East Ayrshire Council has begun a new educational project with the John Muir Trust as part of John Muir Day celebrations.
Launched today (21 April 2017) the partnership will promote the John Muir Award, highlighting and maximising the potential of learning outdoors.
It aims to increase outdoor learning activity and help close poverty-related attainment gap.
Scots-born John Muir is considered to be the founder of the modern world conservation movement and the world’s national parks system.
John Muir Day celebrations (held between 15-23 April) are an opportunity to mark his birthday, 21 April 1838, as well as celebrate his legacy and continued relevance today.
Alan Ward, East Ayrshire Council’s Head of Education said: “It’s fitting that we are launching our partnership on John Muir’s birthday.
“People can relate to different aspects of Muir – as an adventurer, storyteller, campaigner, engineer, naturalist or writer. But for me it was his courage to follow his own path in life to make a positive difference to the world that can help inspire our young people.
“His message today is as relevant now as it was almost 200 years ago – that we all need to experience, enjoy and care for our natural environment.”
Lorna Sloan has been employed by the John Muir Trust as a John Muir Award and Attainment Project Officer to support East Ayrshire schools to improve young people’s health, literacy and numeracy – especially those less advantaged in society – as well as local environments.
She added: “We’re excited to partner with such a progressive local authority. Through partnerships with the Duke of Edinburgh Award, The Trust for Conservation Volunteers and now with the John Muir Trust, East Ayrshire Council is leading the way in recognising and supporting outdoor learning for all pupils.
“We can’t wait to get started.”
Shahmirr Mirza and Melody McMichael, S3 pupils at St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock helped launch the partnership on what would’ve been the bearded conservationist’s 179th Birthday.
Shahmirr wore a Muir-beard in honour of the special day and Melody shared a #JohnMuirDay placard.
Melody said: “It’s good to get out of the classroom into the fresh air. I think I learn stuff better when I’m having fun too.”
Shahmirr added: “All over the world nature is getting destroyed so it’s important that we do our bit to help preserve it. Nature is important – it gives us food we eat and air we breathe.”
For more on the John Muir Day celebrations, and ideas on how you, and your family & friends can get involved, visit the Discover John Muir website and search social media using #JohnMuirDay. https://discoverjohnmuir.com/muir-events/