CELT – Centre for Environmental Living & Training – is a national registered charity for environmental education and training, founded in 2001.
Activities started with a traditional skills demonstration event at a woodland in Co.Clare, featuring various woodcrafts, metal work, natural building skills, herb lore and introduction to woodland ecology. Participants wanted to learn the skills and, with the help of Heritage Council funding, the Weekend in the Woods event was inaugurated in November 2002. It has continued twice a year (in May and September) and a few years ago moved to Slieve Aughty Centre near Loughrea as Weekend in the Hills (with excellent facilities, organic food and a choice of accommodation options).
Apart from these regular events, CELT also provided guided walks and consultancy for nature conservation projects and in 2007, with the help of Forest Service funding, developed a native tree nursery. We recognised the need to encourage more native trees throughout the Irish landscape as our key action to tackle the growing crises of global warming and biodiversity loss. We support relevant like-minded community groups and individuals.
Since 2005 we have supported the award winning Tuamgraney Community Woodland Wildlife Park, helping with management and various skills training and awareness-raising events. A programme of education and training activities was started, including tree planting and sustainable woodland management. In recent years agroforestry was incorporated as it became clear that landowners could, by planting the right trees in the right places, gain economic benefits whilst enhancing biodiversity and taking up carbon from the atmosphere. We could see that small scale landowners and managers could integrate trees into their land but retain much of their traditional farming practices. With funding from the Forest Service we hosted a Knowledge Transfer Group, for the first time focussing on native trees and agroforestry and more recently we ran a programme of Woodland Promotion events, including Open Days (at Slieve Aughty Centre) and farm-woodland Field Trips, under the Forest Service Woodland Support initiative and in association with Woodland League, Foodtree and the Irish Agroforestry Forum.
In 2020 we supported the Abhain da Loillioch Woodland Group, helping them get funding from Local Authorities Water Programme (LAWPRO) to do a series of Citizen Science biodiversity monitoring training days with university level expert ecologists. The group aim to get landowners to plant more native trees along the river catchment area connecting 3 ancient woodland sites. A weekend festival was held to help raise public awareness and we continue to support this project. It also connects with another project supported by CELT - the Woodland League Great Forest of Aughty project to reconnect remnant native woodlands throughout the region by planting more wildlife corridors. CELT has participated in events and activities nationwide, including many festivals, conferences and seminars, encouraging nature conservation and sustainable living practices.
Since 2007, CELT has regularly worked in cooperation and collaboration with other national NGOs as a member of both the Irish Environmental Network and the Environmental Pillar which gives us opportunity to make input to government policy and to directly interact with ministers and senators.