East Devon youngsters will discover, explore, conserve and share a range of experiences at Easter

East Devon District Council’s two SWITCH youth groups have a fun, action packed time ahead of them at  Easter when they will be undertaking a number of different environmental themed challenges to earn a John Muir Discovery award.
John Muir was a Scottish born environmental activist , conservationist, botanist and journalist during the 1800s whose passion for wild places led to a lifelong quest to protect them.  The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme (run by the John Muir Trust), which encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places. The award has four challenges at its heart – Discover, Explore, Conserve, Share.
Over a period of four days (31 March, 1 April, 7 April and 8 April), the youngsters will discover more about East Devon’s World Heritage site, as well as explore the local countryside in order to earn this coveted award. 
In Sidmouth and Exmouth, the groups will learn about the coast and the River Otter, and will undertake a number of activities, including camping and canoeing, designed to help them learn more about the environment.

Two exciting walks, as part of the exploration and discovery part of the award, will ensure the young people explore our amazing environment. The first group will walk through Seaton Wetlands to the coastal path and on to Beer before heading inland towards the Beer Quarry Caves and camping near Branscombe. 

The next day they will walk through the hills ending at the Donkey Sanctuary and back into Sidmouth via The Byes. A second group will walk from Littleham in Exmouth along the paths to Budleigh Salterton and up the River Otter to camp near Otterton. The following day they will take the coastal path to Ladram Bay and then over High Peak into Sidmouth. 
The final part of the award will take place at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, where students will use their new found knowledge in a conservation art workshop, based on the style of the artists being shown in the gallery.
Councillor Jill Elson, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities said:

Our Countryside and Community Development teams have organised these events as part of the John Muir award scheme. It’s a wonderful opportunity for these youngsters to learn more about the local habitat through a structured, yet challenging programme.

We would also like to thank Clinton Devon Estates, Devon Young Outdoor Club, Beer Quarry caves, Hawkridge Birds of Prey and Liquid Motion for giving us the opportunity to make these challenges happen.