Gráinne Vaughan has 17 years’ experience as a primary school teacher. She has led countless outdoor workshops for children and adults, both at Irish Seed Savers Association in Scarriff, Co Clare, and in schools as a Heritage in Schools Specialist in Biodiversity and Gardening. She loves being able to facilitate the deepening of connection with nature, knowing from personal experience how it enhances wellbeing and nurtures the spirit.
Having grown up in rural Ireland, her childhood memories are rich in outdoor play by stream and river, in farmyards, fields and woodlands. Her favourite memories of play are in the tree house she made with her best friend in the branches where two trees intertwined.
Veronica McGuire discovered a passion for working with children in nature while at Irish Seed Savers Association in Scarriff, Co Clare, where she co-facilitated children’s outdoor workshops, school tours and camps for over 10 years. She enjoys nothing more than engaging people in hands-on activities that get them excited about the natural world around them, awakening their curiosity and inspiring them to ask questions and look for answers.
Veronica moved from her native Dublin to live in a field in East Clare, where she spent 6 years living off-grid, an experience that deepened her life-long love and appreciation of nature. 20 years on, the field is covered with trees and Veronica continues to be nourished by living here beneath their shelter. Witnessing the birth of this natural woodland and watching it grow and change over time is one of her life’s greatest joys.
Veronica’s Diploma in Field Ecology, combined with her Forest School training and experience, has helped her to recognise the complexity of the woodland ecosystem in which she lives and works, and to fully appreciate its important contribution to Ireland’s biodiversity. Veronica is a Heritage in Schools Specialist in all things tree-related.
Gráinne and Veronica were friends for many years before doing their Forest School Leadership Training together in 2016. A shared vision of offering children and adults opportunities for personal growth through nature connection led them to establish Happy Out Forest School in March 2017.
Since then, Gráinne and Veronica have enjoyed the camaradarie of working together and find that they make a great partnership. Both are grateful for the friendship and support of each other as they grow in their own spiritual, emotional and mental wellbeing through their Forest School practice.
Gráinne and Veronica have been involved in the Irish Forest School movement since its beginnings and attended the Inaugural Conference of the Irish Forest School Association (IFSA) in Wexford in May 2017. They continue to believe deeply in the Forest School ethos and are dedicated to providing opportunities for others to come beneath the trees