John Muir Award at Goddard Park Community Primary School

Year 5 pupils have starting carrying out exciting nature Missions in order to achieve their John Muir Award.

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John Muir was born in Scotland in 1838 and moved to America aged 11, where he died in 1914. As a child he developed a deep love of the natural world. Later on, he became aware of threats to wild places and helped set up National Parks.  Muir was a bit of an all-rounder. He was an explorer and adventurer, a mountain climber, a botanist, a writer, and a dreamer. Muir went on adventures like a 1000 mile walk and tying himself to a tree-top in a storm. He also had a very impressive beard. Muir might seem a distant historical figure to some, but his message – that we all need to experience, enjoy and care for wild places – is as relevant today as it ever was.

To achieve the award the children have to explore, discover and conserve nature and share what they have learned. Each year 5 child will spend and afternoon a week for two terms a year carrying out missions in the school wood and grounds.

If the first term the children learned how to safely use tools to cut back brambles to clear a path; chose their own special tree and wrote a poem about it; learned to light a fire without matches; built dens and set up a trading system between groups; sawed logs and made wooden jewellery. They climbed trees, argued, made up, had fun and grew in confidence. They have a greater appreciation of nature and the school wood. Some of the boys volunteered to come and pick up litter in the wood in their own time!

Next term a new class will start their award. Many of the missions will involve celebrating winter in the wood and using traditional wood crafts to make presents and decorations - and there will definately be some den building in there too.



Ruth Parsons