A NEW award scheme has been launched to help families discover and explore wild places.

The Family John Muir Award, run by the North York Moors National Park Authority, began earlier this month and involves families completing four challenges.

It is an offshoot of the internationally-recognised John Muir Award, an environmental award scheme that encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places.

Heather McNiff, head of education and youth engagement at the authority, said: “For many of us the desire to get out and explore nature has gone through the roof, particularly since we have all been stuck at home.

“So why not get involved with this fun and challenging scheme and help your children learn what it means to enjoy and protect nature.”

To achieve the Family John Muir Award everyone taking part needs to complete four challenges - discover a wild place; explore its wildness; conserve its wildlife; and share experiences.

The wild places can be a backyard or garden, local parks, beaches, woods or rivers and doesn’t have to be in the National Park.

Families will have to commit to a minimum of 30 hours spent in their wild place, perfect for the long summer holiday.

Heather added: “If you’re planning on staycationing this summer make sure you give this a try.

“There’s plenty of activities to occupy eager young minds and it will really help you and your family get the most out of our wonderfully wild spaces.”

The award isn’t competitive but is still designed to challenge each participant, particularly energetic little ones; each family will receive a certificate at the end.

Families will receive regular updates on ideas to get discovering, exploring and conserving and a dedicated Facebook page has been set up to help them share their experiences and discoveries. Taking part is completely free, including access to lots of fun resources.

To find out more, visit northyorkmoors.org.uk/familyjohnmuiraward or familyjma@northyorkmoors.org.uk