Have you wanted to take your child/class out to explore the natural world, but didn't know how? This article highlights an award that gives structure and support to discover the outdoors.
In 1997, the John Muir Trust (the leading wild land conservation charity in the UK) created an environmental award scheme to encourage people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy, and care for wild places.
Origins of the John Muir Award
John Muir Trust takes its name and inspiration from John Muir (1838-1914), the pioneering, influential Scots-born American conservationist, who was passionate about the wild. Muir dedicated his life to protecting wild places, and he campaigned successfully for the establishment of National Parks to safeguard vast areas of wild lands, including Yosemite Valley in California (USA).
The Importance of the John Muir Award
The participants of this award will gain a multitude of different memories and experiences, which will stay with them forever. Benefits that participants will gain when they get involved in this award include:
- having memorable adventures
- gaining environmental awareness
- acquiring knowledge and skills gained from individual/shared experiences
- developed soft skills (e.g. teamwork, self-esteem, confidence and communication skills from sharing experiences)
- strengthening of values relating to: care, respect, environmental connection, belonging, sense of place, curiosity, and responsibility)
- It is important that young adults are exposed to these opportunities, which can develop them into becoming well-rounded individuals.
The award focuses on those participants working at the later stages of primary education (years five/six) through to schools and colleges, adult groups, and families. This award gives you the opportunity to embrace nature at three different levels, which are discovery (minimum four days), explorer (minimum eight days), and conserver (minimum 20 days).
Each level has four challenges, which are:
- Discovering a wild place
- Exploring it
- Conserving it
- Sharing your experience
In order to complete each level, you will need to know who John Muir is, what the award is about, meet the requirements of the four challenges, and have completed them in the recommended time. Yet you are welcome to repeat the same award level with a different organisation, in different places or with different people, as this provides valuable opportunities and experiences.
To understand how to progress through the award click here.
Important information when starting the discovery award:
- read the John Muir award introduction
- watch the 'Information film' from John Muir Trust
- download the information handbook