Northumberland group celebrates first Conserver Awards

Three Young Rangers from Seahouses Youth Project became the first people in Northumberland to achieve the highest level of the John Muir Award.

Like the shoreline near John Muirs childhood home in Dunbar, the Northumberland coast has no lack of wildness. Three Young Rangers from Seahouses Youth Project discovered this over the three and a half years they have volunteered with the Project. During that time Alex Barker, Andrew Tipple and Laurence Reeves progressed through the levels of the John Muir Award and this summer they became the first people in Northumberland to be awarded the highest level of the John Muir Award, the Conserver Award, through an organisation.

Seahouses Youth Project works with the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to get young people aged 13 to 21 out into a wide variety of habitats along the regions coastline, and links this activity to the John Muir Award framework discover a wild place; actively explore it; do something to conserve it; and share your experiences. The Youth Project has been involved with the John Muir Award since 2006 and uses it to promote awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, frame their diverse activities, and celebrate the Young Rangers achievements.

For their Conserver Awards the trio transformed an area of neglected land into a refuge for wildlife and a resource for community learning and enjoyment. They planted native trees and shrubs and built boxes for hedgehogs, birds and bats. The Young Rangers produced a heritage trail booklet which features a map, history of the area and species specific fact sheets. The group also designed educational tools such as quizzes which they shared with nearby schools and playgroups.

The Conserver Award recipients were among nine Young Rangers to receive John Muir Awards at different levels during a celebration event at Bamburgh Castle Hotel in Seahouses. Along with their John Muir Awards, the Young Rangers received certificates in first aid, manual handling and tree felling.

Project Manager, Shirley Wright said: We encourage young people to try new things, and this certificate is testimony to Andrew, Laurence and Alexs sheer hard work and dedication. We congratulate them on this wonderful achievement.

The John Muir Award is supported in North East England by a partnership between Durham County Council and the John Muir Trust. The project is funded by Natural England through Access to Nature, as part of the Big Lottery Funds Changing Spaces programme.

Photo: Alex, Laurence and Andrew with their Conserver Awards (photo: Seahouses Youth Project)

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