Prestigious explorer award for students

The New Naturalist Education Programme is delivered by experienced rangers and amateur naturalists.
The New Naturalist Education Programme is delivered by experienced rangers and amateur naturalists.

Environmentally-minded teenagers from Morpeth and Hexham are celebrating after completing a special outdoor education scheme led by the Northumberland National Park Authority.

They have each achieved the nationally-acclaimed John Muir Explorer Award.

The group of eight students, seven from King Edward VI High School in Morpeth and one from Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, received the accolade after completing Northumberland National Park’s ranger-led New Naturalist Education Programme, which is designed to give youngsters with a passion for nature and the environment an opportunity to learn new skills and gain a valuable insight into pursuing a career in the environmental or countryside sectors.

Using different sites throughout the National Park, they attended 10 sessions over a six-month period involving different aspects of natural history – from mammals, invertebrates and wildflowers to ancient trees, fungi and river life.

KEVI Year 11 student Georgia Gorbould said: “It was one of the best experiences of my life. From plants, to birds, to lichens and wax caps, to moths and spiders, I enjoyed every last minute.

“There was so much I learned and my eyes have truly been opened for perhaps the first time to what’s right in front of me if I should look for it.”

Northumberland National Park is now on the hunt for another group of enthusiastic young volunteers to enrol on its programme for 2019.

For more details, call Rosie Thompson on 01434 341188 or email learning@nnpa.org.uk