Trust celebrates John Muir Award 21st Birthday

Over 100 people gather in Dunbar where the Award was launched on 26 February 1997

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Over 100 people from across the United Kingdom gathered in Dunbar today to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the formal launch of the Trust’s main engagement initiative, the John Muir Award.

With beach activities and litter picks, tours of John Muir’s birthplace, exhibitions and archive displays, the event captured many elements of the evolution of the John Muir Award from a small project to a core part of the Trust’s work, from its youthful years to a coming of age.

Having been the venue for the official ceremony in 1997, Dunbar Leisure Centre again hosted the celebration. And with many of today's guests – including former staff and Trustees, early Award recipients, funders and supporters - having had attended the launch 21 years ago, the sports hall resonated to the sounds of reminiscences and reflections.

Local schoolchildren from The Compass Primary School braved the arctic chill and explored the beach that John Muir played on as a boy, 170 years ago, finding perhaps more plastic nurdles and jetsam than Muir might have encountered.

 Lord Lindsay, via video-link, commented: “Of the many events I attended as the then Scottish Office Environment Minister, the trip to Dunbar in 1997 remains a vivid memory.

"I ended up exploring rockpools and the seashore with a bucket and a bunch of happy schoolkids. They were thrilled not to be in class, I was thrilled not to be in the office. 21 years later, many congratulations to the John Muir Trust. Many more people, of all ages, are now involved in conservation than was the case. Congratulations to all who have made it such an enduring success.

 Four of those Dunbar Primary School ‘happy schoolkids’ referenced by Lord Lindsay –featured in photos and news items from 1997 - heard about the event, and came along to be part of the celebration. Local MSP Iain Gray lent his support, along with John Muir’s Birthplace Trustees.

David Picken carried out the feasibility study and piloted the John Muir Award whilst working for the Trust from 1995.  He said “I’m proud to see the Award grow and develop from its humble origins, offering support to ever more people to get out and enjoy wild places. I’m sure the John Muir Trust will continue to see its value as a means of keeping Muir’s messages alive and relevant.”

John Muir Trust Chairman Peter Pearson reflected: “From Shetland to the Scilly Isles, and Northern Ireland to Northumberland, over a third of a million people from all backgrounds have now been involved in the John Muir Award.

"That’s something that our Trustees and members can take great pride in. It reflects how timely and vital the vision of our Trustees was in the 1990s in coming up with the concept, and the extent to which organisations – large and small - that share our values have collaborated to make it so successful.”

Find out more about the John Muir Award turning 21.

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