Ciara Hinksman grew up in the beautiful suburbs or North Co. Dublin and now lives in Co. Wicklow.
She trained in nature awareness and primitive skills in Co. Kerry, Ireland and took part in the first three-month residential programme at the Irish Permaculture and Nature Awareness School (IPNA www.ipna.ie), with Aebhric and Anna O’Kelly. There she studied primitive skills, tracking and sustainable living practices and made her own long-term shelter in the woods. She was mentored in the ways of Tom Brown Jr and Jon Young, two world renowned visionary teachers, trackers and naturalists at the school.
She left IPNA in 2009 and set up Earth Force Education, a company which offers Forest School programmes for children and Teenagers, Adults who want to learn about Forest School and/or train as a forest school leader in association with Circle of Life Training from the UK.
She works with outreach programmes including at-risk teens, autism groups and main-stream schools around Wicklow, Dublin, Kildare, Carlow, Wexford, Monaghan, Kilkenny and Meath. She has been collaborating with universities, I.T.’s and Education and Training Boards to teach their students how to work and support children in nature.
She is delighted to work with children and adults, teachers and trainers in facilitating workshops and programmes on diverse subjects, ranging from Forest School Intro’s for Adults and Nature Culture Network ‘Art of Mentoring’ weekends in Ireland, Primary and Secondary After-Schools, nature Clubs, Forest School camps for kids and school workshops that promote sustainable energy practices, biodiversity awareness and appreciation.
She is a Heritage in Schools Specialist (Heritage Council of Ireland part-funded) teaching primary school children about their environment through bushcraft and nature awareness. (Primary schools can book here under Dublin: www.heritageinschools.ie.
In 2006 she joined Mountain Meitheal, www.pathsaves.org, a volunteer group who maintain and rebuild mountain and forest trails and was an executive member for two years. Inspired by this incredible volunteering experience she ran a community woodland regeneration project near her old home in Howth, in conjunction with people from many walks of life, including local residents, the residents association, Fingal County Council, Conservation Volunteers Fingal and Eco-Unesco which included grandparents, grandkids, parents and teens.
Her experience informs her approach which is, “Mother Nature is the best teacher, and play is the best way to learn. We all have a deep affinity with nature so when we allow ourselves to be fully absorbed in tasks out in nature, from primitive skills to art making, we reconnect and reintegrate exciting parts of ourselves that are both new and instinctively familiar”.
Ciara Hinksman speaks about nature connection for children on RTE Nationwide.