Scotland’s 100,000th John Muir Award

Yesterday the John Muir Trust celebrated a landmark achievement when Sarah Oswald, a senior pupil from Balfron High School in Stirlingshire,

Yesterday the John Muir Trust celebrated a landmark achievement when Sarah Oswald, a senior pupil from Balfron High School in Stirlingshire, became Scotland’s 100,000th John Muir Award recipient.

The John Muir Award is a leading nature engagement scheme run by the John Muir Trust. It was launched in 1997 to help people from all backgrounds to connect with nature, and enjoy and care for wild places.

Toby Clark (pictured with Sarah Oswald), John Muir Award Scotland Manager said: “Thousands of organisations have worked with the John Muir Trust since the Award started – from universities to prisons, and schools to health agencies.

“This tremendous milestone would never have been reached without all the amazing teachers, community workers, volunteers, rangers and youth leaders who have invested their time and energy in working together with us.

“This includes our long-term supporters Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorms National Park and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authorities. Everyone involved in the John Muir Award can be immensely satisfied with this achievement.”

Rose hip by Bethan HarveySarah completed her Award as part of a Peer Education training course with NHS Forth Valley. It involved a week-long residential in The Trossachs.

Elaine Cochrane, the Health Promotion Officer from NHS Forth Valley, said: “I’m delighted for Sarah, but I’m really proud to see all the pupils gain a nationally recognised certificate. We’ve gained an appreciation for wildlife on our doorstep and understand better how we can help look after it. Taking part in the John Muir Award has helped build teamwork as well as increase pupils’ self-confidence and communication skills.”

Sarah Oswald (aged 16) said, “I really enjoyed doing the Award. My favourite wild place was Aberfoyle in the National Park, it was just so different and peaceful.”

Hole in the wall by Ruthie FinlayBethan Haston, who is funded to manage the John Muir Award in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, added: "I think it would make John Muir proud that today, 100 years since his death, we are celebrating 100,000 John Muir Award achievements.
It is great that this has happened in Scotland's first national park - a fitting legacy to the Scotsman who helped set up the world’s first national parks."

Images of the National Park were taken by Peer Education students Beth Harvey (hip), and Ruthie Finlay (hole in wall) as part of their John Muir Award.