Ciara Hinksman, founder & trainer
Ciara Hinksman owns and runs Forest School Ireland – formerly Earth Force Education, founded in 2009. In 2008 she lived off-grid in Co. Kerry for three months immersed in bushcraft, nature awareness and sustainable living practices. She went to the first Art of Mentoring camp in the UK, based on the work of Jon Young and the 8 Shields Institute. Subsequently, she travelled extensively in the UK and USA meeting and learning from nature connection mentors, powerful youths, and Elders. Truly inspired by these people Ciara wanted to be part of bringing connection to nature, to self, and to others, back home. Her passion is facilitating place-based, learner-centred development through story, wildlife, plants, crafts and play whilst also following the natural cycles of our seasons and lives.
After coming across Forest School in the UK, in 2013 she hosted the OCN Level 3 Certificate Forest School Leader training for the first time in R.O.I. She has since become an associate trainer with Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC and is the founding chair of the Irish Forest School Association.
Ciara is overjoyed to be part of the growing movement of Forest School and it’s community of practitioners in Ireland and around the world. Together we are working towards empowering people of all ages to develop and grow in community and in relationship to the Earth.
Lucy O’Hagan, training team
Lucy O’Hagan is the founder and director of Wild Awake, an organisation which seeks to rekindle cultural and environmental resilience through the (re)learning of ancestral skills in nature. As part of this organisation, Lucy also directs the Phoenix Forest School, located in Dublin’s iconic Phoenix Park, and True Nature Youth Rites of Passage programmes.
Lucy has been fortunate enough to train, work and dream with Ciara Hinksman since 2015. She is an associate forest school leader trainer with Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC and is so excited about the future development of Forest School in Ireland.
Lucy feels most at home wandering through the woods, following deer trails and nibbling on what nature has to offer. You can see more of her work at www.wildawake.ie.
Lucy Bell, training team
Lucy Bell is co-founder of GROWing Wild, a Kildare based environmental education company, specialising in organic school & community gardens, local organic food projects, living willow, biodiversity & native habitat projects and forest school. Lucy is an organic horticulturalist, a horticulture tutor, environmental educator and a qualified Forest School Leader and associate forest school leader trainer with Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC.
Lucy is the co-author of ‘The Year-Round School Organic Garden’. Lucy is a Heritage Specialist for the ‘Heritage in Schools’ scheme. Lucy facilitates ways for people, both young and old, to connect to nature through school organic gardens and native habitat development, forest school, wild foraging, woodland trips, living willow work and bushcraft skills. You can see more of her work at www.growingwild.ie.
Liz Tiernan, forest school practitioner
Liz grew up spending any and all of her spare time outside, fascinated with wildlife and animals, watching what animals do and how they live and studying nature for the joy of it.
She went on to UCD and got her Science degree there- a BSc honours degree in Zoology- the scientific study of animals- the study of animals and their relationship with their environment, their evolution, their biology. She has worked with early years groups in nature connection and is currently finishing her Level 3 Qualification as a Forest School Leader now. She believes the benefits we as humans derive from connection with woodland and the natural environment are numerous and are vital to our optimum health- both physical & psychological and that when children spend time in the woodland enjoying themselves and learning more about nature, they can start to understand their roles as stewards of the forest and of our natural world which is so important right now.
Liz works as a forest school leader with Forest School Ireland’s Home School and After School programmes.