Our vision is to see the Earth wild again.
In ancient Ireland trees were held sacred by the people. Native forests of oak, ash, elm, birch, pine, alder and hazel trees flourished across Ireland’s landscape. The chieftain trees were the most revered and it was a crime to cut them down. By 1900, less than one percent of these woodlands remained. We want to see them return and create sustainable and long term ecosystems for wildlife.
We fundamentally believe that more heads are better than one. We aim to create a community of diverse thinkers, collaborating to find creative solutions to environmental issues and restoring the earth.
The first step in building towards this vision is simple, get people planting trees. We aim to inspire tree planting locally but also connect with landowners who are happy to donate their land to wilding projects. We are also looking to promote sustainable and ethical businesses that share our values.
Luke Heron, also known as Celtic Fox, is a forager, naturopath and student Herbalist based in Ireland.
He was born and bred in an Irish household in France. He was lucky to have been able to enjoy the freedom of the countryside in a small village in the middle of the Champagne region called Essômes-sur-marne. He spent most of his time outside and was surrounded by local stories about animals, plants and their value. He just generally ran wild in the local forests and through the vineyard hill. His life’s journey brought him to a full dedication to nature. It began after leaving his career behind which he worked in for over a decade after moving over to Northern Ireland. He fell ill, both physically and mentally while working religiously 5 days a week, 9am to 5pm, in between the four walls of an office. After a decade of living under the pressures of modern life and having bad lifestyle habits, his health was down the chute, he never spent time outside and his stress levels where off the chart.
It was thanks to his (re)discovery of a more natural lifestyle and the determination to get better that he found his health again. He received great help and support by herbalists and peers who both treated him and taught him so much.
He wanted to be three things as a child: a gardener, a chef and a doctor. He was told back then that it was impossible, yet here he is, studying and on his journey to becoming a registered clinical Herbalist. A career encompassing all three of his passions. Now that he’s much happier, empowered and ambitious, he wants to share this wonderful new perspective of life with those who will listen through his experiences, workshops, walks and talks.
Wild Awake Education aims to rekindle environmental and cultural resilience through the (re)learning of ancestral and traditional skills in nature.
It is grown from the belief in the need to preserve wildness in ourselves, in our landscapes and in our cultures.
We run classes and offer nature connection programmes to people from all walks of life. It is no secret that Nature-deficit disorder, a term coined by author Richard Louv, is something experienced by many of us in this age. A love of nature and a wish to share that with people, to inspire effective earth stewards, is at the heart of what we do. We envisage a future where our relationship with the earth is founded in compassion, dignity and respect.
Wild Awake recognises the provenance of these skills and teachings from our ancestors as well as the practises of indigenous peoples. It is not our intention to culturally appropriate from native peoples, but to create community and ceremony that actively engages in a reciprocal relationship with the more-than-human world. We believe that these skills lose their meaning when practised in isolation and that it is the efforts of a community which can create a better world for our future generations as we face a warming and changing planet.
We hope that you will join us on this journey in recognising ourselves as a part of nature, not apart from it.
Sean Fitzgerald is an Irish artist living in the North West of Ireland. His illustrations are mainly based around nature, folklore, decay, incorporating intricate Celtic knotwork and stippled patterns. He has his heavily illustrated book “The Last Battle of Moytura” out now on Hill of Tara Press.
He is also the co-editor of ‘Airmid’s Journal’ a zine about Irish foraging, folklore, myths, magic and remedies. He currently illustrates and researches Irish megalithic sites and folklore.
The Gaelic Woodland Project is raising money through the International Irish Community to buy land in Westmeath to afforest; this new woodland will be planted with the Native Woodland Scheme Grant, filled with native flora, and dedicated to Ireland’s scattered generations.
Our approach will tackle Ireland’s carbon emission deficit by increasing carbon sequestering in new broadleaf forestry; our wilderness strategy will help native wildlife by linking old-growth vegetation in the area with green corridors, exponentially increasing biodiversity and habitat.
We will offer the Diaspora a piece of their ancestral land; it will be a living memorial to the struggles and triumphs of their families and be the beacon that welcomes home their children for generations to come.
We hope to collect thus far unrecorded family stories in our Irish Immrama Archive and name the woodland after an Irish Immigrant. QR codes will be placed at certain trees so visitors can rest and read their stories.
The central woodland will be the flagship in our operation; a commemorative standing stone will be placed at its center in 2045, on the 200-year anniversary of the Great Famine.
We will simultaneously promote and share Irish tales, language, music, lore, crafts and encourage nationwide rewilding as we manifest the idea of a green and wild Ireland that is often imagined but rarely experienced.