Is the John Muir Award suitable for you and your group?
Before completing a John Muir Award Proposal Form please read this information. It will help you consider whether the John Muir Award is suitable to use with your participants.
The John Muir Award is a nationally recognised, individual award scheme that requires each participant to meet all its Criteria. This includes an understanding of why and how they are participating.
Our experience, and the feedback we've had from the many people and organisations we work with, is that the John Muir Award is ideally suited for those participants working at later stage of primary education and beyond (Year 4 and above in England & Wales, and Second Level in Scotland).
We have created a Family Award that welcomes involvement of all ages and abilities as part of a family group. This invites a collective participation to meet Award Criteria, rather than requiring them to be met by each individual.
When planning to deliver the John Muir Award, consider:
- How will the individuals benefit from participating? Will they get the same benefit from doing the activities you are planning without a John Muir Award aspect? Does it add value for them or not?
- How will you know if Criteria have been met? How will you gauge individual understanding of the John Muir Award concept?
- Are you comfortable in managing a scenario in which not all of the people you are working with meet these Criteria and achieve a John Muir Award?
What can help?
A range of factors can help to deliver a successful John Muir Award experience. These can include:
- Delivering to small groups, and/or a high leader to participant ratio
- Interest of participants e.g. a self-selected nature club, or strong personal interest
- Strong review of activity at suitable times throughout e.g. carry out a Four Challenge Review; 1:1s with leaders/participants; group discussion; reflection on Record Book entries; sharing activities etc.
- Experience of delivering the John Muir Award
For scenarios where some individuals may not meet Award Criteria, we suggest working towards a collective celebration of activity. Create an in-house certificate of the group’s own design, or we can offer an informal template (see below). This means that from the outset, the efforts and achievements of all can be recognised. Individuals who do then meet John Muir Award Criteria can be awarded their own certificate in addition to this group-wide celebration.
The John Muir Award isn’t suitable for my group – what can I do now?
Deciding not to do the John Muir Award shouldn’t stop you from having meaningful experiences in wild places. Simply design your own activities and enjoy being in contact with nature. You could:
- Use (some of) the John Muir Award Four Challenges to help plan your own activities without completing an Award - or create your own challenges tailored to those you’re working with
- Recognise achievements through creating your own certificate designs
- Explore other award schemes that may be more suitable to you and your group such as RSPB’s Wild Challenge, Institute for Outdoor Learning’s National Outdoor Learning Award, Woodland Trust Green Tree School Awards, Archaeology Scotland’s Heritage Hero Awards or The Caley’s Grow and Learn Award (Scotland)
- Link to other campaigns and resources that offer things to do, such as Mission:Explore, OPAL, Simple Pleasures or Woodland Trust Nature Detectives
- Use your plans to encourage suitable participants and staff in your organisation to work towards a John Muir Award
If you are still unsure, please contact a member of staff before filling out a Proposal Form.