Classes that we offer

 

Ancestral skills: Skills for connection

“Most of us think of belonging as a place outside of ourselves, that if we keep searching for, that maybe one day we’ll find it. But what if belonging isn’t a place at all, but a set of skills, or competencies, that we in modern times have lost or forgotten.”

From ‘Belonging: Remembering ourselves home’, by Toko-PaTurner. 

Wild Awake runs classes for individuals and groups which aims to draw you away from the city and the pressures of modern day life, back to the land where you are freely able to explore your own connection to place. At the heart of these skills lies the real learning: community building, grief-tending, cultural regeneration and rewilding.

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We firmly believe that it is through practising the skills of our ancestors, those who knew the land so intimately and recognised their place within it, that we can strengthen our connection to the earth and all its inhabitants. Through practising these hands-on, creative skills we can flex our own ancestral muscle memory and recognise ourselves as the creative, problem-solving and resilient beings that we are.

Through these classes, we aim to provide authentic, transformational and immersive experiences which contribute to personal growth, community building and real skill development.  

We try to make these workshops as eclectic and as interesting as possible, with the emphasis being to unplug, relax and reconnect to yourself, each other and to nature. We also tend to sing. A lot.

Examples of activities include:

  • Foraging for wild food and medicine- Learning how to safely identify and process wild plants into food and medicine.
  • Wild cooking- cooking without modern equipment. In the ground, with hot rocks, in leaves, on embers.
  • Making fire without matches- friction & percussion fire methods. Exploration and preparation of wild tinder.
  • Green woodwork- Learning how to safely use a knife, or flint, to create useful and beautiful objects from wood.
  • Wildlife Tracking and awareness activities- Exploring the tracks & signs left by the more-than-human creatures.
  • Wild animal processing with respect and cookery- How to process animals for food, tools, craft & more.
  • Hide tanning (Deer skin, sheep skin, rabbit, fish leather). I practise both fat and vegetable tanning processes.
  • Bone craft (Making tools from animal bones)
  • Basketry- Using a diversity of wild harvested plants and trees.
  • Making string from wild plants- where would we be without string?

If you would like to organise a workshop for yourself and some friends or colleagues, please do get in touch with us and we can figure out what’s right for you.

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Rewild in the City


The Phoenix Park is awaiting your discovery… Booking here

Here is home to deer, mice, badgers, foxes, buzzards, sparrowhawks, owls & squirrels. A place rich in tree and plant life, as well as fungi, lichens & mosses.

In this abundant playground we will reclaim our food and medicine, cultivate our childhood curiosity and expand our awareness through the learning of ancestral skills, nature connection activities and community building.

Each month, we will focus on a new theme or skill which connects us to our environment, as well as to our ancestral past and a more sustainable future.

Themes for 2019/20:

November 9th: Wildlife tracking & awareness activities (Deer rut)

December 15th: Prehistoric lighting techniques

January 12th: Burn out spoons

February 16th: Celebrating the Birch (Tapping for sap, making fire and medicinal mushrooms)

March 8th: Fish skin tanning

April 19th: Wild Food & medicine

May 10th: Fire by Friction (Make your own kit and learn how to use it)

Suitable for ages 16+

Who?

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m the founder of Wild Awake & Phoenix Forest School. I describe myself as an ancestral skills teacher, ethnobotanist, wildlife tracker and forest school practitioner. Over the past 3 years, I’ve been lucky enough to spend extended periods of time living wild in nature-based community, learning ancestral skills as well as cultural healing practises for this time of the Antropocene. I’m passionate about rewilding and rekindling the skills and knowledge we once knew so intimately which connect us to this land, each other and ourselves as a means of promoting cultural and environmental resilience.

Where, When and How long ?

Our Gatherings will take place in The Furry Glen, Phoenix Park. A clearing set among majestic old growth beech trees and bordered by woodland,streams and open grassland, only a stones throw from the city. We will come together for four hours, 11-3 pm. Suitable for ages 16+

Cost:

Suggested Donation 35 euro. We want these days, and these skills, to be accessible to everyone. If you require sliding scale please contact us for a chat and we can organise something.

Safe space:

These days are inclusive for people of all abilities and backgrounds to learn and share together. We are queer-friendly, straight-friendly, race-friendly, gender-friendly, age-friendly—just plain friendly! If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, please talk to us.

Ethnobotany

“Plants are also integral to reweaving the connection between land and people. A place becomes a home when it sustains you, when it feeds you in body as well as spirit.

To recreate a home, the plants must also return.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

We provide seasonal foraging walks & workshops across the country. These can range from a simple 2 hour walk & talk, with tastings at the end, or a more in-depth exploration of how plants can be processed into food, medicine or craft materials. Lucy’s particular focus lies with the practical ethnobotanical uses of plants, trees, fungi and seaweeds in Ireland and further afield. Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship between plants and humans. Not only for food but also for medicine, craft, fire-lighting, natural navigation, wildlife tracking, basketry, rope making, dying, textiles, tanning, inks and paints, torch-making. The possibilities offered to us from the plant and fungi kingdom are endless and the tales and customs associated are just as fascinating!

Sustainability and respect for nature is at the heart of what we do and so we can explore and maintain this land whilst creating something unique that we can be proud of.

Lucy is a member of The Association of Foragers.

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In recent years, foraging has become somewhat of a trend and the number of people offering foraging workshops has grown and grown. As a foraging guide, it’s interesting to hear what draws people to forage. Knowing what to eat and how to survive ‘when shit hits the fan’ is one reason, but the vast majority are doing it for reasons beyond this. A lot of the people I meet simply want to connect with nature, to understand where our food comes from, to have access to more nutrient rich foods, and to consume fewer chemicals and pesticides. A return to the land and the use of such plants and diversities of flavours is, in my opinion, no bad thing. It’s rekindles our creativity and enables us to return to a more wild or natural state. Breaking free from our urban domestication and reconnecting ourselves to our local heritage.

Please get in touch if you would like to organise a wild plant walk or workshop for you and some friends, colleagues or any other group you are a part of. I offer tuition on plants in a diversity of habitats as well as seaweeds and fungi. We will not only explore the wild uses for food and medicine but also for crafts such as dying, cordage, fire-making, folklore and value to wildlife.

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Foraging course participant

“Thank you so much for today. I was absolutely blown away by your love of the subject. The way it seemed to inform your wider understanding of the universe, life, ourselves and the symbiotic relationship that has kept us all here was a joy to watch!
I am so tired of knowing nothing, and you raised my spirits this evening! Hurrah!”

Forest School for schools or youth groups

Forest School is a wonderful way to encourage your pupils to spend time outdoors in all weathers. Activities can be linked to your Green School awards as well as other curriculum topics.
We can provide one-off school tours to our site. This way you can see what it’s all about before committing to a longer programme. These 3 hour visits usually include plenty of nature-inspired games, tool use & fire lighting. We also provide space for free play where the children can explore our site and the learning opportunities it offers.

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Learning through the seasons…

“Forest Schools has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and through play, who have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others.” Sarah Blackwell FSE

We recommend weekly visits of between 6-10 weeks. Long programmes mean more opportunity for learning and for us to facilitate deep nature connection. We witness the development of resilence, team work and care for the earth in all of our programmes.

During our school programmes, we aim to work closely with the school teacher so that they can integrate what’s learned at Forest School into their classroom syllabus. Forest School doesn’t need to stop when you leave the woods.

It is our hope that Forest school is an immersive process which will have a lasting impact upon a child.

Activities may include;

Nature-inspired games and sensory awareness activities; to foster connection with ourselves, each other and nature.

Wild edibles and medicines: learning to forage safely and ethically; making teas, medicines & wild cooking on the fire.

Fire craft: using fire steels and experience how fire by friction is created. Learning about keeping ourselves safe around fire & how we can creatively harness its power to make bowls, spoons, food, and much more.

Tool use and craft: learning how trees & plants can provide us with materials that we can get creative with. Participants will learn how to safely use tools such as knives, saws, secateurs & drills.

Den building: working together to build group shelters and learning the basics of outdoor living.

Rope work: Learn how to tie knots to create fun play structures to swing, balance or climb on.

Animal track and sign: Get camouflaged, learn how to stalk like a fox and explore the traces left by animals who share the woods with us

Playing together in the woods inevitably brings up lots of opportunities for personal & community development such as; Consensus decision making, conflict resolution, setting boundaries & consent. These will be approached in an age-appropriate way.

Check out our work with Hedley Montessori School who have been attending Phoenix Forest School for the past three years. They come twice a year for six sessions each time.

Forest School parent (Child still enrolled, 2 years on!)

“Where do I start… Forest School has been the most exciting adventure for my ten year old. Not just because it keeps her off the laptop (when nothing else can…) she’s enjoyed every minute of it. She’s asked to go back during the week to explore the forest, show off the den, look for more frogs. she’s experienced the park in a whole new way. Please keep it going for as long as you can”

Susie Ahern Gray- Montessori Director

“My children attend Lucy’s Forest School with their school every week once a week and just adore it. This was thanks to their very innovative teacher / school Principal who discovered this incredible Forest School. My children rave about their experiences so much I had to try it with my pupils at my own Montessori School and I’m so happy that I did.It’s magical experience . Lucy has a wonderful way with the children. The setting is idyllic. We can’t wait to return.”

Phoenix Forest School

Phoenix Forest School is located in the beautiful surroundings of the Furry Glen in Dublin’s iconic Phoenix Park. We have been offering Forest School programmes for children aged 4 and up since 2015.

We provide forest school programmes for people from all walks of life. We also run weekly after-school groups and host Forest school CPD days for adults, Training for teachers and college students.

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Groups we have worked with in the past include: Montessori schools and preschools, Educate Together schools, DEIS schools, Family Support Centres, At-risk teens, Transition Year groups, International college students, Traveller Youth (Exchange House), Women affected by poverty and addiction (Saol Project), Families in Direct Provision, Teacher training (Educate Together Teachers, Liberties College Early Childcare Education students, Sallynoggin college students).

We are very grateful to all those who have come to play in the woods with us.

Why Forest School?

Here at Wild Awake, we believe that Forest School as an ethos of learning most suits our aspirations for the future generations. In our experience, Forest School fosters creative & resilient individuals by supporting them to make the choices that are right for them.

We understand that it takes time to build a relationship, whether that it is with yourself, the people around you or with nature. Therefore, we appreciate the importance of long term, regular contact in a natural environment.

We value play and understand the importance of sitting around a campfire listening to one another as much as reaching for that next branch up the tree. We see the value in risky play and support people to assess risk for themselves. We teach how useful a knife can be when we learn how to carve safely, we share the wonders of fire and guide people to harness that magic for themselves, we introduce our plant and animal mentors and let nature be the guiding force.

The Irish Forest School Association has beautifully outlined What is a Forest School as well as what happens at forest school here

If you would like more information for a group you work with, please do get in touch to discuss what we can offer for you. You can come to our woodland site in the Phoenix Park or we can come to you!

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Forest After-School Group

A year round, weekly after-school group in the Phoenix Park where children are free to explore their own curiosity in nature. Happening on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

All of our After-School programmes are fully booked for this year. If any spaces come available they will be announced here and on our facebook.

Camps - click to open

Our camps run during school holidays for two main age groups; 5-8 year olds and 9-13 year olds. We aim to provide a fun and relaxing learning environment for children in the outdoors where they can spend time making new friends, learning new skills and creating lasting memories.

Camps take place at our woodland site in the Phoenix Park where we have access to an indoor toilet, a campfire for warmth, tarps for shelter and water for drinking (or sliding down mud slides!)

Camp activities change with the seasons and we make sure to allow space to explore learning opportunities as they arise. As such, there is never a set schedule of activities but some of what we may explore includes:

Wild edibles and medicines: learning to forage safely and ethically; making teas, medicines & wild cooking on the fire.

Fire craft: Learning how to safely create and manage a fire to suit your needs.

Tool use* and craft: Learning how to safely use tools such as saws, knives, drills, secateurs. Using these tools to create beautiful objects from wood. *Tool use is closely monitored and supported.

Den building: Working together to build group shelters and learning the basics of outdoor living.

Animal track and sign: Get camouflaged, learn how to stalk like a fox, explore the traces left by animals who share the woods with us and what we can learn from the birds.

Nature-inspired games and sensory awareness activities to build deep connection to self, each other and to nature.

Playing together in the woods inevitably brings up lots of opportunities for personal & community development such as; Consensus decision making, conflict resolution, setting boundaries & consent. These will be approached in an age-appropriate way.

And our course plenty of campfire stories, songs, chats and jokes!

Families

We offer opportunities for families to spend time together in nature, to have fun and to incorporate nature connection activities into your day to day lives. It is also a brilliant opportunity for parents to meet like-spirited people and for their children to play together freely, wildly & muddily!
We work with ages 4+ and offer a range of events including; family forest days, wildlife tracking, bushcraft & foraging.
All events announced here and on our Facebook page.

Family day participant

“Honestly our one day at camp was fantastic. It was like getting blissfully lost in my own back garden. Four hours of peace, quiet, connection and fun. I think your school brings it back to basics- blocking out all the noise, stress and distraction of the everyday and making it about just being in the moment while letting the children explore and play. Rather than just being a park open to the public, your school makes a difference because it actively engages with people to see the park in a different way”

Family forest day participant

“I loved the freedom it offered and the time and space given over to allow everyone to create and explore”

Contact Us

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rewild - reawaken - reconnect