Explorer Club gets tooled up!

3 January 2018

Tammy Andrews, Family and Youth Volunteer Co-ordinator for the North York Moors National Park, explains what the project entails and how the highly commended prize money received in Campaign for National Park’s 2017 Park Protector Award has been spent.

The North York Moors National Park’s Explorer Club has had a fantastic 2017. The project was launched in 2012 as a way for the National Park to engage with families. As members of the Explorer Club, the families get the opportunity to learn about the wildlife and different habitats in the Park and help to care for them by taking part in practical conservation tasks.

The Explorer Club celebrated its fifth anniversary in August 2017. Since it started, it has enabled over 50 families to carry out more than 60 practical work tasks which equate to in excess of 1000 volunteer days! This in turn has resulted in over 140 people receiving a John Muir Discovery Award certificate.

Favourite activities include natural artwork, rock pooling, litter picking and clearing cross drains. The children particularly enjoy sessions where they can get dirty!  By introducing children to volunteering at a young age, it is hoped they will develop a love of nature and a greater understanding of what is involved in protecting it for future generations.

Clearing cross drains on the Cleveland Way National Trail. Photo credit: Explorers Club.

Once the families have completed their six Explorer Club sessions, they become Explorer Volunteers. Activity and practical work task days are held in order to provide them with opportunities to continue engaging with the North York Moors National Park. In 2018 we are hoping to increase the number of Explorer Volunteer days we hold as it gives the different families the chance to meet up and work alongside like-minded people. In addition to this, some families choose to continue with the John Muir Award scheme while others become adopters in our award winning Cleveland Way Adoption Scheme project. 

One of the highlights of the project for the children involved is being given the experience of using ‘grown-up’ tools.  Many people would be horrified at the thought of letting a four year old use a folding saw but the children are taught how to carry and use them safely.  The Explorer Club has a small set of different child-sized tools such as spades and sweeping brushes. However, for some tasks, we have to limit the number of children who participate as there are not enough tools or turn down jobs because we don’t have the appropriate tools. Therefore, we were pleased to win a high commendation in the 2017 Park Protector Award.

Tammy and members of the Explorer Club receiving  the high commendation Park Protector Award from minister for National Parks, Lord Gardiner and John Showell of Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust.


We have used the prize money to purchase a range of tools suitable for smaller hands. These included small loppers, shears, rakes, and gloves! These tools have already been put to good use in a recent hedge trimming session which was carried out by some of our newest Explorer Club families. 


Some of the latest Explorer Club members using some of the new tools. Photo credit: Explorers Club.


One job the Explorer Club families carry out every year involves them raking up cut grass in wildflower areas at the National Park’s two visitor centres. In the past, we have borrowed wheelbarrows and ride-on tractor and trailers from a local playgroup. The prize money has enabled us to buy our very own child wheelbarrows and ride-on tractor and trailers.

All that remains for me to do is try to work out how to put them together as they came flat packed!  Although I am sure if I take some electric screwdrivers along to the next Explorer club session, I will have lots of little volunteers willing to help out!

By Tammy Andrews, Family and Youth Volunteer Co-ordinator for the North York Moors National Park.

Find out more about the Explorer Club here.