The John Muir Award at Derwent Hill

Mill Hill Primary School choose to do the John Muir Award, alongside an Explore course at Derwent Hill.

In January, Mill Hill Primary school, Sunderland, included the John Muir Award on their Explore course at Derwent Hill.  In this blog, we talk about what makes the John Muir ethos element so special.

What is the John Muir Award?

The John Muir Award initiative encourages people to connect with, enjoy, and care for wild places.

Pupil sitting on a boulder drawing the bluebells

How is the John Muir Award included in a residential course for young people at Derwent Hill?

A residential Outdoor Education course at Derwent Hill is a powerful learning experience which helps young people to be ready for the challenges of school, work and life.  Young people develop confidence, resilience, personal and social skills and teamwork.  They widen their horizons, develop their character, and take away a reservoir of experience from which they draw back at home and school.

Our courses are about real adventure and personal development.  When the John Muir ethos element is added to our standard courses, it provides a focus for exploration and conservation.

Young people take part in a practical conservation project, usually on a local farm that has won national awards for its work in encouraging biodiversity and the week culminates in the young people preparing and giving a presentation in order to share their experiences.Pupil with arms outstretched by a big waterfall

Mill Hill Primary School recently completed a 5 day Explore course with the John Muir Award.  The week was packed full of environmentally focused adventurous activities in and around the beautiful English Lake District World Heritage Site.  The pupils (and staff) ‘discovered’ and ‘explored’ the local scenery:

  • Gorge scrambling provided an exciting and immersive experience in a picturesque mountain stream
  • Canoeing on Derwent Water gave a taste of journeying and adventure
  • Hiking up the beautiful Lakeland fells exposed the pupils to some stunning scenery

Allowing everyone to truly appreciate the wilderness experience!

Derwent Hill and the John Muir Award….”provide our children with a real experience that we could never provide in the classroom.  The focus the Award provides allows our staff to prepare the children for real hands on activities.  When we return to school the opportunities for further study complete the circle”

Dean Marshall, Head Teacher, Mill Hill Primary School

Pushing personal boundaries on the big swing, exploring underground in an historic mine, learning to navigate and read a map contributed to the extensive list of new challenges that the pupils faced.

Primary pupils huddled together among the mountains learning about geology

Paul Barnes, a local farmer, provided a visit to remember at Black Wood Farm, allowing one and all to contribute to the conservation and preservation of a delicate and beautiful habitat. Sharing all of these wonderful experiences with others contributed to a truly challenging and memorable week enjoyed by all.

If you would like to find out more about how the John Muir Award could add value to your course, please contact us.