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.


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