Lucia Flanagan, Youth Worker at EOTAS (Education other than at school) explains how young people benefit from participating in the John Muir Award.
The young people have been assessed as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Many of our students have experienced childhood adversities and have found main stream School difficult to cope with. Many of our students come from areas of disadvantage.
EOTAS (Education other than at school) offers alternative education that supports the young person not only gain qualifications but supports them on an emotional and personal development level.
Participating in the John Muir Discovery Award this year was a great therapeutic diversion away from the stresses of Lockdowns and the Pandemic.
The young people benefitted greatly from feeding the wild birds and learning about their habitats and breeds. They discovered the natural world through walking the Newry to Portadown Towpath. They absorbed the beauty of the wildlife, flora and fauna and took on board the damage pollution can cause.
“Being out on the Towpath has made me feel good, I’m buzzing after seeing the baby ducklings and Heron” a quote from Rhys. The Correlation between improved mental health and nature was very evident throughout our Award.
By supporting young people to embrace wild places we are creating a positive generation for a healthier planet. As youth workers and teachers we need to provide a lens for young people to open their eyes and ears to discover and care for all wild places across the globe.
EOTAS Learning Centre, Newry, works with young people aged between 14-16 years old.