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

Dear Award Provider,

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










The John Muir Award in National Parks
Our new 4 minute film, set in the Lake District, explores the links between National Parks and the John Muir Award – via teachers, pupils, volunteers and Park staff.


New John Muir Award Manager for North East England
We’re delighted to welcome David Etheridge to our team. Covering the North East of England, this part time post has been funded by the Local Environmental Action Fund for Tyne & Wear & Northumberland and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with the aim of encouraging communities, schools, families and other groups to get involved in the John Muir Award. David can be contacted at

Stronelairg Appeal to support John Muir Trust legal challenge
Wild land in the Monadhliath is soon to be the site of the largest single industrial energy development in Highland Scotland. The John Muir Trust is asking for support to help our legal challenge, to bring proper scrutiny to the Scottish Government's decision to approve the wind farm, through calling for a Public Local Inquiry. Find out more here.

John Muir Award Training
One-day John Muir Award training courses for teachers, assistants and all who support learning outdoors with school pupils.
9 October - Carrochan House, Balloch, West Dumbartonshire
7 November - Brockhole, Windermere, Cumbria
Visit the website for more details and booking instructions.

It’s Our World
Help to create the UK’s largest online collection of artwork that celebrates the environment, as seen through the eyes of its future custodians. Schools – look out for your invitations and PIN code in a mailshot this month. Register now at And look out for over 1,000 events at museums and galleries across the UK as part of The Big Draw.
30 September – Gallery Opens! Get uploading by using your school’s/group’s unique PIN code, issued on registration. #ItsOurWorld

Greater London National Park*
London? As a National Park? Really? Find out more here. 70 organisations are already Friends of the campaign, and nearly 2000 people have signed the petition. The Park* may be notional for now, but with your support it could become a reality.
- Join your organisation up as a Friend
- Sign the petition
- Share your #GLNP events, stories and #WildLondoner photos with @LondonNP
*officially a Notional Park

YHA Brand Story
Take 4 minutes to be inspired about why the YHA exists, and what it has to offer by watching their film. Many Trust members and John Muir Award participants enjoy their facilities and support. The John Muir Trust is proud to have a strong working partnership with the YHA.

Celebrating Muir in the digital age
This Interactive webpage illustrates John Muir’s story and the significance of his work in environmental conservation and advocacy. It provides virtual access to two homes (Dunbar and Martinez) which greatly inspired Muir's work. Access animations, imagery, and 3D models accompanied by spoken personal experiences from Muir's writings.

Health and Well-Being in the Outdoors: The IOL National Conference 2014
Gather with over 200 outdoor professionals for the biennial Institute for Outdoor Learning National Conference, 17-18 October at Holywell Conference Centre, Loughborough. The conference will include strategic debate, challenging and stimulating presentations and workshops, and a focus on health and wellbeing. For more information and to book please visit the IOL National Conference page.

Celebrate The Great British Walk
From 8 September to 24 October join the National Trust and celebrate the Great British Walk. There are hundreds of colourful walks and walking events where you can soak up the countryside’s autumnal colours. If you fancy an adventure check out the events, download the best colour walks or simply put on a pair of boots and start walking! Tie it into your Award activity.

Polli:Nation – Learning through Landscapes
Polli:Nation is an innovative project that will engage 260 schools across the UK to help transform their grounds into pollinator-friendly habitats. ‘Right now we need your help! We are gathering messages of support and illustrating the need for this UK wide project’. Please click here to take part in an online consultation. All schools in the UK will be able to apply to participate. It will be delivered by Learning through Landscapes (and Grounds for Learning in Scotland) and will enable teachers, children and volunteers to be trained to make the necessary changes to their school grounds to create a variety of habitats.

FREE OPAL Outdoor Learning Resources!
OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) is a BIG Lottery funded project now being expanded throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It encourages everyone to engage with nature and collect information about their local environments and wildlife. A team of ‘Community Scientists’ is at hand to distribute survey packs and help primary and secondary schools, community and youth groups run a selection of scientific surveys in urban and rural areas. Any data collected is uploaded to the nationwide OPAL network and interpreted by data analysts, researchers and scientists. The surveys also have explicit links to curricula and can be used as part of a John Muir Award.

Doug Scott Autumn Lecture Tour
Discover the World's Greatest Mountains at Doug Scott Mountaineering Lectures at UK-wide venues from September – December. Doug, a long-standing John Muir Trust supporter and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, draws inspiration from his entire mountaineering life. His lectures feature legendary climbers, gripping stories and spectacular mountain photography. They also support the work of Community Action Nepal.


What do you think?
This autumn the John Muir Trust is looking for feedback from Award Providers about their experiences of the John Muir Award. We are involved in a pilot of ‘How Good is Our Third Sector Organisation?’, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education’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.
We need your help! Would you like to be involved? There are 6 questions about how the Award works for you and your participants. You can participate by online survey, phone conversation, or in person. Please get in touch with Kim at or 0131 554 0114.

John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe
In April 2014 the Scottish Book Trust launched a special graphic novel telling the life story of John Muir. Designed for S1-S3 pupils but relevant to a wider audience, a class set of 24 copies was distributed to every secondary school in Scotland. If you haven’t seen your set, let us know. We can help you source this amazing resource. Alternatively, anyone can download a free copy including teaching support notes from the Scottish Book Trust.
“The book is fantastic. It accessible and entertaining and we have built our John Muir Award around it. It inspires the pupils to find out more.” Teacher

Help care for wildlife in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
The National Park recently launched its new Biodiversity Action Plan - Wildpark 2020 - inviting everyone to help conserve the Park’s extraordinary natural beauty. A new, easy-to-read book ‘Tales from our Wild Park’ explains the importance of five flagship conservation projects, and highlights how you can get involved.
Your Award group can sign up to volunteer for ‘Make a Difference’ days in the Trossachs and Cowal areas this October. For further info contact Andrew Galloway at

Nature’s Beloved Son Exhibition, Dunbar
This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see John Muir’s American botanical collection displayed for the first time in Dunbar, the town that inspired his love of nature. It brings together prints of Muir’s plant specimens, drawings and journal notes with herbarium specimens from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  The exhibition includes activities for families, project work from local schools and living plant displays, and runs until 30 September at Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code Activity Guide
The Code Activity Guide has been developed to help teachers and leaders support young people to explore and understand their rights and responsibilities in the outdoors and apply them to their daily lives. It provides activity ideas designed to be fun and thought provoking, and add value to a number of curricular areas and cross curricular themes, including Learning Outdoors and Citizenship.

Young Roots – up to £50,000 for Scottish Heritage Projects
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots grants programme offers up to £50,000 funding for young people to work with organisations to explore their heritage (including their natural heritage). This can easily tie into John Muir Award activity. How about organising a bioblitz, showing a photography exhibition, completing a nature conservation project, leading a series of nature walks, or even a theatrical performance of Muir's life? 11-25 year olds need to come up with a creative idea and join up with a heritage and youth organisation – anything from a local museum, school or countryside ranger team.
"John Muir's Birthplace Trust would welcome joint applications for support visits, tours and even exhibition space at Dunbar." Jo Moulin, John Muir Birthplace Trust

Access to Education Fund
A new Access to Education Fund is available to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, administered by Education Scotland.  One aim of the Fund is:  ‘Enhancing a school’s capacity to provide trips, outdoor learning or other activities which will boost learning and are an integral part of the school curriculum’. Deadline for applications is 10 October. 

National Countryside short film competition
Countryside Learning Scotland is organising a national countryside film competition for S4-S6 pupils.   Open to all schools and in any subject (e.g. Geography, Art and Design, Technology), individuals or groups can enter. Make a short film (3-5 minutes) about the countryside – it can be about the wildlife in the hedge at the bottom of the playing field, the ants nest in the car park, the footpath by the school.  The focus is entirely up to your team of pupils. Deadline is 1 December.


Cairngorms National Park Outdoor Learning - travel grant
Funding is available for community groups and schools from across Scotland to make educational trips to the Cairngorms National Park before March 2015. The National Park is a fantastic learning resource offering a huge range of outdoor learning opportunities. Recognising that transport is a major barrier for some groups, this fund will support those who most need it. Grants cover up to 75% of costs or £200 to cover transport costs to the Park, with priority given to groups who:
  • have not visited the Park before
  • come from socially disadvantaged areas
  • support people with disabilities, young people, ethnic minorities and those who experience economic disadvantage or health inequality
Trips should be linked to learning, e.g. raising awareness of the National Park and its special qualities/ linking to the curriculum/ John Muir Award/ making use of Park ranger services and Park resource materials. Contact Elspeth Grant at or on 01479 870 506


Free Churchyard Education Packs
Burial sites might not seem a likely place for the John Muir Award but they are often teeming with wildlife. Caring for God's Acre has produced an education pack to give you ideas and activities to get started. Have a look at Caring for God’s Acre under resources and publications for teacher’s notes and more information.

Why Inside? The CLOtC Conference 2014
The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom conference 2014 will take place on Thursday 4th December at the University of Derby's Enterprise Centre. At this year’s conference, Why Inside? Teaching the new curriculum outside the classroom, speakers and practical workshop sessions will offer a wealth of ideas for developing and delivering meaningful learning experiences.

Young People and Mental Health – Free Courses
UK Youth and Paul Hamlyn Foundation have set up a series of training events across England in September and October aimed at those who work with young people around the topic of mental health and wellbeing. The days will offer the opportunity to
  • Share learning about what works to improve young people’s wellbeing
  • Try out activities that can be used with young people to support their mental health and wellbeing. 
These events are free. For further information and to book, please see the UK Youth Training Page.


Leader’s Landscape Training 2014
Friends of the Lake District is offering Leader’s Landscape Training Sessions. Aimed at outdoor practitioners, they will help deepen understanding of the variety and importance of Cumbria’s upland ecology and to help understanding of some of the issues and pressures. These sessions, run by experts in mountain, woodland and water habitats, are recognised as accredited CPD for members of the Mountain Training Association.


OPAL Launches in Wales
The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) is available for the first time in Wales. The OPAL initiative allows you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability. High quality bilingual resources, training and other support enables community groups and individuals to carry out up to 6 different surveys using easy to identify indicator species. For more information (including how OPAL surveys can support your John Muir Award activity) contact: OPAL community Scientist Bob Griffiths 07786 634951 or

Out and about - Outdoor Learning for Literacy and Numeracy, 21 Oct
Join the Real World Learning Cymru Partnership at Plas Tan y Bwlch, Snowdonia. See how you can integrate the Literacy and Numeracy Framework into Outdoor Learning, via a range of practical activities that you can use with your pupils back at school - sowing the seeds of ideas.
A free, jam packed event with contributions from OPAL Community Science, Yr Urdd and the John Muir Award, North Wales Wildlife Trust, Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. For more information or to book a place contact Angharad Harris at

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