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John Muir Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography

Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

'In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.' This is a quote from John Muir, who many consider the father or our national parks. Read on to learn more about this inventor, farmer, writer, and naturalist.

John Muir's Early Life

John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, on April 21, 1838. His father was a very strict and religious man who made Muir and his brother memorize the Bible. When Muir was 11 years old, his family moved to Wisconsin, where they had a farm on which every member of the family worked for long hours. This is perhaps where he fell in love with nature. Muir also enjoyed creating things, including a machine that would tilt him out of bed in the morning. Talk about an effective alarm clock!

After entering some of his inventions in a contest, he attended the University of Wisconsin. After three years of college, he left to explore the country.

This photo of John Muir was taken in 1875.
Photo of John Muir in 1875

Tragedy Leads to Inspiration

After traveling for a bit, Muir found a job at a factory. Unfortunately, there was an accident that left him blind for several months. After he regained his sight, he realized his true love was nature and the wilderness. He began traveling again, and this time he wrote about what he saw as he explored the world.

Could you imagine walking for 1,000 miles? John Muir didn't just imagine it; he actually did it! He walked from Indiana to Florida, where he became sick.

After recovering from his illness, Muir made his way to California where he had heard of beautiful lands, such as Yosemite, a large area of land in California. In 1868, he found a job at Yosemite and fell in love with it and the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range located along the eastern edge of California. At the time, Yosemite was not a national park yet.

Muir began publishing his writings, catching the attention of other famous writers, actors, and politicians. In 1880, he married Louie Wanda Strentzel and later had two daughters, Wanda and Helen. He helped make the Strentzel family's fruit ranch a success. After settling down for a bit, Muir set out to travel the world again. He eventually came back to California, where he spent the rest of his life working to conserve, or save, natural environments. John Muir died on December 24, 1914.

A waterfall at Yosemite National Park.
Picture of a waterfall at Yosemite Park

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