John Muir Missions Day
John Muir is known as 'Father of the National Parks' in the USA. Born in Scotland, he moved to America at the age of 11 where he developed a lifelong passion for exploring and documenting his adventures in natural wilderness. He is recognised as a the 'founder of the conservation movement', campaigning to promote ecology and raise understanding of our connection to nature. The award in his name encourages young people to discover and explore local greenspaces and then actively encourage others to connect with, enjoy and care for nature. Anyone can complete the award at any time; all you need to do is complete four challenges over 25 hours. Click here to find out more about the award.
The Junior Park Rangers began the day with an icebreaker game with St. Andrew's Church Youth Group (based in Great Linford Manor Park), who are also completing their awards. All of the children then enjoyed a short walking tour of the newly restored parkland and the play sculptures which have recently been installed in the park. Meanwhile the Youth Rangers helped us out with a litter pick walk across the park. Everyone joined together for a trust exercise, with Youth Rangers leading Junior Park Rangers around the park's Wilderness area with their eyes shut. This simulated John Muir's loss of eyesight, a result of an accident, which he later regained. The exercise encouraged the rangers to focus on their other senses, which were heightened when eyesight was taken away.
For the second half of the session, the young people carried out conservation activities, creating a stumpery in the park's walled garden, and enriching a flowerbed with woodchip in St. Andrew's churchyard. The stump garden will become a valuable habitat for invertebrates and we hope to see some stag beetles there in the future. The walled garden, where the stumpery resides, can be found to the rear of the Almshouses, just off the Arts Centre car park. At the end of the workshop, everyone came together to make wood-cookie pendants to share what they had learnt.
The day was both rewarding and enjoyable, and we were lucky to have the sun shining throughout.