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.
Working with communities
Working with local people is part of our DNA. Since the birth of the Trust in 1983, we have collaborated with communities living in or near wild places, including crofters, landowners, other organisations or charities, our own members and the wider public.
Our community partnerships:
- In 1999, we were a major contributor to the successful land purchase by the Knoydart Foundation.
- In 2000, we helped the Borders Forest Trust to buy Carrifran woodland.
- In the Western Isles in 2002 we supported the North Harris Community in the buy-out of the 55,000 acre North Harris Estate
- In 2007 the Trust supported the Galson Estate Trust land purchase on North Lewis.
- In 2005 we played a key role in helping the Assynt Foundation buy Glencanisp and Drumrunie estate.
- In 2020, we supported the historic Langholm community buyout in the Scottish Borders.
Wild Places for All
Our core belief is that wild places are for everybody. We're working to bring this to life through our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy.
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.
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.
Conservation action for everyone
Launched in 2021, the Junior Rangers programe works with local high schools to offer young people the opportunity to learn about their local wild place and develop practical and lifelong outdoors and land management skills. Running throughout term-time, Junior Ranger teams meet fortnightly with John Muir Trust staff and partners to learn about a range of topics inlcuding biodiversity monitoring, deer management, and managing visitors and their impact on wild places.
Initially launched with Lochaber and Ullapool High Schools, with funding from ALA Green, the Trust is now looking to expand the popular programme to inlcude more high schools.