John Muir Award

John Muir Award

Circle of Life Rediscovery have been offering the John Muir Award at Discovery and Explorer Level since 2006 – the first organisation in Sussex to offer this prestigious national environmental award. Since then hundreds of young people have achieved the Award which at it’s heart recognised young people’s connection with, enjoyment of and care for wild places.

We can offer this Award alongside our camps, woodland programmes and Forest School programmes.


The John Muir Award is a national environmental award that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet adaptable scheme. The Award isn't competitive but should challenge each participant. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.

The Award is open to all, and is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust.


Four Challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award. To achieve an Award each participant must:

  • Discover a wild place
  • Explore its wildness
  • Conserve - take personal responsibility
  • Share experiences

How can the John Muir Award be used in schools?

The Award can be used as a framework for learning on a one-off basis, or as a progressive scheme over a year or more. There are three levels, each based on meeting the same Four Challenges (see above). Schools have used the Award:

  • In experiential studies of a specific subject area such as geography, science, social studies, art, music, English, maths and IT.
  • To help ‘join up’ cross curricular learning.
  • To give focus and structure to a residential course, field trip or visit and help provide links between remote and school-based activity.
  • To support wider themes across learning - such as personal learning and thinking skills, global citizenship and sustainability - by providing an experiential context.
  • To recognise achievement.
  • To develop and support links between pupils, families and the wider community.

Click here to find out more how the John Muir Award can support experiential learning outside the classroom.

John Muir Award Information Film from John Muir Award on Vimeo.

Participants should show enthusiasm and commitment, and have an awareness about John Muir.

There are 3 levels of the Award, encouraging a progressive involvement. The same 4 challenges are repeated for each level, with increased involvement in time, activity and ownership.

1. Discovery Award (introductory level) minimum 4 days
2. Explorer Award (intermediate level) minimum 8 days
3. Conserver Award (advanced level) minimum 20 days over 6 months


Read the Information Handbook here and please get in touch!

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Circle of Life Revisited Image

"My son is completely different since camp, he has more thinking space inside his head, he is calmer, he has changed."
Parent, March 2019.

"Some of the activities were challenging but you really guided me through and encouraged me to overcome my fears."
Camp participant, 2018.

"It actually felt good to be away from my phone and I feel I have a new appreciation for the natural world, I see the world differently now."
Camp participant, 2018.

"Children who struggle to communicate become eager to speak and full of things to say, they have started to notice their world around them and make links to their experiences they have not been able to do before. I have seen timid children become brave and full of things to say. We have seen amazing results in writing and creativity. We have all loved it!”
Sharon Cliff, Head of Early Years - Ringmer Primary School.

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