Ecowellness Consulting Ltd. (Formerly Nature, Health & Wellbeing Ireland) is a “Profit for Purpose” business with a strong focus on achieving social, community and environmental benefits.

Meet the Team


Shirley Gleeson


Shirley is a Nature & Wellbeing Consultant and the Director of Ecowellness Consulting Ltd. She is also the Co- Founder of the European Forest Therapy Institute. She holds Masters Degrees in both Health Promotion and Social Work and has over twenty years experience working in the areas of health and social care in the public, voluntary and private sector. She designs nature based interventions to improve and enhance people’s health and wellbeing and facilitates nature based training for mental health professionals.

She is a certified Forest Therapy Guide, Mentor and Trainer with the European Forest Therapy Institute and has been a past trainer and mentor with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, based in the U.S.  She has also trained as a Nature Guide with Ecotraining in South Africa as well as undertaking an internship with the People and Conservation Departments of the South African National Parks. Shirley has trained in ecotherapy in the UK.

She has extensive postgraduate training in expressive arts therapy, counselling, stress management, therapeutic play, dialectical behavioural therapy skills, behavioural family therapy and theraputic use of mindfulness. She is also a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) facilitator. She is a member of Crann, Trees for Ireland.

Shirley has presented her forest therapy research and practice at international conferences in Ireland, the UK & Austria and has addressed the United Nations in Geneva on the topic of human health and forests. She was recently an Academy Awardee with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Diarmuid McAree

Formerly Chief Forestry Inspector of the Irish Forest Service, Diarmuid is now a Forestry Consultant and Advisor. During his time with the Forest Service he dealt with all national and international forestry related matters.  He is currently Vice Chairman of a UN/ECE/ILO Team of Specialists on Green Jobs in the Forest Sector (based in Geneva) and a Director of Crann -Trees for Ireland.  

He has degrees in Forestry, Microbiology, Entomology and Pathology from UCD and the University of Florida.  He was Chairman of Woodlands of Ireland and a board member of COFORD (Council for Forest Research and Development).  He is a part-time lecturer on Forest Protection at UCD and he is Crann’s representative on the Tree Council of Ireland.  

Diarmuid has a grá mór for the outdoor life and during his student years was Captain of the UCD Mountaineering Club.  Amongst the highlights of his adventurous travels are an ascent of Kilimanjaro and an expedition to Antarctica.  He is a member of the Irish Mountaineering Club, Birdwatch Ireland, The Society of Irish Foresters and the Irish Environmental Network.

Diarmuid is an enthusiastic advocate of forest ecotherapy and ecotourism.  He believes strongly in the economic, social and environmental benefits they bring to local communities by the creation of forest trails and guided walks. 

Donal O'Keeffe

Donal is a Research Psychologist with over a decade’s experience in the mental health field. He supports the work at Ecowellness Consulting Ltd. by guiding its development and progress in line with cutting edge research advances and advises on an evidence base for the programmes offered. Donal is an international expert on the recovery orientated approach in mental health; with special interests in nature based mental health interventions, recovery in psychosis, and service user involvement in mental health care/research.

Currently based in Trinity College Dublin, Donal is completing his PHD in Meaning in Life in mental health recovery and has a proven track record of publishing in peer reviewed journals and presenting at international conferences. To date, he has played an integral role in the development and rollout of multiple projects and initiatives that have promoted positive mental health in communities in Ireland.