Our Team - EcoWild CIC

Our Team

Emily Malik
Director & Practitioner

“I work to increase connection and cooperation around the ecological issues of our time. In bringing meaningful outdoor experiences into the lives of all age groups I intend to ignite in them a lifetime of  knowing and valuing the natural world.” 

As a Biologist, Naturalist and Ecotherapy practitioner, Emily is passionate about using cross-sectoral approaches to rekindle our relationship with the living world. Working in health, education, ecospirituality and community engagement, she is fascinated by the potential for enhancement of wellbeing as facilitated by reconnection to the natural world. As well as her work with EcoWild Emily teaches on Natural Academy’s Ecopsychology Foundation Course and co-leads the Nature and Health network for West of England Nature Partnership. 

She has practiced yoga for over 20 years, sings with an acapella group, plays the guitar and piano, and meditates daily. Before EcoWild she  worked in HIV Community Support Services, Project Coordination in Tropical Health Education, Conservation research and logistics.

Training/certificates: Biology BSc, Ecospychology Cert., Paediatric First Aid, Outdoor Food Safety, Mental Health First Aid, DBS cleared.

Leah Apostolou
Practitioner

Leah is Bushcraft Pratitioner trained with a background in youth work and adventure sports. She is a strong advocate for use of adventure and nature as therapy. The bulk of her of experience comes from leading courses designed to facilitate personal and social development in young people experiencing difficulties. Growing up in North Wales, Leah has always loved being outdoors which is what lead her on to doing her degree in Adventure Tourism Management, from which she spring boarded into the outdoor industry. She is passionate about connecting with people of all ages and helping them to connect with nature.

Training/certificates:
Bushcraft practitioner trained,
L3 Youth work, L3 Education and Training,
Outdoor First Aid, Mountain Bike instructor, DBS cleared.

Veronika Simon
Practitioner

Veronika has a deep-rooted passion for nature and animals, stemming from her childhood spent in rural Hungary. She enjoys being outdoors and sharing her passion for all living things with other people on every possible occasion. Veronika worked in mainstream educational settings (primary schools, nursery) for several years supporting children’s learning by helping them to become more resilient emotionally and physically.

She has been practising yoga for 5 years and is a proud owner of a small allotment plot where she creates habitats for all sorts of amphibians and bugs and butterflies.

Training/certificates:

Special Education Needs Teacher (specialisation in EBD)

Agricultural Engineer

Level 3 Forest School Training, Paediatric First Aid, Food Safety, DBS cleared

Yvonne Bignall
Board Member for Nature, Health & Wellbeing

A Self-Care Coach working with over-scheduled busy women who forfeit their self-care in the pursuit of ‘doing’ for everyone else, often to the detriment of their health.

As a health advocate she blends a number of skills (qualified life-coaching, personal training, Nordic walking & nutrition coaching) to help individuals connect with nature and get to the top of their to do list, guilt-free and healthily! With over 35 years in & around the health & wellness industry, Yvonne is passionate about sharing the benefits of mental & physical wellbeing in the great outdoors.

She is on the board of directors at Somer Valley FM where she hosts her own show ‘The Women’s Power Hour’, focused on health & wellness and other related topics.

Qualifications: CMI Level 5 Coaching, Level 5 Weight Loss Practitioner, Level 3 Personal Trainer, British Nordic Walking/INWA Certified Nordic Walking Instructor, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach.

Sarah Davies
Wild Ones Leader

Sarah spent her teaching career as an Early Years Teacher in a busy inner-city school in central Bristol. Whilst teaching she engaged in active research with Bristol University, understanding the role of play in learning and took part in the development of a ground-breaking new curriculum ‘Curious City’ which took children out of classrooms and into the local community. Sarah has also worked as a Playworker, leading play-based nurture groups for vulnerable and disadvantaged children across a number of primary and secondary schools in BANES.

Sarah currently works as a Family Support Practitioner, enabling families to make positive changes in their lives. She also works as a Youth Mentor and Youth advocate for Young People who are struggling to access regular schooling.

Sarah has recently trained as a Nature Guide and is currently completing her training with the internationally renowned Breathworks to become a certified teacher in Mindfulness for Health and Mindfulness for Stress. She is currently creating a Mindfulness for wellbeing in nature programme. She is passionate about enabling everyone to be able to use the nature that surrounds them to support their wellbeing and has an interest in supporting adult mental health specifically anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Sarah enjoys Yoga, Qi-gong, dancing and painting and leads the Friday Wild Ones sessions in Greyfields woods.

Angela Hill
Practitioner

Angela Hill has over 20 years teaching experience, the last 7 year increasingly teaching outdoors.  She is a Secondary school English teacher, but has also worked a great deal in primary.  She has an interest in many forms of alternative education having seen the benefits frequently derived.Since training as a Forest School leader she has completed her Masters Degree, researching the effect of educational transitions on vulnerable students.Now, her own curiosity about the positive effects of Nature on children and people of all ages, is driving her effort to find news ways for people to engage with, enjoy, and benefit from it.All teachers want to do this but time is limited and the pressures in the classroom are huge, the objectives are laid out in terms of targets and assessment results.  The aims in Forest School are different.  Success can afford to be measured in terms of cooperation, curiosity and good relationships.  Angela is dedicated to finding news ways for people of all ages to improve their lives through experiencing the outdoors.

Jane Southwell
Advisor – Children/ Early Years

Jane worked for many years as a Primary School Teacher and an Early Years Consultant for B&NES. She is also Forest School Trained. She is an enthusiastic ambassador for the benefits of outdoor wellbeing and child led learning.

Owain Jones - Ecowild

Owain Jones
Board Member

Owain Jones FGS is a Professor of Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University (UK). He works mainly in cultural geography and has published a number of peer-reviewed research articles in international geography and related social science journals. He has two main areas of research and writing interests; geographies of nature-culture and children’s geographies. Within the former he focuses upon animal geographies,[1] place/landscape/dwelling,[2] and tidal geographies (and temporal rhythms of landscape).[3]

Huw Griffiths
Mindfulness & Tai Chi 

Huw Griffiths Lic Ac is an experienced meditation teacher and delivers Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). A long term meditator who, for over thirty years has attended many Buddhist based teachings and retreats in support of his own personal practice. Huw is also a Five Element Acupuncturist of 25 years, experienced within the field of mind/body/health specializing in working with stress related illness. He runs Resonance, Mindfulness and Tai Chi (Tao Yin Fa) courses with EcoWild in Chew Valley and Greyfield Woods among other locations.

Supporting evidence for EcoWild’s work

rspb.org.uk/Images/naturalthinking_tcm9-161856.pdf

Evidence for benefits of Green Space on referral in Mental Health services