“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can” – John Muir
On Monday the FSC Scotland team met up at Kindrogan for some very special training; a day of working with Alan – outdoor learning officer at the Cairngorms National Park – getting to grips with the world of John Muir and the work of the John Muir Trust. The team got out and about to trial some new activities, getting out into the wild and reminding ourselves just why we love to teach in the great outdoors.
I have to admit, I was already very excited to get involved before Alan arrived. As far as I can remember, not one explorer, new or old, has grabbed my attention in the way John Muir has. This great Scottish naturalist and traveller, whose accounts of the world come across with more boyish enthusiasm than the dry 19th century prose of his day. The lad from Dunbar, who travelled across the sea to the Americas, who had such a great influence on the preservation and documentation of the natural environment; the man who took President Roosevelt camping and inspired the creation of the Yosemite National Park and later the Sierra Club. In my mind, he has always been more relatable, with his constant amazement and love for the wilderness, and I have been all the more encouraged because of it.
The life and writings of John Muir have inspired many to get out into the wilderness to explore and experience the world outside, encouraging people to connect with the environment and care for what is hidden there. The John Muir Award aims to continue to inspire people of all ages to connect with the natural world, whether on your doorstep or out in the wilderness. By encouraging people to Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share the environment and its wonders, it enables individuals to carry on Muir’s work of preserving our wild-spaces and motivating others to do the same.
Working in conjunction with the John Muir Trust, FSC Scotland offer visiting students the opportunity to gain their first John Muir Award whilst visiting one of our centres. During your stay you will be able to Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share all the wonders of our wild locations, getting you as close to the wilderness of John Muir as it is possible to go. We’ll invite you to explore the history of our centres, get up close and personal with the wildlife, and move through the wild in a new way – whether up in the trees or floating on water. You’ll work as a team to overcome challenges, enjoy the solitude of the wild spaces, and achieve something you can take home with you.
For more information on John Muir or the award, have a look at http://www.jmt.org/.
Afterword: In our opinion, the best part of Monday’s training was the discovery that you can achieve a John Muir Award at any age, and we have begun to plan our own. For my first award I hope to be exploring the exciting wildlife of the Scottish Highlands from here in Kindrogan. I’ll keep you posted on my progress, so watch this space!