John Muir Award


Down the Woods and the John Muir Award


What is the John Muir Award?


The John Muir Trust is a charitable organisation that exists to preserve and protect wild spaces. The Award is a framework to plan outdoor and conservation work within, and an individual certificate awarded to each student on completion.  The award is split into 4 sections:


  • Discover - find a wild area. This can be a school field, a local woods, or somewhere further afield if preferred.

  • Explore - learn more about the chosen area. This might include doing tree identification, looking at habitats or doing invertebrate surveys.

  • Conserve - students are encouraged to give something back to nature - whether it's litter picking an area, creating new habitats by planting trees/building bug hotels or uploading wildlife survey information to national databases. The most important part of this is for students to understand WHY they're doing it.

  • Share - this can be something like keeping a journal throughout the project, creating a piece of artwork to display at school, holding an assembly, writing a blog, inviting parents in... Anything that shares the message of the work the pupils have been doing.

  • The activities listed above are ideas only – the Award should be designed on an individual basis depending on the wants and needs of the group, and of the chosen environment.  


The John Muir Trust ask for a commitment of 28 hours for the award, and as Award Providers Down the Woods would undertake all admin necessary. The John Muir Trust are counting on us to make sure that groups spend the minimum time asked, as they want the award to have quality and integrity.


How might this look for you?

This 28 hours can be spread how you  feel best fits your school and the Award is extremely flexible, some potential suggestions are highlighted below:


Possible Option A

2 hour sessions delivered over a term (either in school or as part of an after school group)

Possible Option B

5 full days – either in a one ‘wow week’ block or spread throughout the year

Possible Option C

1 hour sessions across a term, with homework tasks set for the group to complete in their own time (e.g. make bird feeders at home, do a bird or tree survey, create a poster to discourage littering etc).

Finally, The John Muir Trust feel that the award is best suited to children in upper KS2.


More detailed information on the John Muir Award can be found at: