Wild places are for all to enjoy and benefit from. Supporting people to experience wild places responsibly and take action to care for them is key to a more hopeful future.
We know that a positive experience in nature encourages further engagement and responsible pro-environmental behaviours. That's why we work to inspire the environmental champions of the future to make and develop that connection - people of all ages and backgrounds across city, town and country. Everyone should have the ability to achieve their potential through access to wild places and given the chance to experience the numerous benefits. We are committed to long-term action to enable this through our work as outlined in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy.
Connecting people and wild places
By providing volunteering opportunities, developing a Junior Ranger programme and our celebrated John Muir Award education initiative, the John Muir Trust is engaging with people across the UK from cityscape to wild landscape.
John Muir Award
We launched the John Muir Award in 1997 to inspire people to connect with and care for wild places that feel accessible to them. The Award encourages outdoor activity, learning and personal development as well as positive action for green spaces and nature. An average of 40,000 people achieve their Award each year, contributing approximately 47, 000 days of conservation work worth over £1.5. million.
At least 25% of John Muir Award participants are experiencing inequalities due to financial circumstances, disability or health challenges.
The Award is used in youth work, mental health support, addiction recovery, and with unemployed, ex-offenders and the elderly. Enabling positive connections with nature has real and tangible benefits for the individual, their families, support networks and communities.
Health and wellbeing
There’s a growing body of evidence which highlights the power of wild places to support and enhance our wellbeing – emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Our engagement work helps people experience the physical, psychological and social benefits of wild places. We also support others in partnership, to better understand and communicate those benefits across society.
Equality of Access
Since 2018, with support from Scottish Government's Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund, the Trust has trained staff in children's rights, demonstrating our commitment to being an equitable, diverse and inclusive organisation that supports people from all walks of life to experience and protect wild places, now and in the future.
In 2019, we sponsored the inaugural Open Mountain event at Kendal Mountain Festival, which gave voice to those under-represented in mountain and outdoor literature. In the same year, we worked with artist Alec Finlay on the inaugural Day of Access which supported disabled people in accessing wild land. Alec has also written for our Journal on the invisible barriers of physical disability.
In 2020, we opened the Foss Loop at Schiehallion to enable easier access and appreciation of wild places.
We reflect on our work to become a more inclusive organisation and target resources still further in this statement.