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Beards, bubbles and invertebrates

John Muir Discovery Award at Jacob’s Gill, Cumbria in partnership with Linnet Education

Back in August 2020 while the UK slowly eased out of Lockdown, a ‘bubble’ of children from Cumbria headed a few miles south of Carlisle to Jacob’s Gill – a quiet wooded ravine with a stream running through it – in pursuit of their John Muir Discovery Award.

The group spent four days discovering, exploring, conserving and sharing this fascinating landscape. (They also discovered that John Muir – revered father of the national parks – had an impressive beard, so wore fake ginger versions in his honour!)

I never knew there was so many living things in Jacob’s Gill!

Watch the video to see how they cleaned rubbish, conducted surveys for living things in the stream, tested the water quality and learned how to construct insect and hedgehog hotels from sticks, string and discarded garden furniture. 

They also created a lasting legacy in the landscape, making a living willow structure and using a felled tree to create an outdoor seating space for the local community to enjoy.

This project was run by the Trust’s Susie Grainger who is based at Lowther, our partner estate in Cumbria. It was delivered in partnership with Linnet Education, a science and nature-based educational organisation who provide alternative school education to children and young people unable to attend mainstream school.

Each child successfully achieved their John Muir Discovery Award, which is part of an environmental award scheme that encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places.

We’re here to show them something they didn’t know existed, they go away and know what it’s all about and they’ve learned something completely new.
Susie Grainger, Outdoor Learning Officer at The Ernest Cook Trust