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John Muir is a Scottish-American naturalist who is known as “John of the Mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”. Aside from being a naturalist, he was also an environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and one of the proponents for advocating the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America. He also authored several books about his field of expertise.
See the fact file below for more information on the John Muir or alternatively, you can download our 22-page John Muir worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- His popular writings were about his adventures in nature, particularly, in Sierra Nevada.
- Muir’s activism influenced the preservation of the Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park.
- He founded a prominent conservation organization called the Sierra Club.
THE BOYHOOD OF A NATURALIST
- John Muir was born in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland, on April 21, 1838.
- He was the third child of Daniel Muir and Ann Gilrye.
- He had seven siblings – Margaret, Sarah, David, Daniel, twins Ann and Mary, and Joanna.
- John Muir recalled his happy boyhood in his autobiography.
- His description included short walks with his grandfather and playful fighting as they reenacted romantic battles from the Wars of Scottish Independence. He also described time spent at the playground and hunting for birds’ nests.
- Muir’s family was a religious one, but young John fell in love with nature early on in life. This would distract him from Bible studies, and it was believed that this one reason why young John became prone to lashings.
- At an early age, John became amused with the East Lothian environment and landscapes as he spent time roaming around the local coastline and countryside.
- Later on, he became interested in reading the works of Alexander Wilson, a Scottish naturalist.
- Aside from Wilson, Muir also enjoyed and cherished the works of Thomas Carlyle, a satirical writer, historian, and philosopher. He also enjoyed the poetry of Robert Burns.
- It was believed that he carried a collection of poems by Burns as he traveled the wilderness later in his life.
FROM SCOTLAND TO AMERICA
- The Muir family immigrated to the United States in 1849.
- The family started a farm near Portage, Wisconsin. The farm was named the “Fountain Lake Farm”.
- The Fountain Lake Farm was later recognized as a historic farm, and it was designated as a National Historic Landmark on June 21, 1990.
- The motive of their immigration was believed to be due to religious considerations. According to historian Stephen Fox, Daniel Muir felt that the Church of Scotland was insufficiently strict in faith and practice. Thus, he decided that the family would immigrate to join a congregation of the Campbellite Restoration Movement.
- In 1850, Muir enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, where he took his first botany lessons.
- Muir studied chemistry in his freshman year. Muir’s professor was Ezra Carr, along with his wife, Jean.
- Muir developed a lifelong friendship with the couple mentioned above, as they shared interest in science.
- Muir had an unusual selection of classes and was deemed an irregular student.
- He never graduated, but history proved that he educated himself well, particularly in the fields of geology and botany.
WHAT GOES ON IN A NATURALIST’S MIND?
- Muir’s father made him read the Bible everyday, as he recalled in his book, The Story of my Boyhood and Youth.
- Due to this religious upbringing, he memorized three quarters of the Old Testament, as well as the whole New Testament.
- However, Muir’s theological beliefs transformed as he dwelled more on nature. Muir believed that studying nature is a way of understanding God, and he believed that the environment “came straight from the hand of God”.
- Muir also believed that civilization is distinct from nature, just as urbanity is distinct from wilderness. However, Muir concluded that “wild is superior”.
- Muir also believed that nature is our home, as he often used the term “home” as a metaphor pertaining to both nature and his attitude towards the “natural world itself”.
- This belief was reflected in his writings, as he often used domestic language to describe a scientific observation.
- John Muir looked at nature as his own home, and believed that nature provided a home for every living organism.
- Muir did not ignore even the smallest detail. He once declared, “The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly. No wonder when we consider that we all have the same Father and Mother.”
DEATH AND LEGACY
- On December 24, 1914, John Muir died at California Hospital due to pneumonia. He was 76 at that time.
- John Muir published over 300 articles and 12 books in his lifetime. He wrote books describing his experiences in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada.
- As an activist, his efforts helped preserve wilderness areas, such as the Yosemite Valley and the Sequoia National Park.
- The Sierra Club, the prominent organization he co-founded, helped establish a number of national parks after his death.
- Muir has earned several titles, such as the “patron saint of the American wilderness” and its “archetypal free spirit”.
John Muir Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the John Muir across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use John Muir worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about John Muir who is a Scottish-American naturalist who is known as “John of the Mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”. Aside from being a naturalist, he was also an environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and one of the proponents for advocating the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America. He also authored several books about his field of expertise.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- John Muir Facts
- John of the Mountains
- Truth or Trash
- Activism Timeline
- Nature Vocabulary
- Muir’s Influences
- Differentiating Terms
- Quotes About Trees
- Notable Naturalists
- Observation Notes
- Dear John
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Link will appear as John Muir Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 7, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.