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John Muir Award e-bulletin February 2015

Dear <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>,

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




North East England



John Muir Award Appeal
Missed this in our eNews from last week? Take a look here.

Making a Difference – Conserve Audit 2015
In 2011 many of you collected data on your Conserve activities that contributed to our Conserve Audit. This had great value in demonstrating the impact that Award participation has on wild places – not just for the John Muir Trust but for partners, funders, and everyone involved. We’re taking a fresh look at this throughout 2015, and asking you to record what you do as part of the Award Conserve challenge. This information will be collected when you request Award Certificates. To find out more click here.

It’s Our World Online Art Gallery 
Know someone – or are you
aged 4-19? Help create the largest online gallery of artworks celebrating the environment.
  • Schools/education groups – register for your own PIN code at
  • Take a look at what’s already in the gallery.
  • Create art about the places that mean something to you.
  • Upload images of your work.
Simple as that! Schools, youth & community groups, outdoor centres, families…all are welcome to take part. You can find art and sustainability ideas and resources to help. For more information on It’s Our World, click here.

John Muir Award Training Spring 2015 dates
Leader Training
These two-day residential courses give a thorough introduction to the John Muir Award.
  • 17th-18th March, Alnwick Youth Hostel, North East England
  • 19th-20th March, National Trust Stackpole, Pembrokeshire, Wales
  • 18th-19th April, Low Port Centre, Linlithgow, Scotland
  • 25th-26th April, Lagganlia Centre, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
Cost: £150 for two days, including food and accommodation (reduced rate of £100 for charity representatives and those attending in an individual capacity).
John Muir Award in Schools 
These one-day courses are aimed at teachers and others involved in classroom or community learning to find out how the John Muir Award can be integrated into your work.
  • 27th March, John Muir Trust Wildspace, Pitlochry, £40
For more information regarding our training courses, including details of how to book, please visit our training and events website page.

John Muir Trust Annual General Meeting and Members' Gathering 2015
15 & 16 May, Galeri Caernarfon, Doc Victoria, Caernarfon
Come and join staff, trustees and members in beautiful North Wales for our 2015 AGM & Members' Gathering.

John Muir Day, 21st April
21st April is officially ‘John Muir Day’.  More details of activities and ideas in our March ebulletin. Keep an eye on the events page.

John Muir Award Certificate updates
John Muir Award Providers – status and certificate
Many organisations that we work with appreciate the opportunity to recognise their status as a John Muir Award Provider. In response we are introducing a new Provider Certificate to acknowledge and celebrate this. Find out more here or talk to your Award Manager.
Requesting Award Certificates? - New Certificate Request Form
Download the new Certificate Request Form here. When next requesting your John Muir Award certificates, use this to also ask for your Provider Certificate.

John Muir Award Record Book pdf
Our Record Book is now available to download and print as a pdf from the Resources page of our website. Use it to record experiences during John Muir Award activity. Draw, sketch or paint. Write quotes, stories, songs, names of things, poetry, or make rough notes. Stick things in it. Use it as a personal memento of what has been done.  


John Muir Award Sustainability Resource Guide
Our Sustainability Resource Guide offers a simple interpretation of sustainability - 'living on the planet as if we mean to stay here'. It looks at how, through the John Muir Award, we can help explore what sustainability means in ways that are relevant and engaging.

The Resource Guide focuses on how people are more likely to care for our planet if they are connected with nature. It encourages thinking about motivations and values. And it highlights good practice when communicating a sustainability message, as well as collating lots of relevant practical links and online resources.
All our Resource Guides can be downloaded from the ‘Resources & Links’ section of

A January blog
Here’s a piece from John Muir Award Manager Rob Bushby about sniffing, looking, feeling…enjoying, sharing, thinking, caring, doing, valuing…
“More power in 2015 to all the partners, teachers, parents, instructors, rangers…who help make sure that we’re connected with nature”.

Your Year of Microadventure
Make 2015 a ‘Year of Microadventure’: 12 months + 12 overnight microadventures = 1 adventurous year. Take a look at Alastair Humphreys’ website here for ideas and inspiration. And make microadventures part of your own John Muir Award activity.
See the story of Al meeting up to chat microadventures with a Mosaic group at Kendal Mountain Festival here. #Microadventure

‘Landscape. What a word.’
Nick Crane - geographer, explorer, writer and broadcaster - reflects on how we define 'landscape' in his speech at the launch of Landscapes for Everyone in Parliament on 20 January 2015. A fabulous short piece can be read here. Find out more about ‘Landscapes for Everyone: Creating a Better Future’ here. This shared vision of why we must treasure our landscapes and how Government can help has been developed by CPRE and is supported by 27 organisations including the John Muir Trust.

Film Active
Kendal Mountain Film Festival is delighted to launch Film Active; an initiative that provides a creative platform and channel to get young people outside on new adventures. It’s a unique stage for young people to showcase their outdoor film making skills, capturing the essence of adventure or the great outdoors. Throughout 2015 Film Active will be organising film academy days presented by leading filmmakers, talks and events. Follow Film Active on Twitter @Film_Active and like Film Active on Facebook
. For further information contact

Outward Bound Skills for Life
Outward Bound introduces The Skills for Life Award in a brand new video. See how a summer experience with The Outward Bound Trust can help individuals to stand out from the crowd and get their application to college, work or university noticed. For all the latest updates, keep an eye on their Facebook page and follow #SkillsForLife on Twitter.

Big Schools Bird Watch, 5 Jan-13 Feb 2015
Big Schools' Birdwatch is a simple educational activity that gets you and your class closer to the birds visiting your school grounds. The Bird Watch takes just one hour, and can be carried out at any point until 13 February 2015. It can help towards your John Muir Award activity. You can run it as the centrepiece of cross-curricular studies, as project work, or as part of work to improve your school grounds.

Campaign to put 'nature' words back in children's dictionary
In January, 28 authors, poets and naturalists wrote to Oxford University Press calling for some of the fifty nature words lost from their Junior Dictionary - such as acorn, blackberry, minnow, willow - to be reinstated. The issue first arose in 2007, was not corrected with the 2012 edition, and is now a growing concern as we look for cultural leadership in helping to support children's formative experiences of nature. The letter sets out the problem, with a response from the OUP here.  See the list of words taken out, and words put in, here. Follow the debate on Facebook and through Twitter via #naturewords.

Oxford University Press 'welcome feedback on all our dictionaries' and can be contacted at

Empty Classroom Day 2015 – 19th June
Sign up your school for Empty Classroom Day 2015. The goal is to have empty classrooms all over the globe, with pupils learning outside. Any school can participate, just pledge to spend at least one lesson outside on the day. What you do is up to you but activities could tie in with your John Muir Award. From pond-dipping to planting, tree-climbing to picnicking; the possibilities and learning opportunities are endless.

Dirty Teaching - People’s Book Prize vote
The People's Book Prize is a national competition aimed at finding, supporting & promoting new and undiscovered works. ‘Dirty Teaching - A Beginner's Guide to Learning Outdoors’ by Juliet Robertson has been nominated in the non-fiction category. Read a review in the John Muir Trust Journal 57 (Autumn 2014 - page 33) here. "Clear and accessible, this is a guide that will help teachers, carers, parents and other outdoor educators embrace outdoor learning with confidence and enthusiasm”. You can vote for Dirty Teaching here.


Funding available for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Travel Grant
Travel can be expensive. To help schools and groups from all backgrounds experience wild places, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park offers an Educational Travel Grant which can cover up to 75% of total transport costs. The National Park is a great place to complete your John Muir Award and better understand what is special about this protected area. The varied landscapes, biodiversity and rich cultural heritage present fantastic opportunities for learning and offer a chance to explore the legacy of John Muir in our National Parks today.

Riverbank Resource Pack
The Scottish Natural Heritage Riverbank Pack has been revamped in line with the Curriculum for Excellence, with cross-curricular plans covering biodiversity, how people use rivers, and natural river landscape and processes (including Second stage). Originally based around the River Spey, this new resource features links to film footage and real data that will really bring your classroom to life.

The Conservation Volunteers e-bulletin
TCV’s latest e-bulletin is packed full of training courses, events and funding opportunities that could be of benefit for the delivery of the John Muir Award.

Outdoor and Woodland Learning Scotland: resources and training
OWL’s new resource, with useful Curriculum for Excellence links, supports outdoor and woodland learning, including Forest School. This will be useful to Providers delivering the John Muir Award in a woodland setting. Free CPD courses are also available to OWL members, to explore the new Tree Stories resource with storyteller Claire Hewitt. Tree Stories comprises a story for each month of the year, background facts on each tree and its folklore, and an introduction to using storytelling for education. 

Conversations about Learning for Sustainability: Case Studies
This UNESCO report identifies the benefits of sustainable development education (including Outdoor Learning) as a context for learning. It includes a series of case studies from schools across Scotland focusing on Learning for Sustainability, with examples of classroom level practice from Primary, Secondary and Additional Needs establishments. It highlights the impacts on the confidence, skills, learning experiences and motivation of learners, as well as the reputation of the centres, staff morale, wellbeing and motivation, and community partnerships and community spirit. The John Muir Award is recognised and referenced in a couple of the school case studies. 

Nominate a young person for the Young Scot Awards
2015 marks a landmark tenth year for the Young Scot Awards, and they aim to make it the biggest celebration of young people this country has ever seen. John Muir Award Providers can nominate a young person aged 11-25, or a group that has made a positive difference to the lives of others in their community. Visit the website. Award categories include Community, Cultural Diversity, Health, Environment and The Arts. Nominate by 27 February, winners announced in April 2015.

Make Your Environment Better – win £1000 for your school
How Would You Make Our Environment Better? Scotland’s Environment is asking young people to answer this question by presenting practical ideas on improving environmental problems. Submit your John Muir Award group’s ideas for a chance to win up to £1000 to put these plans into action. Visit Scotland’s Environment for further details. Enter by March 31st 2015. 


Increase in visits to natural environments
A report published in January represents the findings for the fifth year of the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey. It shows that the English adult population made around 2.93 billion (yes, billion) visits to natural environments between March 2013 and February 2014 – the highest number for 5 years.  The report also provides statistics on use and enjoyment of the outdoors, along with new analysis on several key topics such as health and wellbeing, expenditure, and the gap between valuing the natural environment and taking action to conserve it. See the report here.

New Learning Outside the Classroom resource packs for English and science
Six lesson plan packs for teaching English and Science are now available from Learning Outside the Classroom. Each contains a case study, 6 lesson plans and guidance for delivery.

The new National Curriculum for England puts a strong emphasis on the importance of first-hand practical experiences, as well as using the school grounds and local community as a location for learning. LOtC provide support to incorporate and structure lessons with outdoor learning in mind.

Learning Away - new resources for residentials
Integrating elements of students’ current work programmes into residential stays leads to rich, rewarding and memorable learning. This new suite of resources provides insight into how Learning Away partnership schools plan curriculum-focused residential experiences, from KS1 to GCSE.

South Downs Conference to inspire teachers, 5 March, free
This event is for teachers wanting to find out about opportunities for local outdoor learning in the National Park. You can find out how more than 1,600 teachers are already using the South Downs National Park as a resource to teach more than 74,000 pupils across the entire curriculum. Speakers include Mark Sears, Director of the Wild Network. There will also be a workshop on the John Muir Award.  Details can be found here.

Enabling Outdoor Learning - CPD and events for teachers, 3 and 23 March, £95
The Institute for Outdoor Learning runs a series of courses to provide an introduction to the thinking behind learning outdoors and getting out of the classroom.  These include topics such as:
  • Problem Solving & Teambuilding Activities
  • Using Orienteering to teach literacy and numeracy
  • Foraging, Fires and Outdoor Cooking
  • Health and Safety – What do you need to do? 
Courses are available in North East England this March.

Growing Up Green & Global Event, Shropshire, 18 Sept, £100
This education conference is for schools to discover and explore sustainability, biodiversity, and global learning resources. The event will include an exhibition with 75 display spaces for training and resource providers. Keynote speakers include Ann Finlayson, CEO of SEEd and Bryan Davies, formerly Head of Sustainable Development at OFSTED.

North East England

Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) Film
Established in 2006, the Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) is a grant-making Fund hosted by the Community Foundation, dedicated to supporting and inspiring communities in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to tackle environmental issues in their local area. It’s a collaborative Fund, pooling donations for maximum impact at a local level. Current funding partners include the Shears Foundation, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and Greggs Foundation, as well as individual and corporate donors. We’re delighted that our activity in North East England is supported by LEAF.
Find out more by watching their film here.

‘Peregrini’ Landscape Partnership - communities and conservation on Lindisfarne
Northumberland Coast AONB has announced the ‘Peregrini’ Landscape Partnership. It aims to reconnect the Lindisfarne community with their landscapes, heritage and history by offering a wide range of conservation and engagement projects. Environmental monitoring and recording, marine awareness, habitat improvement activities all offer opportunities for John Muir Award links. Further details from
The ‘Peregrini’ were Irish monks/adventurers who spread the early Christian church to England. One of their number was Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. He passed the earliest known bird conservation laws, controlling the harvesting of Eider Duck from Northumberland’s Farne Islands.

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