Nine people from Luton have been awarded the John Muir Award, following the completion of Gaining Green Skills through the John Muir Award, a 12 week course.
The course was run by Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire and Mind BLMK, with the support of Luton Borough Council and with funding from The Luton Trust Community Learning Fund.
It is aimed to help adult learners increase their confidence and improve their mental wellbeing through exploring conservation and wildlife in the award winning Wardown Park and some of Luton’s other green spaces.
Over the past three months, the team participated in a range of activities, which included learning about the history of Wardown Park, constructing wooden insect homes, completing a tree survey, and weaving bird feeders out of willow.
They were also able to develop information-sharing skills, using media such as photography, creative writing and learning how to display information for the public to see.
Vicky Duxbury, Environmental Education Officer for Groundwork Luton and Bedfordshire, said: “It is well documented that getting outdoors is good for your mental wellbeing, and this course has certainly shown that this is true.
“We have had lots of positive responses from the learners as to how much better they were feeling after attending the weekly sessions.”
Cllr Mohammed Ashraf, Luton Borough Council’s executive member with responsibility for parks, said: “We were extremely pleased to host this project in one of Luton’s Green Flag parks.
“Luton’s parks and green spaces are extremely important to the health and wellbeing of local people and provide opportunities for relaxation, meditation and quiet contemplation.”
On Tuesday July 30, the nine participants who completed the course were presented with the John Muir Award, which is an environmental award launched in 1997 which focuses on celebrating wild places.
The presentation took place as part of the group’s final session when they celebrated their achievements at a small event in Wardown Park.
The event included afternoon tea at the Summer House and a presentation about the project to invited guests – a great way of acknowledging the achievements of the participants.