Complete your John Muir Discover Award and/or the Residential Section of your Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award
Spend a week at Hudnall Park learning a range of practical conservation skills while making new friends and learning more about yourself.
The John Muir Award Conservation Residential Course offered by Services for Young People is an educational five-day, four-night residential course at Hudnall Park for young people aged 16-24. The activities are focused on wildlife and nature conservation, and you will also be supporting the habitat improvement part of the Go Wild at Hudnall project. The courses are held during the school holidays throughout 2023.
On the course you will learn about the wildlife at Hudnall Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Chiltern Hills. You will have the opportunity to carry out conservation work with data collection and learn bushcraft skills in one of the woodlands. There may also be an opportunity to visit Whipsnade (ZSL) to learn about the conservation work they do.
The John Muir Award is a national environmental award scheme that encourages people from all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places by meeting the four challenges of Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share. The three levels are:
Discover Award – 25+ hours
Explore Award – 50+ hours
Conserve Award – 125+ hours
The course will give you the time commitment to complete your John Muir 'Discover Award'.
Alternatively, if you are doing your Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award, it is an ideal way to complete the Residential section. Please check with your DofE Leader that they are happy to approve this activity.
This course is also ideal if you are thinking of further study involving wildlife, ecology or conservation, or just want to improve your general nature skills.
The course will also help you to develop skills that will be useful in other areas of your life, such as:
Working as a team
No prior experience is necessary, all we ask is that you have an interest in nature, conservation or the environment and a ‘have a go’ attitude.
Please note: If the minimum number of six participants has not been reached two weeks before the start of the course, the course will be cancelled and any payments made will be refunded. We will keep you informed if this is likely to happen.
Lunch, welcome and introductions, safety talk and ice breakers.
Familiarise yourself with your surroundings and get to know your team.
Discuss personal aims and objectives for the week.
More about the John Muir Award – who is John Muir?
An evening walk in the woods for a night-time exploration of this magical ancient habitat.
Time will be given to complete your John Muir diaries
A talk about conservation at Hudnall Park and the traditional land management activities practiced here.
Get involved in the conservation activities around Hudnall Park such as hedge laying and species monitoring
Mammal trapping - an introduction to the use of Longworth traps and small mammal surveys
Complete your John Muir diaries
After checking the mammal traps in the morning, you’ll be driven to the Chilterns where you will go on a nature walk to explore the amazing geographical features of Ivinghoe Beacon and the surrounding area. You will collect data on flora and fauna which can be used for national databases, and perhaps do some art, sketching or photography.
Considering the impact that climate change may have on these areas.
An evening wildlife walk to see bats, deer and badgers. We will place some cameras around the site to record footage of the local nocturnal wildlife.
Complete your John Muir diaries
Visit to Whipsnade Zoo
John Muir Diaries
An evening woodland fire – a chance to relax around the campfire and reflect on your experiences of the week and maybe toast a marshmallow or two.
Collect wildlife cameras and watch the footage
Bird ringing demonstration
Finalise your John Muir diaries and presentations
Reflection and final review of the course
Please note: to ensure safe and quality learning experiences for students, the timetable may change depending on weather conditions and local factors at the centre.