservation, and recording.

    07/07/2023 Site Assessment Using Vegetation 4 Days
    The course will cover survey and recording techniques, data analysis and methods of evaluating sites including botanical species lists, phase 1 habitat survey, British plant communities, National Vegetation Classification (NVC), and how to put the information into context. There will be lectures, fieldwork and study sessions involving data analysis.

    Above courses with Field Studies Council at Preston Montford, Montford Bridge, Shrewsbury. Contact:

    08/07/2023 NVC for grasslands 2 Days
    Chopwell Meadows, Gateshead/High Moorsley, County Durham, Verde-ecology Consultancy. Contact: 07875544635
    Two days of practising how to do quadrats and take samples to be used for NVC surveys especially on grasslands habitats. We will be using Rodwell methodology as well as a program called MAVIS to analyse data.

    08/07/2023 Aquatic Plants for beginners 1 Day
    Davies Meadow, Hidden Herefordshire. Contact: 07980863577
    The world of aquatic plants is often overlooked simply because you can see them without getting wet. On this course you will understand the riparian, marginal, floating and submerged forms that plants can take and learn a few of the key species. Whether you are a developing botanist or a complete beginner come and join us on a watery adventure in the lovely HWT site.

    10/07/2023 How to Create a Woodmeadow 2 Days
    Whether you are creating a woodmeadow on half an acre, 25 acres or 150 acres - in a garden, park or field - the principles are the same. Join us for this two day course where we will explore the principles and practice of woodmeadow creation.

    15/07/2023 Dragonfly and Damselfly Walk 1 Day
    Learn how to tell apart dragons from damsels, discover their fascinating life cycle, and identify common species. No prior knowledge is required!

    Above two courses with Woodmeadow Trust at Three Hagges Woodmeadow, Escrick, York. Contact: 07874873908

    15/07/2023 Ethnobotony Overnight - Summer 2 Days
    Betws Bledrws, Lampeter, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre. Contact: 01570 493358
    Ethnobotany is not just the study of trees and plants but it is also how we interact with them, have connected with them and utilised them from the beginning of time. We will look at ecology, herbal medicine, foraging for food, uses of different woods, fire lighting and more!

    29/07/2023 Grasses Identification Workshop 1 Day
    Birnam, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Contact:
    This workshop covers identification of common grasses for beginners and improvers who already have a basic grasp of plant ID. It will involve classroom study and fieldwork with expert tutors, and is based on the Start to Identify Grasses booklet, a copy of which is included. Places limited, booking essential.

    29/07/2023 The Botany and Ecology of Bogs and Mires 1 Day
    Preston Montford, Montford Bridge, Shrewsbury, Field Studies Council. Contact:
    This intermediate course will introduce a plethora of habitats, all falling under the umbrella of ?mire?. You will spend time exploring the ecology of these unique habitats and the rich botanical assemblages that can be found there!


    01/07/2023 Macro Photography - Insects & Flowers 1 Day

    GU3 1EG, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523
    Learn some new ways of capturing magnificent macro images of flowers and insects living in a village orchard.

    Practical Countryside Skills

    15/07/2023 Training in the use, maintenance and joy of the Austrian scythe 1 Day
    Egrove Park, Oxford, The Joy of Scything. Contact:
    Practical introduction to the principles, techniques and maintenance of this eco-friendly, effective and versatile tool. Suitable for a range of experience levels, from complete beginners to those looking to improve. For more information or to discuss options, visit our website.

    29/07/2023 Dry Stone Walling for Beginners 2 Days
    Plattwood farm, Disley, Cheshire, The Cheshire Branch of The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. Contact:
    All of the basic elements of walling will be taught by qualified instructors. These include stripping out, sorting stone, laying foundations, first lift, throughs, second lift and copings. Tools for the course will be provided. Trainees should bring their own gloves, food and drinks.

    Longer Courses

    Distance Learning

    Artificial Intelligence with ACS Distance Education

    Behaviour Change Foundation Course with Human Behaviour Change for Life

    Project Planning for Wildlife Conservation, Monitoring and Evaluation for Wildlife Conservation & Project Management for Wildlife Conservation with WildTeam

    Advertise your training course and professional events.

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

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

    Post useful Information to our bulletin board page, it's the place for all sorts of useful information that doesn't really fit anywhere else!

    Things you might find: grants and funding, classified advertising, open days and volunteer taster days.

    50 word listings are free (of course) and it's really cheap to add more words or a logo. 

    The next edition of CJS Professional will be published on: 8 June

    Got something to share or want to advertise? The deadline is: 5pm MONDAY 5 June. 

    Contact us by email:

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