John Muir Award training and information
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John Muir Award e-bulletin November 2014

Dear Award Provider,

This e-bulletin contains the latest John Muir Award information along with activities, events and news from around the UK.









It’s Our World
It’s Our World is a mass participation arts project. It aims to create the UK’s largest online collection of artwork celebrating the environment. Can you be part of it? It will inspire children and young people, aged 4-19, to speak out for positive environmental action by creating artworks to bring their local landscape, coastline or neighbourhood to life.
To find out more about how It’s Our World involvement can help deliver curriculum outcomes and be part of your John Muir Award click here. We are proud and delighted that the John Muir Trust is a supporter and educational advisor.
“This is an inspired idea for it will open young minds and eyes to the world about them. Anything that does that is powerful for them and powerful for the planet” Michael Morpurgo, Former Children's Laureate

Stronelairg Wind Farm - John Muir Trust Judicial Review & Appeal
The John Muir Trust has lodged a petition to the Scottish Court of Session asking for a Judicial Review of the Scottish Government’s consent of the Stronelairg wind farm on the Garrogie estate in the Monadhliath Mountains. We are urgently seeking financial support to enable us to continue our legal action, following the Court’s refusal on 31 Oct of a Protective Expenses Order. We see this as a critical test case in protecting some of Scotland’s wildest land. A short film and further information can be found at

Trust short-listed for RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards
The John Muir Trust is delighted to be short-listed as a finalist for the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards in the Youth and Education category. The Trust was nominated by the Scottish Book Trust in recognition of its work in celebrating the importance and relevance of John Muir today. This includes its work via the John Muir Award, as well as celebrating 100 years of Muir’s legacy by helping create a graphic novel, publishing Mission:Explore John Muir, making its John Muir: Back to the Future film and setting up the website.

John Muir Award Leader Training Spring 2015 dates
These two-day residential courses give a thorough introduction to the John Muir Award.
17-18 March, North East England, Alnwick YHA
18-19 April, Low Port Centre, Linlithgow, Scotland
25-26 April, Cairngorms National Park, Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Learning, Scotland
Coming soon - South Wales date and venue
Cost: £150 for two days, including food and accommodation (reduced rate of £100 for charity representatives and those attending in an individual capacity – visit website for details).
How to Book? Email the date and venue to confirm that spaces are available. For more information on Leader Training visit the website.

John Muir Award Autumn 2014 Newsletter
Our Autumn Newsletter is now available to view online. In this issue we look at partnerships with the UK’s National Parks, highlight National Curriculum links, and help introduce John Muir.

New: John Muir Award Information Poster
Our new Award poster is now available to download and print at A3 size. Suitable for notice boards and displays everywhere!

John Muir, Earth - Planet, Universe – free to download
The new graphic novel John Muir, Earth - Planet, Universe – a story told in illustrated format with a combination of Muir’s words and a carefully crafted narrative – has been created by Scottish Book Trust, Creative Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage as part of Year of Natural Scotland and John Muir legacy celebrations. It shares the story of the conservation visionary with new audiences, and invites discussion, reflection and action. Hugely popular in schools, but not available to buy, you can download it for free along with Teacher Resources.

‘New Beginning’ from 2020VISION
View a stunning 15 minute a/v piece ‘New Beginning’ created by our friends at 2020VISION. It’s now freely available for private viewing. It’s ‘an inspiring and emotional call to action, making the case for repairing, reconnecting and restoring Britain's nature. The piece is designed for outdoor projection and a VERY loud speaker system. It will form part of the 2020VISION roadshow and will be shown at key events across the country in the coming years’.

What has nature ever done for us?
Ewen Cameron talks about how we can help nature locally and in so doing help ourselves and future generations. Click here to read the article.


Risky Play – Andy Kirkpatrick on BBC Radio 4
Andy Kirkpatrick - acclaimed mountaineer, author and stand-up - challenges us to let our children be exposed to greater risk. Andy argues that if we're brave enough to allow our children to experienced managed risk they'll enter adulthood better prepared for life's challenges. A stimulating, inspiring, and provocative 15 min listen. Transcript is available here.

Share the Adventure – Kendal Mountain Festival
Kendal Mountain Festival is a long weekend of world class speakers, top adventure films, a 10km trail race, and a festival village with trade and charity stands. Highlights include opening films on a large outdoor screen, big name speakers Chris Bonnington, Leo Houlding and Alastair Humphreys, and free fringe events in the Lowe Alpine Yurt. The
John Muir Trust has a stand in the festival tent – please pop along and see us!

Truro Prep School share their wild places
As part of their John Muir Award, Year 5 pupils from Truro Prep School created atmospheric and persuasive short films to explain the importance of wild places. Ryan tells us the world would be ‘very, very boring’ without them, Jacks shows us how rabbits have modified a bees nest ‘to their liking,’ Orla guides us around the ‘so glorious’ River Fal, and Alex and Jo describe the taste of chive flowers.

Geography Quality Mark and the John Muir Award – a perfect duo
The Primary and Secondary Geography Quality Marks are UK-wide awards which recognise quality and progress in geography leadership, curriculum development, learning and teaching in school. As well as acknowledging excellence within a whole school or department, they also indicate effective team leadership and high quality geography teaching. Participating in real and relevant fieldwork and conservation – which can include working towards a John Muir Award – is an important aspect of achieving the Geography Quality Mark.

Charities band together to call for a Nature and Wellbeing Act
Environmental and conservation organisations have joined forces to campaign for legislation to halt the decline of nature. This follows the publication of a Green Paper which aims to bring about the recovery of nature in a generation. It sets out a package of measures to restore and protect the natural world on the basis that our economy, our wellbeing, our quality of life and our community are all dependent on the preservation of a healthy eco-system. "We would urge everyone who values the natural world to get behind this initiative from the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB” says Sheila Wren, John Muir Trust.

Learning with Nature: A guide to inspiring children through outdoor games and activities
Learning with Nature is full of activities and games to encourage children outdoors, to explore, have fun, make things and learn about nature. Written by Marina Robb, an experienced John Muir Award Provider with Circle of Life, along with Nature educators and Forest School practitioners, the book provides comprehensive information for enriching children’s learning through nature.
"A wealth of structured, tried and tested projects, ideas and games all designed to allow children to breathe fresh air and engage personally with a real world where their minds and bodies can develop and bloom, burst into life and inspire them to love life." Chris Packham.

Grow Wild with free wildflower seed kits
The John Muir Trust has teamed up with Grow Wild to share thousands of free seed kits so our groups can transform their local spaces into beautiful, inspiring and colourful wild flower havens. We’re now part of one of the UK’s biggest-ever seed sowing campaigns, helping to create over one million square metres of wild flowers in spring 2015. Register today to receive wild flower seeds native to your country for you to share with people in your group/s.

Take Part in OPAL Surveys
OPAL surveys are a fantastic way to take teaching outdoors, learn new skills and contribute to real scientific research as well as your John Muir Award. Visit the website to find out how OPAL survey activities link into teaching curriculums across the UK.  Free Education Packs are available as well as 18 different identification guides to help you identify some common British plants and animals.


What do you think? – we would love to hear from you
The  John Muir Trust is looking for feedback from Scotland-based Award Providers about their experiences of the John Muir Award. Thank you to everyone who has already got involved. Can you help? You can participate by online survey (15-20 minutes) or by phone conversation, or in person. Please get in touch with your John Muir Award contact person
to arrange a time. This survey is contributing to our involvement in a pilot of ‘How Good is Our Third Sector Organisation?’, Education Scotland’s new framework for helping charity organisations evaluate themselves. In particular, we aim to find out about the impact of using the Award on participants and leaders.

Nature’s Beloved Son Exhibition, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
In the spirit which Muir embraced the botanical world, this exhibition traces his travels to Canada, Indiana, the American southeast, California, and Alaska, and presents vivid images of the plants that Muir held in his hands, carried in his backpack, and preserved for all time. The exhibition runs until 25 January 2015.

Have your say on camping rights in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
‘Your Park’ is a programme to enhance camping experiences in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Its goal is to allow people to enjoy the most popular and accessible loch-shores, whilst protecting these environments. The National Park is keen to hear the views of young people, to understand what they think about the issues and how the Park is planning to solve them. Visit the website and have your say by answering a set of six questions online before 12th January 2015.

Community Grants and free travel to help Clean Up Scotland
Thanks to proceeds from Tesco’s carrier bag charges, Clean up Scotland (part of Keep Scotland Beautiful) is now able to offer fixed grants of £250 for groups to make improvements to their local environment. Applications open on 20 Nov. If you live in the Edinburgh or Glasgow areas, you can also access a free 16-seater minibus and driver to get to your Clean Up Scotland litter pick between Oct and Mar this year, courtesy of Rabbie’s coaches. Contact their team direct at or 0131 226 3133 to enquire.


Institute for Outdoor Learning NW conference, 23 Jan, Ambleside
The conference offers a mixture of talks, workshops and networking, the opportunity to meet other outdoor educators and to find out about new skills and methods. 26 planned workshops range from ‘A Journey into Awesomeness - creating magic moments in outdoor learning’ to ‘Backwoods Living - How to prepare and cook a Rabbit’ or ‘Using Smartphones for Outdoor Learning’ to ‘Using Willow - How to build a living structure’. Visit the website for more information and to book your place.

School Trips and Breaks 4 Kids with the YHA
The YHA provides a wide range of educational activity-based school trips for young people of all ages, from primary to A-level. Linked to the National Curriculum, they aim to instil self-confidence, trust and teamwork in pupils, whether they’re doing conservation work, learning about the planets, canoeing or understanding how fossils help us interpret the past – all of which can be part of a John Muir Award, of course.  Breaks for Kids offers help to cover up to 50% of costs for young people from low-income households on trips with schools, community groups and charities or other youth groups.

Wildlife role play
The organisation “Beetles and Bees”, offers a menagerie of giant model creatures, factsheets and interviews that provide a unique and entertaining way of increasing learning and awareness about the natural world. Handmade headgear and hand-puppets depicting insects, birds and mammals feature in scripted role plays which cover pollination, lifecycles, food-chains, habitats and more. A variety of workshops are available in the Powys, Shropshire and Herefordshire areas, and the creatures can travel to wider UK locations (with their owner) if expenses are met.  

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Young people doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award spend 3-18 months helping people or the community, getting fitter, developing skills, going on an expedition and taking part in a residential activity. Many young people complete a John Muir Award in tandem with their DofE (click here for more information).
If you offer volunteering or residential opportunities to young people, the DofE would love to hear from you. Whether you want volunteers to help run outdoor activities, carry out moorland conservation work or do a wildlife survey, the DofE can help advertise your opportunities to participants, ensure your activities meet their requirements, or discuss a
more formal partnership with your organisation.
Learning Away Interim Report: “91% of students find school more interesting because of their residential”!
Learning Away is a special initiative of Paul Hamlyn Foundation and aims to demonstrate the positive impact that high-quality residential learning can have for students and teachers. In September 2014 York Consulting, the Project’s external evaluators, produced a set of interim findings highlighting the impact of residential learning. A summary of the findings can be found here.


The Lake District – a UNESCO World Heritage site? Have your say.
What makes the Lake District special? What is it that might make it a UNESCO World ‘Cultural Heritage’ Site? The Lake District National Park Partnership is hoping that World Heritage Site status will be confirmed in 2017. As part of their bid they have published a draft management plan for consultation and would like your input before 18 Jan 2015.


National Park to continue Outdoor Learning Training and Support
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is continuing to deliver free support and Training to organisations in and around Pembrokeshire through ‘Your Park’. These courses include Habitat exploration, Beach Art, Bushcraft and an Introduction to discovering the NP through the John Muir Award.  For more information contact the ‘Your Park’ team via


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