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Reflecting on CELT’s Open Day: A Celebration of Forestry and Community

Updated: Jun 26

Sunday, May 19th, 2024, CELT (Centre for Environmental Living and Training) hosted its first Open Day of the year. The event, held from 10am to 4pm, at Slieve Aughty Centre it was blessed with glorious sunshine and saw an impressive turnout of nature enthusiasts, all eager to explore the day’s special focus on Forestry Promotion. The air buzzed with excitement as attendees gathered to learn about the multifaceted roles and benefits of trees, from combating climate change and biodiversity loss to enhancing our everyday health and wellbeing.

### A Day Packed with Knowledge and Fun

**Morning Foraging Adventure**

The day kicked off with a Food Foraging Talk and Walk led by Olwyn William from Wild Foods. From 10 to 11:30am, participants delved into the hedgerows, learning about the food and medicinal uses of various wild plants. Nettles, young bramble leaves, cleavers, and hawthorn flowers were just a few of the highlights. Attendees got hands-on, smelling haw flowers, counting petals, and observing anther color changes that indicate pollination or weather impact. Olwyn had her stall there all day with forage products.

**Insights into Composting**

At 11am, Mark Molloy, an Environmental Officer from Galway County Council, took the stage with a concise yet informative talk on Composting & Food Waste. His insights on sustainable waste management practices resonated with many, sparking discussions on how to implement these practices at home.

**Community Woodland Projects**

Finola O'Siochru of the Kinvara Ballindeereen Tree Gang shared her expertise on Community Woodland Projects using the Miyawaki Method from 11:30am to noon. This innovative approach to forest creation captivated the audience, showcasing how densely planted native forests can restore biodiversity.

**Restoring Native Woodlands**

David Smyth from the Native Woodland Trust continued the theme of ecological restoration with his talk from 12:30 to 1pm. Focusing on Restoring Our Native Woodlands, David’s insights into conservation efforts and the importance of preserving native species were particularly inspiring.

Afternoon Activities and Demonstrations

**Exploring the Great Forest of Aughty**

After a short break, the afternoon session began with a Woodland Walk from 2 to 3:30pm, hosted by CELT and The Woodland League. Titled "The Great Forest of Aughty," this walk allowed participants to immerse themselves in the beauty of local woodlands while learning about their history and ecological significance.

**Creating a Food Forest**

The day concluded with a practical masterclass on Establishing a Food Forest by Jason McCormack from Food Tree. From 3:30 to 4pm, attendees were introduced to the principles of permaculture and the steps to create sustainable, productive landscapes that mimic natural ecosystems.

A Celebration of Nature and Community

The CELT Open Day on May 19th was more than just an event; it was a celebration of nature and community. The diverse lineup of talks, walks, and demonstrations provided invaluable knowledge and sparked a deeper appreciation for the natural world. Attendees left feeling inspired and equipped with practical skills to implement in their own lives.

As we look forward to future Open Days, we are reminded of the importance of coming together to learn, share, and celebrate the incredible benefits that trees and nature offer us all. If you missed this event, be sure to join us next time for another enriching day of exploration and connection with nature.

A special thanks to our craft Tutors who had a great display of their work, and

Woodland League who had a stall with all there information.

Thanks to the Galway County Environmental Officer and Galway County Biodiversity Officer for there supply off educational resources and information.

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