What is this?

The John Muir Award is a national environmental award scheme that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy, and care for wild places. It's non-competitive, inclusive and accessible and delivered across Scotland.

Who is this for?

This is of interest to all those who are looking to meet curriculum outcomes, recognise achievement, build skills and promote inclusion in their practice through outdoor experiences. This will include those working in schools and colleges, community learning and development, youthwork and family learning.

The John Muir Award is a national environmental award scheme that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy, and care for wild places. It's non-competitive, inclusive and accessible and delivered across Scotland. The John Muir Award works best with participants working at later stage of primary and beyond. A Family Award welcomes involvement from children of all ages as part of a family group and can help promote family learning.

How to use this exemplar

The resources below could be used to stimulate professional dialogue and engagement with colleagues and partnership organisations.

Improvement questions

  • In what ways does your school support every child's entitlement to Learning for Sustainability? How does your own practice embrace learning and teaching outdoors? How can nationally recognised awards help support attainment for all?
  • Read and consider the 'Inclusion, wild places and the John Muir Award' resource. In what ways do you promote inclusion within your practice? Do you make use of the opportunities available outside of your usual setting?
  • In what ways do you include adult and family learning in your approaches to closing the attainment gap? Could undertaking awards enhance that relationship?
  • What systems do you have in place to monitor and track progress in promoting progress, inclusion and achievement? How do you know if you have made a difference?

Explore this resource

If you are new to the John Muir Award you can watch an introductory film, download the information handbook, or read some of the ideas and resources available to learn more.

What was done and why

The John Muir Award is focused on wild places. It supports people to connect with, enjoy and care for nature, landscape and the natural environment - wild places. To achieve a John Muir Award each participant engages in a range of activities that meets the following four challenges:

  • Discover a wild place
  • Explore its wildness
  • Conserve it
  • Share your experiences

View case studies, stories and films for a flavour of what can be achieved with the John Muir Award.

What was the impact?

Engaging with people from all backgrounds has been at the heart of the John Muir Award since it was launched in 1997. Every year at least 25% of Awards are achieved by people experiencing some form of disadvantage.

Delivering the curriculum - the Award framework can offer new and different ways to succeed. Schools and education support services (including Youthwork approaches) have seen young people re-engage with learning and the curriculum through a more active and outdoor approach to education, helping to achieve equity in educational outcomes.

Improving health and wellbeing - the Award can encourage people to be more active which is good for health. It can help mental and social wellbeing through positive relationships, care and respect for self and others.

Building employability skills - Organisations that work to build employability skills in young people and adults find that using the Award can help give real world experiences for developing transferable skills. They also value the nationally recognised certificate and its role in helping move people towards positive destinations.