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John Muir Award

An environmental award scheme encouraging people to connect with, enjoy and care for our wild places

The Cairngorms National Park is a fantastic place to complete your John Muir Award and learn all about what makes the Park special.You can participate as a group (suitable from upper primary level and above), family or individual. It is non-competitive, inclusive and accessible.

“One day’s exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books” John Muir

Four Challenges lie at the heart of the John Muir Award:

  • Discover a wild place
  • Explore it
  • Do something to conserve it
  • Share your experiences

The wild place could be anywhere in or around the Cairngorms – from a local pond, wildlife garden or school grounds to remote moorland or mountain top wilderness areas.

Who can take part?

The John Muir Award is open to all, regardless of age or background, and free to everyone! It has been set up to make it possible for a wide range of groups to explore the Cairngorms National Park, to take some responsibility for conserving it, and to share these experiences. It is particularly suited to schools (upper primary and secondary), voluntary and community groups who are visiting the National Park.

There are three levels of John Muir Award requiring more commitment and effort at each progressive level: Discovery, Explorer and Conserver.

We recommend that you get involved at the Discovery Award level which requires 4 days or equivalent time commitment to complete.

You also have to find out about John Muir and the John Muir Trust. John Muir was the founding father of National Parks so learning about the Cairngorms National Park is an essential part of your John Muir Award.

How to get started

Getting started with the John Muir Award is simple and straightforward – just follow these steps:

  1. Choose a wild place
    This could be the Cairngorms in general or you could decide to focus your activity on one specific wild place.
  2. Fill in the John Muir award proposal form
    Download the proposal form from the John Muir Award site and fill in the details. Page 1 is all about you, when you are going to visit and a general idea of what you are going to do. Page 2 asks you to describe how you are going to meet the four Challenges of the John Muir Award. Once you have filled in the form email it to Alan Smith.
  3. Get active
    Come to the Cairngorms National Park and have a fantastic adventure discovering and exploring all it has to offer.
  4. Request your certificates
    Download the John Muir Award certificate request form, fill it in, email it to Alan Smith and we will have the certificates made up and sent out to you.

In the Spirit of John Muir

This inspiring film was made by Zeki Basan, a Cairngorms NP Junior Ranger, about travelling in the footsteps of John Muir in Yosemite NP as part of his John Muir Conserver Award. Find out more about the Junior Rangers.

Do you have any other questions?

JMA Case studies
Examples of how some schools and initiatives have used the John Muir Award

JMA Resources

John Muir Award and Curriculum for Excellence

For more information on the John Muir Award in the Cairngorms National Park contact Alan Smith, JMA Manager for the Cairngorms Tel: 01479 870518

John Muir Award website