Who is behind CELT and how did it start?
CELT (Centre for Environmental Living & Training) have provided training, education and awareness-raising in traditional and ecological skills since 2001. Our whole ethos is to encourage individuals and communities to live a more sustainable way of life by providing skills and knowledge aimed at increasing personal capacity and community resilience. Our Weekend in the Hills (and previously Weekend in the Woods) skills training events have captured the imagination of thousands of people, many of whom have made repeat visits to learn additional skills - and many of whom have used skills they have learned to develop employment opportunities. These events have regularly won funding awards from The Heritage Council.
We recently entered the Bord Failte Tourism Awards (Best Environmental Initiative) and we would like to share the entry with you. We feel it sums up perfectly what CELT is about, and what we aspire to be. Click here to read it.
We have provided traditional and ecological skills exhibitions nationwide at shows, fairs and festivals, including Electric Picnic and Body & Soul festival, reaching a wide and diverse audience. CELT craftspersons have also exhibited their skills in Northern Ireland, England, France and Switzerland - this has helped to show elements of Ireland's eco-tourism potential. In 2013 CELT achieved runner-up position in the national Green Awards (eco-communities section). Our biodiversity-related projects have also made a huge impact.
In collaboration with Tuamgraney Development Association and Woodland League (and with support from Clare County Council) we have developed Tuamgraney Community Woodland Wildlife Park. This project won funding awards from The Heritage Council and the Forest Service and came 2nd in the national Pride of Place (eco-communities) competition 2014. We also helped the local community to put together a Local Biodiversity Plan.
In 2012 we did a biodiversity report for the Mooghaun Project (Newmarket-on-Fergus), helped to develop their nature trail and provided a hands-on crafts exhibition for their Heritage Day. We have also provided regular guided walks with native woodland specialists on behalf of local communities, including Tuamgraney, Scariff and Killaloe and recently for the Brian Boru Millenium Festival.
CELT Native Tree Nursery, created in 2007 with the help of an award from the Forest Service, has grown from strength to strength. We specialise in native trees and shrubs of certified Irish origin (very important for biodiversity), including hedging plants, and we offer advice and help with planting. Also the nursery has a selection of fruit and nut varieties suitable for agroforestry or forest-gardens.
With the help of a funding award from Department of Environment (through Irish Environmental Network), we have established three small agroforestry projects in East Clare where we provide basic training for landowners and farmers in ways to integrate trees into agricultural or horticultural systems for the mutual benefit of both trees and vegetables / grazing. We aim to show the great potential for agroforestry in Ireland where trees grow easily and well and a properly designed system can more than double the overall yield from an area of land - giving a win-win-win situation for environment, economy and climate.
CELT are a member of Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and through this organisation receive annual core funding from Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).
CELT is a member of the Environmental Pillar and has made input to policy, interacting with government departments, other environmental NGOs and local authorities. We have provided information stands showcasing our activities at a number of political events and we have supported environmental campaigns with provision of information and assistance with fundraising.
Bob is a founder-member of CELT.
Bob represented CELT on the IEN Board of Directors. Much of his work is advocacy, connecting with 26 other environmental NGOs and submitting policy recommendations to local and national government departments and also
campaigning for sustainable living practices and a clean, healthy environment. Bob is also a dry stonewall tutor.
Bob says "I appreciate the wonders of nature, enjoys making and listening to a wide variety of music, like a lot of art and enjoy good food, wine and real ale. I think we need to invest in education and teach the benefits of sharing and community resilience. We also need to stand against greedy frackers and politicians who are prepared to destroy our lives and our environment - unaware that they are ultimately destroying their own lives and environment."
Esther is the owner of Slieve Aughty Centre
and has a great interest in the organising of the Weekend in the Hills, Festival of traditional crafts.
Slieve Aughty Centre is a great venue for this event where accommodation and camping is available. The Centre is an eco-escape resort that promotes responsible and eco-tourism.
All our people are
Andrew St. Ledger
Andrew works with Bob on the Biodiversity and Environmental subgroup of CELT, he is the co-ordinator of the Tuamgraney Community Native Woodland project, and is the CELT Native Woodland specialist conducting guided walks and talks in Raheen oakwood and the
Community Native woodland as well as being available in other woodlands. He is a heritage specialist on the Heritage in schools scheme focusing on native trees and biodiversity etc. He designs and organises Biodiversity events on an annual basis for schools and community groups, he works on submissions commenting on state environmental policy, and on funding applications connected with all of above.
Andrew represents CELT on the Environmental Pillar, a social partner made up of 28 National Environmental NGO's, influencing environmental policy, making submissions, meeting Ministers and civil servants. He was elected to sit on the steering committee of the Environmental Pillar, the Forestry Liaison Group consultation body, the Rural Development Monitoring Committee, contributing to all.
Andrew is also the Wood Carving tutor on the Weekend in the Hills events.
Saul has been working with sustainability practices for the last 20 years.
Specialising in Building with Natural Materials,
Saul has built using Round Pole Timber Framing, Wattle and daub, Straw bale, Cord wood and Cob.
He also builds Earth ovens and rocket stoves.
Saul has been teaching Natural Building for last 15 years, teaching practical courses and workshops that have constructed community buildings. Such as the cordwood amphitheatre in Kinsale Co Cork and the Free events space at an Teach Saor near Lough Rea and the Barn in Carraig Dulra co Wicklow.
Saul has taken care of the CELT tree nursery for the past 7 years and is passionate about promoting trees grown from Irish seed. Saul recognised that native breeds were difficult to source and now provides a supply of native fruiting and nutting trees.