Lake County Learnings:
Skills of the past for a Resilient future
Old lessons for a new future
Lake County Learnings is a new collaboration between Anna Browne (https://bigskyflowers.ie) and Eibhlin Fitzpatrick (https://therefillmill.ie). Both women have been featured individually on RTE’s ‘Climate Heroes’ series and have worked together in the recent past, running relaxed, sociable classes in and around Mullingar.
Their new venture – ‘Lake County Learnings: Skills of the past for a Resilient Future’ is funded by Creative Westmeath. It is a series of creative workshops and classes to raise awareness of the climate emergency via specific and relatable examples. The goal is to help participants to develop real, easily applicable skills to empower lifestyle changes and address climate anxiety with community, nature and action.
Workshops will cover a range of skills that attendees will be able to put into practice immediately, in their own lives. Attendees will not be encouraged to run out and buy special equipment that might be left to gather dust after the course is finished, either – these are all practical, attainable skills that will help lead to small but significant changes in the lives of those attending, and ultimately the family and friends who surround them. Subjects include Baking with Sourdough, Minimal-waste living, and Natural Soap-Making, among others. The sessions will be about more than transferring knowledge though, as anyone who has attended a class with either Anna or Eibhlin before can attest to. It’s equally important to both of them to build a sense of community:
“We aim to create a safe space for creative dialogue, led by skilled facilitators in this field, following an EcoSocial Art practice. Many attendees are experiencing climate anxiety. Studies have shown that being around other people, working with nature, and talking can help with this anxiety. We have seen people visibly relax over the course of the workshop or talk and feel empowered to take action in their lives. These responses are evident in the feedback from attendees – especially those who come back for more classes.”
The sessions being offered under the ‘Lake County Learnings’ banner are based on classes previously run by Anna & Eibhlin. Anna has a BSc, a PDGE, an MA in eLearning and a Certificate in Organic Horticulture. She has been teaching sustainable skills since 2009, starting with soapmaking, growing food and flowers and breadmaking. Since then she has developed many additional courses and delivered them in Mullingar Charity Variety group, Westmeath libraries, and in conjunction with The Refill Mill.
Eibhlin has a degree in Social Science from Maynooth University. Her knowledge of social theory informs her current approach as a sustainability workshop instructor and mentor, which she has been offering in her shop (The Refill Mill) premises, Westmeath Libraries, and to corporate groups since 2021.
Anna & Eibhlin are keenly aware that cost can sometimes be a barrier for people when it comes to learning new skills. The funding from Creative Westmeath means that they can afford to offer the ‘Lake County Learnings’ sessions at extremely affordable rates. The funding also means that they can go further afield, including sessions in Lowe & Co, Athlone.
Facilitators: Eibhlin Fitzpatrick & Anna Browne
Most Mullingar sessions will take place in The Refill Mill, which won Leinster 2021 Eco Retailer of the Year, and provides quality, affordable and sustainable products to help you start your zero-waste journey. Whether buying in store or online, we have a great range of pantry items and dry food, cleaning and laundry refills and sustainable cosmetics and refills.
Lowe & Co. will host our Athlone sessions. Located in O’Connell Street, (close to the Castle) Lowe & Co. are all about flavour. They supply (and serve!) ingredients that will remind you what food should taste like. The owners are well-known champions of local food and producers so be sure to stop by & stock up when you’re visiting Athlone.
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