National Tree Week, Ireland

During March 2014 the National Tree Week theme 
was The Sound of Trees', 'Fuaim na gCrann'

... which I find is potentially beautiful.

Each year the Tree Council of Ireland rustle up volunteers throughout all 26 counties of the Republic Of Ireland to register and arrange local activities connected to trees and forests under a theme for

National Tree Week

The activities most promoted are tree planting, as this is coming to the end of the bare root tree planting season, education about trees to include identification, and relationships to fungi, shrubs, flowers, mammals, birds, insects and ourselves.

This is also a time to reflect on how trees, woods and forests are vital for our life and survival and how our own well being and health protection is made possible by being among trees, tree medicine.

Sadly it seems ...

Not every county Loves Trees ??? 

Most years, recently, it seems that 40% of the counties of the Republic Of Ireland do not host any Tree Week events in any Public Forests or Public Parks. Even the launch and opening ceremonies are usually on private land, on trusteee estates somewhere.

How can we encourage every country to have at least one event for ALL people in their county.

Are Native Woodland Trust involved with Tree Week?

This year Native Woodland Trust of Ireland did get listed in the National Tree Week schedule

but often they have events during Tree Week that are not listed on the national schedule so we keep an eye on that.

Links for National Tree Week

I will put up the link to the 2015 schedule when it is posted here, usually some time in November, December or even January before the event.

Bards In The Woods Involvement?

The 2012 and 2013 Bards In The Woods involvement became a bit political because of news and concerns about the intended sell off of Public Forestry. I believed in the idea of getting more and more people into the forests to enjoy whatever interest they have.

It was not just us, it just seemed far less people were using the forests, and sadly this is still so. On many Sunday afternoons our small groups are all the people that are in the forests. There seems to be much more of a lure of people staying inside to watch big corporate sponsored sports. They were certainly not down the beaches instead. All very strange.

We are not really protesters now

I became personally dis-illusioned by protests, especially street protests. It would take a whole additional blog to explain that.

Most of us in Ireland are angry about the government and the current issues being put into action. We may as well have all of the placards out at once, forestry, fracking, community charge, water charges, anti networks of pylons, charities not spending money on their causes on and on.

All together, the majority of people in Ireland are being forced to pay more and more to the national government through more taxes and charges so they can keep corporate taxes down, and pensions for the minority kept topped up etc. ... but this is all OT for here.

So its Back to Bards In The Woods ... but maybe a different approach

Forest Mindfulness and Calm?

After reading that last paragraph about protests, anger etc.,
I feel instantly called to find a place of calm, do you?

In Ireland, probably worldwide now, the practice of Mindfulness is spreading exponentially and is extremely popular. Practitioners claiming to be accredited, trained, certified, bonded and all round good 'stick to the rules citizens', are offering Mindfulness workshops, retreats and classes in many buildings around Ireland.

Many doctors and other health practitioners are recommending their clients and patients to attend these. Corporate director boards are ordering their managers to attend Mindfulness events.

There have been 8 week courses at Woodford House where students pay €350 for the course and the maximum vacancies for the courses fill up quickly.

Compare this to a yoga teacher, sacred dance teacher or general meditation facilitator, or similar, who tends to charge €60 to €100 for a 6 to 8 week course and is lucky to get 6 people turn up.

People want a short term solution to finding space to reduce stress, anxiety, worries, concerns and guilt. The demand for this seems to be huge !!!

Looking at the Mindfulness training schools information I was very surprised to discover that it is very close to how I guide people through labyrinths, and how I used to guide people through visualisation retreats and workshops years ago.

I stepped from indoor retreats and workshops into the outdoors labyrinth because I was concerned that indoor environments were lazy on the senses.

Mindfulness facilitators seek venues that are quiet, have even temperature and no sensory distractions like variations of sound, movement and smells, They want simple rooms that do not have objects to touch and refreshments are kept minimal and at the end to prevent taste distractions.

Maybe this is all good so we can start again. Its a kind of sensory fasting that cleanses our methodical, mathematical, fastidious, ordered and logical ways ...

We then re-introduce perceptions as being sensory reactions of every moment rather than anticipations and engrained memory motivated reactions.

Getting into the forests is a sensory bombardment, an extremely good one.

It is excellent medicine for everyone,
and, really, I no longer see the point of going through a
sensory fasting phase in a human created and controlled building?

Guided by Inspiration and Passion

The protest movement I find is a stressful one and angry one, but it does move governments into alternative duck and dive strategies. It seems like a constant chess game of government representatives and protesters on the front line for the public anger, each finding that ground that is towards an answer to "what's in it for me?".

These protesters and activists are an amazing service to us all, though.

But, I strongly feel that presence in the public forests must grow for any kind of forest culture to return.

Presence in the Forests is healthy and calming for ourselves. A genuine passion for the forest cultivates more activities within them and makes it harder for the national government to take this away.

From mindfulness of the forests, the sensory perception within them, to the natural flowing inspiration this serves us, it seems purely magical to enjoy each year's National Tree Week just before Spring bursts open.

I hope more of you will be Mindful and join in National Tree Week Events, and then continue to join us with Bards In The Woods though to the end of October.

Also join other woodland activities such as this Native Woodland Trust autumn event in this pic where folks gathered seed to be used in the Native Woodland Trust nursery for later replanting.


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