A Recipe for a John Muir Award Providers’ Gathering
Gathering (noun): an assembly or meeting, especially one held for a specific purpose.
The main reason for over 50 Providers and supporters getting together in early November was to explore their links with the John Muir Award. What do they do, and why do they use it? A byproduct – or another purpose – was networking: sharing ideas, information, insights and experiences.
Recipe (noun): a method of doing something or a combination of circumstances likely to bring something about.
Based at the Edible Garden of Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, the recipe for this successful Gathering included a wide variety of ingredients, flavours and processes (adapted from an old Outward Bound cookbook):
Remove: work distractions - phone-calls, emails, deadlines, colleagues
Place on the edge of a pan: filled with scenarios, new people, old contacts
Give a slight push: and watch to see that all are fully immersed
Add: the opportunity to hear from others
Shake: a sprinkling of autumnal Botanical Garden grandeur
Stir in: a soupcon of facilitation
• The Botanic Cottage - a historic and inspirational hub for community and education activities; an inspiring venue.
• Edible Garden workshop - the benefits of planting, growing, cultivating, eating, sharing food as part of a John Muir Award.
• Sustainability workshop - a fresh look at current sustainability links across the UK.
• John Muir Award in Action - 7 Providers and their experiences, from inner-city community gardening to remote adventurous activities; from zoo-based non-formal learning to curriculum focused activities.
• Adventure workshop - adventurer, blogger, author and violinist Alastair Humphreys and his latest film, Wilderness, a reflection on Scotland’s wild places set to John Muir’s words; Alastair asked for opinions on adventure engagement in wild places, use of technology, and how to encourage people to care for and protect wild places.
• Zeki Basan – a short preview of teenage film-maker’s new John Muir Way film, ‘The Wild Along the Way’. Watch the full version here.
• Tom Morgan-Jones, ‘dip pen inker of ink, inker thinker, illustrator & cartoonist’ – live illustrating of the Gathering, based on contributions of attendees. See the result in either high resolution (8 MB) or low resolution (500 KB).
There was lots to stew on; staff were grilled; emotions were stirred; spicy discussions were held throughout.
All departed hungry to do more:
“I really enjoyed the whole day, one of the best networking events I’ve been to, and I go to lots. The venue was perfect.”
“Nice people from a variety of backgrounds working with different audiences – magic.”
“A great day. I found a lot of inspiration in the room.”