Rory Stewart MP has today awarded ten home-educated children from the Penrith area with the John Muir Award, a certificate which acknowledges the work that the young people have undertaken over the course of five weeks spent in the Lake District National Park and learning about how to care for the environment.

As part of the Penrith home educators group, the children, aged 11-15, have undertaken a number of activities for the John Muir Award included visiting Haweswater to explore woodlands and the lake, joining staff from United Utilities to discuss the reasons behind the making of the reservoir, and working with the RSPB to gain a knowledge and understanding of local woodlands. They also took part in litter-clearing and worked with a local artist to produce artwork based on their visits to the woods.

The John Muir Award is an environmental award that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet adaptable scheme. The Award is not competitive but should challenge each participant. Taking part will develop an understanding of, and responsibility for, a chosen wild place or places. For some this will offer an opportunity to explore values and spirituality. The John Muir Award encourages them to enjoy and care for our environment and on their final visit to the woods the young people cleared a number of bags of litter.

Rory Stewart MP said: “I am a great admirer of the John Muir Trust, which recognises our link between the conservation of our landscape, and our interaction with it, and personal growth. I am very proud to be able to personally congratulate these young people on the work they have done in obtaining this wonderful certificate, which is a marvellous recognition of our connection to the landscape and its manifold benefits to us all, whether we live in rural or urban areas.”

Graham Watson, manager for the John Muir Award in the Lake District said: “This was a great opportunity for these young people to visit the National Park to learn and understand the different demands on our landscape. The challenge to balance these for both nature and people are very much in the ethos of John Muir. Well done to them all!”

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