John Muir Award. Always a pleasure!!

Nov 11, 2019




For the second time in 2019 the Geography department took away 30 Year 10s and a handful of Sixth Form geographers to discover the wonders of the New Forest with the intention of gaining the additional qualification of the John Muir Conservation Award.

The students conducted themselves in a respectful and fun manner throughout the experience; despite the torrential rain which lasted ALL 4 days. With constant rain the students could have been negative, instead all students embraced the outdoors and completed all the tasks! Once again the students were a pleasure to spend 4 days with; continuing the tradition of this being the best trip for staff in the geography calendar!

To explore the wild spaces of the New Forest staff and students carried out morning and night-time walks, high ropes, low ropes and treasure hunts, as well as learning how to survive through shelter building, bush craft and the campfire. Most importantly, they learnt how to conserve the environment while still enjoying their surroundings. Students carried out vital work in the centre’s sensory garden and worked on the pond to see what the different species were who inhabit it – the water spider and the dragon fly Nymph (fondly named Timmy) were amongst the favourites! Each night students completed their conservation booklets before their evening activities, which helped them to consolidate how each activity met the criteria of the award. We completed the final night with lots of presentations, Pizza and popcorn, with two poems written and read by Ben Ayling (Year 10) and Jasmine Angus (Year 11).

Congratulations to all the students and staff who completed the award this year; Vandyke Upper School is the only school in central Bedfordshire currently achieving this award; something they can all be very proud of.

Ben’s Poem about the new forest:

The wild unleashes you

It swirls you inside

It traps you; a dutiful circle

it opens you to a whole new world


The soothing rain inspires you

The birds snare you with emotions

The wind is strong but is soothing

The rain is a life force that all creatures desire

For all the power and the glory the swell of the natural forces is truly wholesome.


Mrs Moore, Team Leader of Geography

 If you want to follow more of team geography and our adventures then please follow us on twitter @vandykegeog or Instagram @vandykegeo

Post by Angela