John Muir Award
For the second year running Vandyke Upper School has become the only school in Central Bedfordshire to successfully achieve the John Muir Award in conservation. The Geography team organised a four day residential on 3th – 6th November in the New Forest for Year 10 GCSE geographers to complete this additional qualification.
The John Muir award is an environmental award scheme which encourages persons of all ages to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places. Four challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award. Each participant must discover a wild place, explore its wildness, conserve by taking personal responsibility and share their experiences with others; it has 3 levels, Discover, Explore and Conserve. To complete each level individuals (or groups) must complete a proposal form explaining how they plan to meet the criteria. The group leader or individual will then provide evidence of this once they believe the award criteria has been met.
Students and staff had a fantastic time exploring the wild spaces of the New Forest through 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. To this end each group helped the New Forest by creating Bug hotels which the Avon Tyrrell centre will use to educate younger children on the nature within the New Forest. Furthermore, the students honed some of the vital skills needed for their GCSE through map skills and geographical enquiry.
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, Popcorn and a dance session – Mrs Moore is still trying to learn the moves!!!
The students were great ambassadors for the school, engaging in all activities and showing how polite and well-mannered Vandyke students are! We are still investigating the next levels of the award with the help of UK Youth Action and the Greensands trust. We will inform Year 11 and Year 10 John Muir discover award holders of the opportunities for this as soon as we have details.
Team Leader of Geography