The John Muir Award encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.
Although this is an individual award, Cumbria Outdoors supports participants to achieve these principles as a group, visiting schools in Cumbria and helping participants to choose a wild place or places either within the school grounds or local environment. This allows them to compare and contrast their local environment to the setting where they take the course, but whether or not the pupil goes on the residential element of the course, caring for their local environment is an integral part of the John Muir Award.
“Many pupils spend more time playing in their school grounds than in any other outdoor environment. Using your grounds as a context for the John Muir Award is such a powerful way of helping them to connect with and care for nature on their doorstep on a daily basis and through the seasons.”
Alastair Seaman, Grounds for Learning Programme Manager
During the autumn term of 2016, Cumbria Outdoors worked with 2 schools, where a total of 60 pupils learnt about bio-diversity, eco-systems and the conservation of species. Working to the theme of the John Muir Award, the pupils were encouraged to care for their local environment and were each given a diary to record, reflect and share their experiences.
31 of the pupils went on to work with Cumbria Outdoors and the National Trust, planting 93 willows to repair flood damage on Derwent Island. This tied in to their schools’ chosen topic of “why are we called the energy coast?” and throughout their residential visit, pupils explored the impact of climate change on their local environment and what could be done to help prevent or slow down the change.
Two schools are already booked onto the course for the spring term 2017, when another 75 pupils will continue the willow planting work with the National Trust on Derwent Island and will clear fencing from an area previously fenced off where new saplings had been planted.
Thanks to your generous donations, Cumbria Outdoors is able to offer the residential course at a subsidised rate, helping young people get involved who would not ordinarily have the opportunity to do so.
Thank you again for your fantastic support!