The John Muir Award aims to support providers of outdoor adventure, learning and education to deliver programmes that fully integrate environmental awareness and responsibility – Outdoor Environmental Education.
It encourages their staff to see themselves as environmental educators. This involves acknowledging and promoting appropriate values, ethics, motivations, behaviours and skills.
The John Muir Award sets a context for an environmental dimension - biodiversity, sustainability issues, responsibility, conservation, outdoor access - that might otherwise be seen as separate to an outdoor programme.
A study titled ‘Is Outdoor Education Environmental Education?’ (Parkin) found that 83% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that outdoor education and environmental education should be interrelated. The natural environment contributes significantly to outdoor education outcomes it’s the setting or ‘classroom’ for most outdoor education activity.
Outdoor education is an experiential method of learning with the use of all senses. It takes place primarily, but not exclusively, through exposure to the natural environment. The emphasis for the subject of learning is placed on relationships concerning people and natural resources.
This definition implies that outdoor education is more than just learning about nature.
Historically, two branches of outdoor education have been identified: environmental education and adventure education. Truly functional outdoor education incorporates aspects of both approaches.Simon Priest