SPEAKERS

RICHARD LOUV

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness, and his newest book is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives – And Save Theirs, now available in paperback, is published by Algonquin. His books have been translated and published in 24 countries, and helped launch an international movement to connect children, families and communities to nature. He is co-founder and Chair Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization helping build the movement.

He appears frequently on national radio and television programs, including the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and NPR’s Fresh Air. He speaks internationally on nature-deficit disorder, a concept he first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth. Among others, he has presented Keynote addresses at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference (2000 and 2020); the USC Institute for Integrative Health Conference; the first White House Summit on Environmental Education; the Congress of the New Urbanism; the International Healthy Parks Conference in Melbourne, Australia; EuroParcs Conference in Scotland and the national Friends of Nature Conference in Beijing, China.

In 2008, he was awarded the national Audubon Medal; prior recipients included Rachel Carson, E.O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. He is also a recipient of the San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal; the George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society; the International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award; and the Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service.” In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the New School of Architecture & Design, and the Garden Club of America’s 2020 Margaret Douglas Medal for “notable service to the cause of conservation education.”

As a journalist and commentator, Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Orion, Outside and other newspapers and magazines. He was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Parents magazine. Louv has served as a visiting scholar for Clemson University and Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Ecopsychology. With artist Robert Bateman, he serves as honorary co-chair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance. He is also on the advisory boards of Biophilic Cities and the International Association of Nature Pedagogy,
Married to Kathy Frederick Louv, he is the father of two young men, Jason and Matthew. He would rather hike than write.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
STEPHEN BIDDULPH

Steve was born in the UK and emigrated with his parents to Australia in 1963. He graduated from Melbourne University with a science degree in 1974 and completed his honours in psychology at the University of Tasmania in 1975.

His career has included many far-reaching social projects, including Youthline (a phone counselling service run by young people, for young people) and the SIEVX Memorial in Canberra (in remembrance of the refugee families that tragically lost their lives in 2001).

In 1997 he wrote the book ‘Raising Boys’ and began to speak worldwide, consulting to leading schools around the world about boys’ education and their need for warm, clear teaching, focussed on their unique development timetable.

Steve continued doing this work for over a decade, reaching a total of 130,000 people. Raising Boys became a bestseller in the UK, Brazil, Japan and Germany, and was published in 32 languages. He followed up this success with Raising Girls and Raising Babies, which have become seminal works in early years education.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
PROF. HELEN BILTON

Helen started her career qualifying as a teacher, becoming a deputy head before moving into higher education.

Her first teaching job was in Hackney, London, with children who were living in tower blocks. As they were spending most of their time in cramped living spaces, she felt that it was vital that they experienced as much outdoor play as possible.

Since then, she has become a crusader and ambassador for using the outdoors as a learning environment and is now widely regarded as the UK’s leading educational specialist on outdoor education.
She has written extensively on the subject and her first book ‘Outdoor Learning in the Early Years, Management and Innovation’ was the first complete text on the subject since 1936.

Helen’s passion and enthusiasm for her subject is highly infectious. Outdoor play has taken her to countries all around the world, where the benefits of learning outside are only just starting to be recognised.

MAUREEN GAFFNEY

Every organisation is now under intense pressure to change and innovate, to respond to demands at an ever-quicker pace, and to retain top talent.   To do that effectively, and maintain high levels of wellbeing, requires deep reserves of resilience. As a consequence, resilience has become the master emotional competency. Dr. Maureen Gaffney brings the latest research and thinking on emotional intelligence, resilience, and transformational leadership to her work with companies. A well know psychologist, writer, and broadcaster, she has worked with a wide range or organisations, including the Intel organisation, in both Ireland and in the US, Boston Scientific, Amazon, Google, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, as well as major professional service companies, and the educational sector in Australia.

She is a much sought-after speaker and has addressed businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US, Sweden, Germany and Spain. She has worked in many other sectors of Irish life – as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Society in University College Dublin, Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum, Chair of the Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development Programme and Chair of the Board of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland. She served on the board of the Health Service Executive, on the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute and was appointed for two terms as a Law Reform Commissioner.

She earned a B.A. in Psychology from UCC, an M.A. in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. She has completed Executive Education Programmes on leadership and governance in the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Chicago Business School, and the Kellogg School of Management. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and served on its Executive Committee.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
DAVID COLEMAN

David is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years’ experience with children, teenagers and their families. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Psychology, UCD.

Most of his time is spent in clinical practice, where he works with children and teenagers with psychological issues ranging from anxiety, to self-harm, bullying, social isolation, school related difficulties, family conflict, challenging behaviour, abuse-related trauma, coping with chronic medical issues. He also works exclusively with parents on their parenting of their families.

He’s a regular parenting expert on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 and writes a weekly Q&A column in the Irish Independent, Health and Living Section.

David often also contributes his expert opinion on shows like Ireland AM, Today with Maura and Daithi, RTÉ Primetime and Growing Up Live.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
TONY HUMPHREYS

Tony is a consultant clinical psychologist and author. He began his career in State Psychiatric and Psychological Services in England and Ireland and since 1990 has been working in private practice in Ireland.

Over the years he has established himself as one of Ireland’s most influential psychologists, working with individuals, families, schools and local communities. He believes strongly in the impact of unconditional love, or its absence, on physical health.

Tony regularly writes about psychology and illness in the Irish Times and in the Irish Examiner, where he has contributed a psychology column for over ten years.

He is a specialist lecturer on education, communication and self-realisation at University College, Cork and is a regular guest lecturer in other third level colleges both in Ireland and internationally, including several European countries and South Africa.

He is also Co-Founder of the Irish Association of Relationship Mentors and a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
DEBORAH SOMORIN

Deborah’s is a truly inspiring story. By 13 she was homeless. And at 14 she became a mother. With the support of Focus Ireland, she finished secondary school and earned a degree in Accounting and Finance. In 2015, she went on to complete her Masters Degree.

In 2018, she founded a non-profit called Empower the Family (ETF) with a plan to open student accommodation in Dublin with on-site quality childcare to support single parents between 18- and 23-years old who are attending university. ETF was a finalist for the Social Entrepreneur Ireland Awards and the Women Mean Business Newstalk Female Social Entrepreneur.

The same year, she won the JCI Ireland Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in the Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership category. And, in 2019, was awarded the Inspiration Award by Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Deborah currently sits on the board for Chartered Accountants Support, the Chartered Accountants Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the RTÉ Youth Advisory Committee.

TIM GILL

Tim Gill is a global advocate for children’s outdoor play and mobility. His book Urban Playground: How child-friendly planning and design can save cities was published by RIBA in 2021. His first book No Fear: Growing up in a risk-averse society was described in the New York Times as “a handbook for the movement for freer, riskier play.” Tim is a Design Council Built Environment Expert and Churchill Fellow, and former director of the Children’s Play Council (now Play England). His client list includes Argent, London Legacy Development Corporation, Mayor of London/GLA and National Trust. His website is www.rethinkingchildhood.com.

SPEAKERS

RICHARD LOUV

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness, and his newest book is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives – And Save Theirs, now available in paperback, is published by Algonquin. His books have been translated and published in 24 countries, and helped launch an international movement to connect children, families and communities to nature. He is co-founder and Chair Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization helping build the movement.

He appears frequently on national radio and television programs, including the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and NPR’s Fresh Air. He speaks internationally on nature-deficit disorder, a concept he first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth. Among others, he has presented Keynote addresses at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference (2000 and 2020); the USC Institute for Integrative Health Conference; the first White House Summit on Environmental Education; the Congress of the New Urbanism; the International Healthy Parks Conference in Melbourne, Australia; EuroParcs Conference in Scotland and the national Friends of Nature Conference in Beijing, China.

In 2008, he was awarded the national Audubon Medal; prior recipients included Rachel Carson, E.O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. He is also a recipient of the San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal; the George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society; the International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award; and the Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service.” In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the New School of Architecture & Design, and the Garden Club of America’s 2020 Margaret Douglas Medal for “notable service to the cause of conservation education.”

As a journalist and commentator, Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Orion, Outside and other newspapers and magazines. He was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Parents magazine. Louv has served as a visiting scholar for Clemson University and Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Ecopsychology. With artist Robert Bateman, he serves as honorary co-chair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance. He is also on the advisory boards of Biophilic Cities and the International Association of Nature Pedagogy,
Married to Kathy Frederick Louv, he is the father of two young men, Jason and Matthew. He would rather hike than write.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
STEPHEN BIDDULPH

Steve was born in the UK and emigrated with his parents to Australia in 1963. He graduated from Melbourne University with a science degree in 1974 and completed his honours in psychology at the University of Tasmania in 1975.

His career has included many far-reaching social projects, including Youthline (a phone counselling service run by young people, for young people) and the SIEVX Memorial in Canberra (in remembrance of the refugee families that tragically lost their lives in 2001).

In 1997 he wrote the book ‘Raising Boys’ and began to speak worldwide, consulting to leading schools around the world about boys’ education and their need for warm, clear teaching, focussed on their unique development timetable.

Steve continued doing this work for over a decade, reaching a total of 130,000 people. Raising Boys became a bestseller in the UK, Brazil, Japan and Germany, and was published in 32 languages. He followed up this success with Raising Girls and Raising Babies, which have become seminal works in early years education.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
PROF. HELEN BILTON

Helen started her career qualifying as a teacher, becoming a deputy head before moving into higher education.

Her first teaching job was in Hackney, London, with children who were living in tower blocks. As they were spending most of their time in cramped living spaces, she felt that it was vital that they experienced as much outdoor play as possible.

Since then, she has become a crusader and ambassador for using the outdoors as a learning environment and is now widely regarded as the UK’s leading educational specialist on outdoor education.
She has written extensively on the subject and her first book ‘Outdoor Learning in the Early Years, Management and Innovation’ was the first complete text on the subject since 1936.

Helen’s passion and enthusiasm for her subject is highly infectious. Outdoor play has taken her to countries all around the world, where the benefits of learning outside are only just starting to be recognised.

MAUREEN GAFFNEY

Every organisation is now under intense pressure to change and innovate, to respond to demands at an ever-quicker pace, and to retain top talent. To do that effectively, and maintain high levels of wellbeing, requires deep reserves of resilience. As a consequence, resilience has become the master emotional competency. Dr. Maureen Gaffney brings the latest research and thinking on emotional intelligence, resilience, and transformational leadership to her work with companies. A well know psychologist, writer, and broadcaster, she has worked with a wide range or organisations, including the Intel organisation, in both Ireland and in the US, Boston Scientific, Amazon, Google, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, as well as major professional service companies, and the educational sector in Australia.

She is a much sought-after speaker and has addressed businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US, Sweden, Germany and Spain. She has worked in many other sectors of Irish life – as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Society in University College Dublin, Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum, Chair of the Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development Programme and Chair of the Board of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland. She served on the board of the Health Service Executive, on the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute and was appointed for two terms as a Law Reform Commissioner.

She earned a B.A. in Psychology from UCC, an M.A. in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. She has completed Executive Education Programmes on leadership and governance in the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Chicago Business School, and the Kellogg School of Management. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and served on its Executive Committee.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
DAVID COLEMAN

David is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years’ experience with children, teenagers and their families. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Psychology, UCD.

Most of his time is spent in clinical practice, where he works with children and teenagers with psychological issues ranging from anxiety, to self-harm, bullying, social isolation, school related difficulties, family conflict, challenging behaviour, abuse-related trauma, coping with chronic medical issues. He also works exclusively with parents on their parenting of their families.

He’s a regular parenting expert on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 and writes a weekly Q&A column in the Irish Independent, Health and Living Section.

David often also contributes his expert opinion on shows like Ireland AM, Today with Maura and Daithi, RTÉ Primetime and Growing Up Live.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
TONY HUMPHRIES

Tony is a consultant clinical psychologist and author. He began his career in State Psychiatric and Psychological Services in England and Ireland and since 1990 has been working in private practice in Ireland.

Over the years he has established himself as one of Ireland’s most influential psychologists, working with individuals, families, schools and local communities. He believes strongly in the impact of unconditional love, or its absence, on physical health.

Tony regularly writes about psychology and illness in the Irish Times and in the Irish Examiner, where he has contributed a psychology column for over ten years.

He is a specialist lecturer on education, communication and self-realisation at University College, Cork and is a regular guest lecturer in other third level colleges both in Ireland and internationally, including several European countries and South Africa.

He is also Co-Founder of the Irish Association of Relationship Mentors and a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
DEBORAH SOMORIN

Deborah’s is a truly inspiring story. By 13 she was homeless. And at 14 she became a mother. With the support of Focus Ireland, she finished secondary school and earned a degree in Accounting and Finance. In 2015, she went on to complete her Masters Degree.

In 2018, she founded a non-profit called Empower the Family (ETF) with a plan to open student accommodation in Dublin with on-site quality childcare to support single parents between 18- and 23-years old who are attending university. ETF was a finalist for the Social Entrepreneur Ireland Awards and the Women Mean Business Newstalk Female Social Entrepreneur.

The same year, she won the JCI Ireland Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in the Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership category. And, in 2019, was awarded the Inspiration Award by Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Deborah currently sits on the board for Chartered Accountants Support, the Chartered Accountants Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the RTÉ Youth Advisory Committee.

TIM GILL

Tim Gill is a global advocate for children’s outdoor play and mobility. His book Urban Playground: How child-friendly planning and design can save cities was published by RIBA in 2021. His first book No Fear: Growing up in a risk-averse society was described in the New York Times as “a handbook for the movement for freer, riskier play.” Tim is a Design Council Built Environment Expert and Churchill Fellow, and former director of the Children’s Play Council (now Play England). His client list includes Argent, London Legacy Development Corporation, Mayor of London/GLA and National Trust. His website is www.rethinkingchildhood.com.

SPEAKERS

RICHARD LOUV

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness, and his newest book is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives – And Save Theirs, now available in paperback, is published by Algonquin. His books have been translated and published in 24 countries, and helped launch an international movement to connect children, families and communities to nature. He is co-founder and Chair Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization helping build the movement.

He appears frequently on national radio and television programs, including the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and NPR’s Fresh Air. He speaks internationally on nature-deficit disorder, a concept he first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth. Among others, he has presented Keynote addresses at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference (2000 and 2020); the USC Institute for Integrative Health Conference; the first White House Summit on Environmental Education; the Congress of the New Urbanism; the International Healthy Parks Conference in Melbourne, Australia; EuroParcs Conference in Scotland and the national Friends of Nature Conference in Beijing, China.

In 2008, he was awarded the national Audubon Medal; prior recipients included Rachel Carson, E.O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. He is also a recipient of the San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal; the George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society; the International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award; and the Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service.” In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the New School of Architecture & Design, and the Garden Club of America’s 2020 Margaret Douglas Medal for “notable service to the cause of conservation education.”

As a journalist and commentator, Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Orion, Outside and other newspapers and magazines. He was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Parents magazine. Louv has served as a visiting scholar for Clemson University and Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Ecopsychology. With artist Robert Bateman, he serves as honorary co-chair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance. He is also on the advisory boards of Biophilic Cities and the International Association of Nature Pedagogy,
Married to Kathy Frederick Louv, he is the father of two young men, Jason and Matthew. He would rather hike than write.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
STEPHEN BIDDULPH

Steve was born in the UK and emigrated with his parents to Australia in 1963. He graduated from Melbourne University with a science degree in 1974 and completed his honours in psychology at the University of Tasmania in 1975.

His career has included many far-reaching social projects, including Youthline (a phone counselling service run by young people, for young people) and the SIEVX Memorial in Canberra (in remembrance of the refugee families that tragically lost their lives in 2001).

In 1997 he wrote the book ‘Raising Boys’ and began to speak worldwide, consulting to leading schools around the world about boys’ education and their need for warm, clear teaching, focussed on their unique development timetable.

Steve continued doing this work for over a decade, reaching a total of 130,000 people. Raising Boys became a bestseller in the UK, Brazil, Japan and Germany, and was published in 32 languages. He followed up this success with Raising Girls and Raising Babies, which have become seminal works in early years education.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
PROF. HELEN BILTON

Helen started her career qualifying as a teacher, becoming a deputy head before moving into higher education.

Her first teaching job was in Hackney, London, with children who were living in tower blocks. As they were spending most of their time in cramped living spaces, she felt that it was vital that they experienced as much outdoor play as possible.

Since then, she has become a crusader and ambassador for using the outdoors as a learning environment and is now widely regarded as the UK’s leading educational specialist on outdoor education.
She has written extensively on the subject and her first book ‘Outdoor Learning in the Early Years, Management and Innovation’ was the first complete text on the subject since 1936.

Helen’s passion and enthusiasm for her subject is highly infectious. Outdoor play has taken her to countries all around the world, where the benefits of learning outside are only just starting to be recognised.

MAUREEN GAFFNEY

Every organisation is now under intense pressure to change and innovate, to respond to demands at an ever-quicker pace, and to retain top talent. To do that effectively, and maintain high levels of wellbeing, requires deep reserves of resilience. As a consequence, resilience has become the master emotional competency. Dr. Maureen Gaffney brings the latest research and thinking on emotional intelligence, resilience, and transformational leadership to her work with companies. A well know psychologist, writer, and broadcaster, she has worked with a wide range or organisations, including the Intel organisation, in both Ireland and in the US, Boston Scientific, Amazon, Google, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, as well as major professional service companies, and the educational sector in Australia.

She is a much sought-after speaker and has addressed businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US, Sweden, Germany and Spain. She has worked in many other sectors of Irish life – as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Society in University College Dublin, Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum, Chair of the Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development Programme and Chair of the Board of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland. She served on the board of the Health Service Executive, on the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute and was appointed for two terms as a Law Reform Commissioner.

She earned a B.A. in Psychology from UCC, an M.A. in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. She has completed Executive Education Programmes on leadership and governance in the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Chicago Business School, and the Kellogg School of Management. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and served on its Executive Committee.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
DAVID COLEMAN

David is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years’ experience with children, teenagers and their families. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Psychology, UCD.

Most of his time is spent in clinical practice, where he works with children and teenagers with psychological issues ranging from anxiety, to self-harm, bullying, social isolation, school related difficulties, family conflict, challenging behaviour, abuse-related trauma, coping with chronic medical issues. He also works exclusively with parents on their parenting of their families.

He’s a regular parenting expert on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 and writes a weekly Q&A column in the Irish Independent, Health and Living Section.

David often also contributes his expert opinion on shows like Ireland AM, Today with Maura and Daithi, RTÉ Primetime and Growing Up Live.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
TONY HUMPHRIES

Tony is a consultant clinical psychologist and author. He began his career in State Psychiatric and Psychological Services in England and Ireland and since 1990 has been working in private practice in Ireland.

Over the years he has established himself as one of Ireland’s most influential psychologists, working with individuals, families, schools and local communities. He believes strongly in the impact of unconditional love, or its absence, on physical health.

Tony regularly writes about psychology and illness in the Irish Times and in the Irish Examiner, where he has contributed a psychology column for over ten years.

He is a specialist lecturer on education, communication and self-realisation at University College, Cork and is a regular guest lecturer in other third level colleges both in Ireland and internationally, including several European countries and South Africa.

He is also Co-Founder of the Irish Association of Relationship Mentors and a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Child, Children, childhood, Play, Outside, outdoors, outdoor learning, learning, outside, playing, playing outside, families, early years, early years teacher, early years professionals, forest schools, nature, nature walks, childcare, forest schools, nature activities, childhood, healthy Ireland, heathy living, growing up, conference, convention, early childhood education, education, fun, raising babies, raising boys, raising girls, raising families, hours outside, best conference, weather, wild swimming, wilderness, last child in the woods, natural navigation, green, sustainability, best convention, best conference. Cork, Cork county, Visit Cork, Failte Ireland, Fota Island resort, Fota Island. Gillian Powell, Ollie Sheehan, Averil Sheehan, Mary Geary's childcare, Care-a-lot childcare, Thrive Nature Activities for Families and Children, David Coleman, Maureen Gaffney, Helen Bilton, Forest Schools, Outdoor Curriculum.
DEBORAH SOMORIN

Deborah’s is a truly inspiring story. By 13 she was homeless. And at 14 she became a mother. With the support of Focus Ireland, she finished secondary school and earned a degree in Accounting and Finance. In 2015, she went on to complete her Masters Degree.

In 2018, she founded a non-profit called Empower the Family (ETF) with a plan to open student accommodation in Dublin with on-site quality childcare to support single parents between 18- and 23-years old who are attending university. ETF was a finalist for the Social Entrepreneur Ireland Awards and the Women Mean Business Newstalk Female Social Entrepreneur.

The same year, she won the JCI Ireland Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in the Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership category. And, in 2019, was awarded the Inspiration Award by Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Deborah currently sits on the board for Chartered Accountants Support, the Chartered Accountants Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the RTÉ Youth Advisory Committee.

IN ASSOCIATION WITH