Dwi wedi dod yn ôl at fy nghoed
Based at Hellen's Manor, Herefordshire, Back to the Wild CIC was created to help young people nurture and reclaim their relationship with the natural world.
In the 21st century, we face the results of our profound disconnect with nature. The climate crisis, habitat loss, and wildlife emergency, are forceful warning signs that humans are both losing and failing in their relationship with nature. There are those however who are waking up to the crucial knowledge of our continuing reliance on nature, for health, well-being, and survival; to our role and responsibility as a part of nature ourselves; to that instinct for survival and partnership with the natural world, which was once an essential part of human wisdom, and which needs to become so again.
A little history
B2W was founded by Adam Munthe, Chairman of the PMM Charity Trust, following the Finnmark Expeditions in 2007 - a journey looking at climate change, which he led for the RGS by dog sledge through the Fennoscandia Arctic. Whilst on this journey, and on other previous expeditions, he witnessed first hand two considerable issues: How humanity’s development, in the specific context of global climate change, is impacting on the lives of indigenous people, and how critical proper knowledge of the natural world in which we still exist, is to our lives and future.
On return he began working with schools in London offering residential B2W Projects at Hellens to further young people’s understanding of the world and to inspire a greater confidence to live in the world sustainably, as part of nature not separate from it.
Over the past 13 years, the Back to the Wild project has flourished and grown. Since 2016 we have received a 25% proportion of profits from the Hellens Garden Festival, which has enabled us to offer more projects each year to local groups.
Kat is a creative facilitator of effective group work. She has a 1st class degree in Creative Expressive Art Therapies and is a fully trained Forest School leader (Level 3). An educator with passion and energy, she inspires respect and protection of our natural environment. With nearly 20 years accumulative knowledge in the field including; plant-based learning, outdoor sculpture and arts, painting, weaving and felt making, she is inspired and driven by human relationship with ecology.
During her degree in Creative Expressive Therapies (BA Hons), Kat specialised in visual arts and trained in facilitating effective and therapeutic group work. A project facilitating ephemeral sculpture in a woodland with children from a special needs school, furthered her desire to work outdoors, witnessing first hand the power of process amid the elements and with natural materials. She qualified as a Level 2 Forest School Assistant in 2007.
In 2008, Kat completed a 6 month internship at Bishops Wood Outdoor Education Centre and honed her skills; leading pond dipping, bug hunts, team building and environmental sessions for school groups of all ages and abilities. Kat qualified as a Forest School leader in 2008 and was co-tutor on the 14-19 Outdoor education program for three years, delivering OCN qualifications to young people from Pupil referral units. She also worked freelance as a Forest School tutor for pre-school children and ran Earthcraft, delivering workshops at local festivals and events.
Kat is married with three young children. She currently lives and works at Hellens Manor, and is among other things, Creative Director of Hellens Garden Festival and director of Back to the WIld CIC.
She has gained deep herbal and medicinal knowledge studying at the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine and has been custodian and designer of the Physic garden at Hellens Manor. In 2017, Kat also studied with world renowned teacher Lynx Vilden, founder of living wild, learning primitive survival and bushcraft skills by living wild on Dartmoor.
She is driven and motivated by reawakening this ancient ancestral knowledge, of listening to the wild and living in the world sustainably, with skill and integrity and passing this on to the next generation.
Katrina is knowledgeable, devoted and robust in her endeavours with a professionalism that sets her apart. Currently working as a freelance forest school leader with local groups in Herefordshire. For the previous 13 years Katrina worked for Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT), with her most recent appointment working as their Engagement Manager. Managing a diverse team of talented staff. Katrina had oversight and managed a multitude of educational, well-being and environmental projects working with both children and adults. This included HWT’s WildPlay outreach community initiative (inspiring play in local green spaces, engagement in nature and promotes healthy and sustainable living), forest school programs, wildlife workshops for local youth groups, school curriculum linked environmental sessions, nature tot groups, nature inspired craft workshops and wildlife watch groups. Most recently Katrina managed the launch of a volunteer wellbeing inspired project which included online take notice in nature classes and a well-being garden garden project for adults looking to improve their mental and physical health. Katrina has worked closely with other local organisations, charities, town councils, housing associations, the Military of Defence and children centres to reach the wider community of Herefordshire.
She was appointed the fourth director at Back To The Wild CIC in November 2019 having built a relationship with us as a delivery partner. It was very clear she offered a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and experience having worked for the Wildlife Trust for numerous years. A shining light she rose through HWT from a causal sessional worker in the mid noughties to Nature Play Ranger working with social deprived and rurally isolated communities, inspiring play in nature, climbing trees, building dens and cooking on campfires! Katrina worked on a new exciting project called ‘WildPlay Experience’ funded by big lottery in 2012-2015 and during the project developed her skills and acquired qualifications in adult teaching. Which enabled Katrina to teach as an associated trainer for Gloucester University Playwork Partnerships, training other adults in accredited Playwork for 8 years, her last class taught online via zoom completing in January 2021.
In September 2020 started a new personal journey of growth and development and began training in person-centred therapy.
Kieran is woodland-manager for the 58acre ancient woodland site used by Back to the Wild at Hellens; Hallwood. Having worked part time as a Youth-Worker for many years in Worcestershire, he then undertook an apprenticeship in Green-Woodwork and qualifications in forest management before joining these two worlds together by taking the OCN Forest School Leader training at the Bishop's Wood Centre for environmental education; where he worked as an intern leading outdoor workshops for school groups. He has been part of the Back to the Wild team since 2012 when he moved to Hellens with his wife and children, and is also employed by the estate as a gardener, handyman, tour guide, donkey wrangler and bee keeper.
Kieran has a keen interest in the natural world, and humanity's role within it; and has spent time with the diverse indigenous peoples of Ecuador in South America, developing a life-long affection for Shamanistic traditions, herbalism and natural magic. He enjoys canoeing and mountain biking with his family, playing music, and spending time in the woods.