“Camp out among the grass of glacier meadows. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. – The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
Born in Dunbar in 1838, John Muir was a Scotsman at heart and from an early age went out exploring the mountains and hills around him. As a child he and his family emigrated to Wisconsin, USA, where he grew to become an important figure in nature conservation. As an adventurer, climber, botanist, inventor and writer, John Muir was passionate about everyone caring for our world as well as enjoying it. His writing and public voice influenced many decisions in conversation including establishing Yosemite as a national park. Another one of his big achievements involved taking President Theodore Roosevelt on a three day camping trip into Yosemite. Exposing the President to the wonders of this magnificent place, he convinced Roosevelt that wild places should belong to the public and be protected by law. This supported the changing attitudes at that time, going against the ideas that wild places were dangerous and only good for their economic resources.
On Saturday 21st April, John Muir would have been 180 years old. John Muir Day is a chance to celebrate his achievements in changing the attitudes of people towards conservation and appreciate his efforts to protect the wild places we still enjoy today.
As our celebration of this pioneering conservationist, Naturedays are now officially offering the John Muir Award to school groups and our Nature Club. The nationally recognised award is coordinated by The John Muir Trust, which supports people in conserving and protecting wild places for everyone to enjoy. There are three levels of the award, and each one requires candidates to Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share a wild place over a set time period. Whether it is your back garden or a Munro, this award encourages people of all ages and abilities to engage with their surroundings and to take responsibility for them.
As a member of the Naturedays team myself, I have recently been trained in delivering the award so that we can make sure our work meets its requirements. As a team, we are looking forward to delivering this award to some of the groups we work with regularly as well as achieving the award ourselves, and I can imagine some of the rangers will be queuing up to join in!
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir
Naturedays is an environmental education project supported by The Aigas Trust for Environmental Education and based at Aigas Field Centre. Each year we work with up to 5000 children from the Highlands of Scotland, ensuring that everyone can enjoy learning outdoors. For more information on Naturedays, please visit www.naturedays.org, or visit https://www.justgiving.com/aigastrust if you wish to make a donation.