Adventurers lead the way

Published on: 03 Mar 2014

When it comes to caring for England's largest national park outdoor adventurers are leading by example.

Students and staff from The Outward Bound Trust's centres at Ullswater and Howtown have been exploring the fells and getting stuck in to conservation and restoration work, resulting in national recognition.

Their efforts have led to the centres receiving prestigious certificates from the John Muir Trust.

Although visiting groups are looking for adventure and learning, they are encouraged through the John Muir Award scheme to appreciate and understand the landscape and give something back, explained Nick Austin, the centres' deputy head.

He said: "Last year they collected 200 bags of litter from fells, woods and lakeshores, did the lion's share of maintaining nine kilometres of upland paths and removing two hectares of Himalayan balsam and other damaging invasive species.

"We use the awe inspiring landscape to provide impactful and memorable adventures that equip young people with some of life's essential skills such as resilience and confidence. It's therefore only natural that we put something back and care for that landscape. And even more important we involve our students. It enriches experiences and adds to their achievements.

"The John Muir Award has been the perfect way to make this happen and recognises our students' efforts."

Making the presentation on Thursday, Lake District National Park Authority member Judith Cooke said she was pleased The Outward Bound Trust's long-standing commitment to the countryside had been acknowledged.

She added: "National parks are rightly the most protected of our landscapes and the Lake District is one of the oldest and most spectacular. John Muir and the awards named after him celebrate these very special areas, the space, beauty and all the people who look after them.

"This certificate is a key recognition of the work done in Ullswater. I am delighted to be able to thank everyone and make this presentation."

Also attending were pupils and staff from St Mary's Menston school near Bradford. Teacher Sue Keinhorst enthused about the learning and confidence her pupils gained from their visit to the National Park and how they enjoyed achieving their own John Muir Awards.

For further information on the John Muir Award scheme, contact Cumbria manager Graham Watson on 01539 792653, email cumbria@johnmuiraward.org

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