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Wild about conservation

A new resource is encouraging young people to explore and preserve local nature spots. Emma Seith reports

A new resource is encouraging young people to explore and preserve local nature spots. Emma Seith reports

A new resource shows how the John Muir Award, an environmental award scheme, can be used to help deliver Curriculum for Excellence.

Groups undertaking the award can complete a range of activities across curriculum areas, such as building bat boxes in technology, measuring trees in mathematics, or surveying wildlife in the school grounds for science.

The resource, an eight-page guide complete with visual mind map, has been endorsed by the chief executive of Education Scotland, Bill Maxwell, and education secretary Michael Russell.

The John Muir Award is a successful environmental award scheme that encourages people to connect with, enjoy and help care for wild places. To achieve an award, each participant engages in a range of activities that encompass the following four challenges:

- Discover a wild place - this can range from school grounds to mountain tops.

- Explore it - in an active way.

- Conserve a wild place - take personal responsibility.

- Share your experiences.

Nearly 5,000 school pupils in Scotland complete a John Muir Award each year. Among them this year was a group of pupils from Lochgilphead High in Argyll who helped launch the new resource.

Lochgilphead classroom assistant Gordon Dickson says: "The pupils really valued achieving their John Muir Award. You could tell they were proud. They also experienced many challenges and loved being able to help in the conservation of the wild places they were learning about and enjoying."

Stuart Brooks, chief executive of the John Muir Trust, says he hopes the guide will encourage more schools to engage with the award.

"At the Trust, we recognise the value and importance of helping people of all ages and backgrounds connect with the natural world around them," he says. "Through the John Muir Award, we encourage this in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration."


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