At the end of November, the John Muir Trust celebrated a landmark achievement when Sarah Oswald, a senior pupil from Balfron High School in Stirlingshire, became Scotland’s 100,000th John Muir Award recipient. Here Toby Clark, the John Muir Trust’s John Muir Award Scotland Manager, celebrates the Trust’s main people engagement scheme.
This is a fantastic achievement, and something that everyone at the John Muir Trust is really proud of. However, this milestone could never have been reached without the thousands of organisations who have worked with the Trust since the Award was launched in 1997.
From universities to prisons, and schools to health agencies – an army of amazing teachers, community workers, volunteers, rangers and youth leaders have invested their time and energy into introducing people from all backgrounds to Scotland’s wild places.
The John Muir Trust has benefitted from excellent long-term partnerships too. We value continuing the 10+ years of investment with the Cairngorms National Park Authority, and more recently with Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. And since funding the John Muir Award feasibility study back in 1995, Scottish Natural Heritage has continued to play a vital role in supporting the Trust.
Everyone involved in delivering, managing, and supporting the John Muir Award can be immensely satisfied with this achievement.
However, it is not just about celebrating the top line figures. Behind every statistic is an individual personal experience in wild places. 100,000th Award recipient Sarah Oswald (aged 16) said, “I really enjoyed doing the Award. My favourite wild place was Aberfoyle in the National Park, it was just so different and peaceful.”
We believe that helping connect people with the peace and beauty of wild places is something that John Muir would have been proud of. As we look back on 100 years since John Muir’s death, it is fitting to celebrate 100,000 John Muir Award achievements. People from across Scotland have followed in Muir’s footsteps, and we look forward to encouraging this awareness, understanding and responsibility for wild places with the next 100,000 participants.
The John Muir Award is a leading nature engagement scheme run by the John Muir Trust. It was launched in 1997 to help people from all backgrounds to connect with nature, and enjoy and care for wild places. www.johnmuiraward.org