Benefiting wild places
Through the Award’s Conserve Challenge, every participant makes a positive difference for wild places, reducing the stress on our natural environment and deciding how they can best give back to nature. From beach cleaning and tree planting, to citizen science surveys, building bird boxes and campaigning for change on issues from climate emergency to biodiversity loss, the collective impact is significant.
The Award’s ethos encourages participants to minimise their impact on the natural environment – from considering access and our responsibilities in the outdoors, to making sustainable lifestyle choices. With around 40,000 people achieving a John Muir Award each year, many Award experiences have inspired individuals and families to become advocates for nature, whilst delivering the Award has supported leaders to incorporate environmental issues and approaches into their work. See our collection of Award testimonials to find out more.
What amazed me most was how quickly the pupils became attached to their wild place, they became guardians of it, they would check on it after school, and they were visibly upset if there was evidence of antisocial behaviours. The unloved old graveyard turned into a loved greenspace.
– Natalie White, East Ayrshire Council
Wildness for all
Each year through the John Muir Award, thousands of people access, appreciate and care for wild places in ways that are meaningful and relevant to them. For many, this can be their first ever opportunity to spend time experiencing nature first-hand. The Award’s flexible framework allows for experiences to be tailored and adapted to suit individuals, groups and families. Each year at least 25% of Awards are achieved by people experiencing inequalities, such as financial deprivation, disability, unemployment and poor health.
Improving health and wellbeing
Wild places contribute to our lives in many and varied ways – including encouraging recreation, active lifestyles and improving health and wellbeing through connections with nature. Survey responses from organisations highlight that working towards an Award impacts positively on participant physical and mental health and wellbeing, including helping participants be more active, boost confidence and gain a sense of pride through making a difference for nature and communities.
See Health Impact of the John Muir Award research findings about health-related behaviours, attitudes and aspirations of participants; and read more about ‘green therapy’ and the power of the natural world to improve wellbeing in our Nature’s Healing Hands Journal article.
The John Muir Award is something rare: a simple, effective, enjoyable and potentially powerful intervention to enhance health, wellbeing and the environment, that actually works.
- Prof. Rich Mitchell, Institute for Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow
Widening impact through partnerships
The John Muir Award is delivered through partnerships with many diverse organisations from various sectors – from schools, youth centres and community groups, to outdoor centres, Local Authorities, NHS and ranger services.
We collaborate with a number of organisations across the UK who share a common goal of inspiring and connecting people and nature, enabling us to widen our reach, share learning and achieve more together. Key partners include the Cairngorms, Lake District, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authorities; the Keeping It Wild project partnership, East Ayrshire Council, Field Studies Council Scotland.
Interested in collaborating with us? Visit our support us page to find out more