My name is Lucy Bell, and I am the founder of Growing Wild, a Kildare-based environmental education company.
Growing Wild specialises in organic school gardens, community gardens, local organic food projects, living willow, biodiversity & native habitat projects and Forest Schools.
The aim of Growing Wild is to inspire in people a love of our natural world, to grow food, to spend time in nature and to gain a love and respect for nature.
Lucy is an organic horticulturist, horticulture tutor, environmental educator, and a trained Forest School Leader, with years of experience facilitating a variety of outdoor skills.
Growing Wild works in Forest School training, community gardens & food growing training programmes, biodiversity & garden consultancy, and rewilding gardens. We work with community groups across Kildare from The Men’s Shed Organisation to The Irish Wheelchair Association to local community garden projects in housing estates. We work on location in Castletown House to run Forest School programmes for children and training for adults in several locations including Kildare & Wicklow.
Lucy is the co-author of ‘The Year-Round School Organic Garden’ and is a Heritage Specialist for the ‘Heritage in Schools’ Scheme, where she has worked with numerous primary schools in the Kildare, Dublin and Wicklow areas setting up school gardens from scratch. Lucy taught a TY module ‘Food for Thought – a Local Food & Horticulture’ module at the Salesian College, Celbridge from 2012 to 2015, encouraging young people to make the connection between local fresh grown food, nature, and healthy eating.
Lucy has also worked as a community and willow artist and co-ordinator for décor as part of The Healing Area for Body & Soul and Body & Soul @ Electric Picnic since 2009 and as part of the décor collective Adorn Décor for the IMRO award winning festival, Another Love Story.
Lucy facilitates ways for people, both young and old, to connect to nature through time out in nature, be it learning how to grow food, immersing in a woodland setting, hunting for creatures in water or land, planting trees and plants for pollinators, foraging for wild plants or creating living willow structures.
- MSc in Organic Horticulture, 2016.
- Associate Trainer for Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC, training current Level 3 trainees
- Level 3 Forest School Leader Training with Open College Network (UK).
- Committee member of the Irish Forest School Association.
- Kildare Wicklow Education Training Board tutor since 2012, teaching QQI Level 3 & 4 organic horticulture, in food growing and habitat and biodiversity themed courses.
- QQI Level 6 in Train the Trainer.
- Diploma in Organic Horticulture.
- B.A. in Drama & Theatre Studies.
Published Author & Achievements
- Co-author of the book, ‘The Year-Round Organic School Garden’, A manual for teachers, re-edited and 2nd Edition printed, summer 2020.
- Organic Experts for Bord Bia educational DVD, ‘Setting up Organic Gardens in Schools’, 2009
- Gold Medal Award and Best in Category – Engaging Spaces, at Bloom 2009 with KEEP, ‘The Living Classroom (Recycled)’, Silver Gilt Award at Bloom Festival 2008, with KEEP, ‘The Living Classroom’, demonstration organic school garden in ‘Engaging Spaces’ section.
- Heritage Potato Project as part of Edible Exhibition at Science Gallery, Dublin, 2012.
Growing Wild collaborates with a number of organisations in Ireland. Our main collaborators are:
Forest School Ireland, www.forestschoolireland.ie
Founded by my long time colleague and friend, Ciara Hinksman, Forest School Ireland runs a variety of programmes and training in Forest School
Natural Wild Gardens., www.naturalwildgardens.ie
Based in Kerry and run by my colleague and long time friend Niamh Ni Dhuill.
Biodiversity Connections & Kerry Nature Play. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1086484904836223
Based in Kerry and run by my long time colleague and friend Cathy Eastman.
Wild Awake, www.wildawake.ie
Founded by colleague and friend Lucy O’Hagan. Lucy works in Forest School, Rites of Passage, Tracking and Survival Skills.
Kerry Earth Education Project, www.gortbrackorganicfarm.com
The Nature Hub, https://thenaturehub.ie/
St.Brigid’s Gardens, http://www.brigitsgarden.ie/
Irish Seedsavers. www.irishseedsavers.ie