Tribute to John Muir to be unveiled at Makars Court today

One of Scotland’s greatest natural scientists, conservationist and campaigner, John Muir, will be commemorated at Makars’ Court at 11:30am today with the unveiling of an inscribed flagstone quoting his work at the Edinburgh courtyard.

The flagstone, which has been sponsored by The John Muir Birthplace Trust, will bear the inscription:

John Muir (1838 –1914)

I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.

This newest addition to the growing literary monument will be unveiled at a special ceremony by the Provost of East Lothian, Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, at the invitation of Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture & Sport Convener.

John Muir will be the thirty-eighth Scot to be commemorated at Makars’ Court since the first stone was laid in 1997 and he will join an illustrious group of writers including Sir Walter Scott, Dame Muriel Spark, Gavin Douglas and Sorley MacLean.

Muir (1838-1914) is known as a great natural scientist and campaigner who laid the foundations of the modern conservation movement and the world-wide practice of establishing national parks. During his lifetime he wrote over 300 articles and 10 books and his writings have helped to create a conservation movement that lives to this day.

Born in Dunbar in 1838, John Muir emigrated with his parents to Wisconsin in the United States in 1849, where he later campaigned for the preservation of natural environments.  Muir received considerable recognition academically being awarded honorary literary degrees by Harvard, Wisconsin, Yale and the University of California, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters made him one of its first members in 1898.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture & Sport Convener, said: “It was always our intention that Makars’ Court could be encouraged to grow and develop into a Scottish national literary monument to celebrate Scotland’s greatest writers.

“Pioneer of the modern conservation movement, John Muir’s influence on national parks and nature writing gives him a much-deserved position within Makars’ Court.”

John Thomas, Chairman of the John Muir Birthplace Trust, said: “John Muir was a truly great Scot and the City of Edinburgh is to be congratulated on celebrating his writing with a flagstone in the Makars’ Court alongside other great Scottish writers.

“Prescient of modern environmental concerns it is through his writing that Muir has opened our eyes to the importance of wilderness and wild land for our survival and well-being.

“Always retaining his Scot’s tongue, Muir’s rich and colourful language resonates with an infectious enthusiasm for nature while showing great insight into its complexities. 

“Through his writing he led the way in campaigning for wild land to be recognised at the highest levels in America resulting in the establishment of the national parks, one of the pillars of modern culture and practice across the world.”

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