Achieving an Award

You can participate with an established group - with a leader who organises things for you - or you can get involved on your own. To gain a John Muir Award you meet Four Challenges

Discover a wild place

This can be a school/centre grounds, local park, beach, woods, river, wildlife garden, mountain or national park.

What gives the place(s) its natural character? What makes it special?

Why is it a suitable place for your Award activity?

Explore it

Increase your awareness and understanding. Experience, enjoy and find out more about your wild place(s).
You might:

  • Visit at different times of day and night, in different seasons, alone or with others.
  • Travel extensively – walk, camp, bike, canoe.
  • Sit, look, listen - engage senses.
  • Identify and find out more about landscapes, habitats and living things (biodiversity), and how they connect.
  • Make maps. Take photographs. Research local geology, natural and cultural history.

Conserve it

Care for your wild place(s), take some personal responsibility, make a difference, put something back.
You might:

  • Take practical action for nature - wildlife or pollution surveys, litter picks and audits, tree or shrub planting, grow plants for wildlife or clear invasive plants, create or monitor habitats…
  • Campaign and educate to highlight an environmental issue or help protect a wild place.
  • Apply minimum impact approaches to your activity.

Share your experience

Tell others about what you’ve done – experiences, achievements, feelings, what’s been learned. Celebrate!
Reflect, review and discuss your adventures and experiences in wild places – do this during as well as after, informally or more formally.
You might:

  • Make a display of photos, drawings, stories, poems, artwork.
  • Make a group diary – as a book, wall display or film.
  • Organise a presentation.
  • Lead a guided walk around your wild place(s).
  • Use newsletters, websites and social media.

Levels of the John Muir Award

These four Challenges are repeated for each level, with increased involvement in duration, activity and responsibility. They encourage a progressive involvement.

Discovery Award

4 Days

(equivalent) minimum time commitment

Explorer Award

8 Days

(equivalent) minimum time commitment

Conserver Award

20 Days

(equivalent) minimum time commitment, over at least 6 months

To achieve a John Muir Award:

  • meet all four Challenges
  • complete the required time commitment
  • show enthusiasm and commitment
  • have an awareness of John Muir
  • understand what the John Muir Award is and why they are participating

Award Criteria

On the John Muir Award website you can:

  • Watch a 10 minute introductory film
  • Find Resource Guides with links and ideas
  • Look at case studies and films of how others get involved with the John Muir Award

John Muir Award website