Emerald Heritage was formed by Irish people for Irish people in response to the erosion of both Ireland’s landscape and aspects of its shared culture. Recently we spoke with founder and director Lyn Nelson about the difference her company is making on the Emerald Isle.
What is your own heritage?
I am Irish born and raised in the north coast of Ireland. As a wife and mother of two daughters I learnt through the local press about the very serious situation facing our Irish native woodlands and how the deforestation over the centuries has impacted upon the whole of Ireland’s landscape.
How and when did you get involved with the company?
We already owned land in the beautiful area of The Glens of Antrim (ranked #1 in Europe and #5 in the rest of the world – most beautiful destinations in the world and AONB – An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and realized that we could make a difference with the public’s help. By inviting them to purchase their own little souvenir plot of Irish land with Emerald Heritage, together we can ensure that this valuable natural resource will never be destroyed by developers or the like, thus ensuring its conservation for future generations. Our partners at the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust manage the land and will plant the trees on their behalf, with the funds raised from the sale of the plots. The woodland will then be allowed to regenerate naturally and provide a safe haven for wildlife and people alike – in perpetuity. Initially creating a plan to redress the problems experienced with Irish woodland depletion, we have put our heart and soul into developing a fun solution to the very real and serious issues affecting Ireland’s depleting woodland. Our goal is to protect, preserve and enhance the quantity of native Irish woodland, its surrounding wildlife and habitats. We intend to take a positive approach towards the restoration and expansion of Ireland’s native woodland, therefore simultaneously providing a solution to this age-old problem.
What are your roles and responsibilities there?
I am very much hands on with the day to day running of the project. I am motivated by creating a solution to a problem. I get out of bed every morning full of excitement and ready to work hard to drive this project forward. It’s my home, and I am determined to focus on all its positives, protect it, enhance it and encourage our fellow Irish landowners from all over the world to visit. During September 2015, many of our landowners did come to visit their land. We had so much fun together, and they helped us plant Irish native trees on their land. The wonderful thing about this project is that once the land is sold, the land is theirs, not ours. It is wonderful to see the pride they take of their land and it has been a wonderful way to make the miles between us local Irish and Irish Diaspora even smaller!
What are the challenges involved?
I have always enjoyed a challenge, and I view every experience as a positive one. I am driven by the absolute determination to make a difference to our Irish homeland, its landscape, its local communities and organizations that will last for generations. Our Squireen’s, Squires and Squiress’s are leaving a lifelong legacy – what better gift to Ireland can there be? With this in mind, all negative barriers I have come up against, seem to disappear.
What are the rewards?
I just love to meet our Irish cousins from all over the world. This project brings us together again. Passionate and proud of my homeland and wanting to do something positive still comes with a huge responsibility. Whenever I am asked why as a company we feel so compelled to give so much back the answer is easy! It is simply the right thing to do.
Who are your core clients?
Anyone who has a connection to Ireland, and the local Irish have been just as supportive.
How do you reach them?
Mostly via social media, online presence and word of mouth. Currently, we are re-investing all our funding into the project, so we don’t work with large marketing budgets.
What are the company’s future plans?
To provide the funding via the sale of these little plots, to local organizations and charities, to enable them to carry out this much needed conservation work.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Celtic marketplace?
It is just wonderful! The Irish are a very unique culture, and we are very proud of our heritage. It does not matter how many generations back it stems from. This has proved to be fundamental in the development of the Celtic marketplace. It warms my heart to talk and listen to our fellow Irish cousins around the world, sharing their wonderful stories about their ancestors, why they left and how their sons and daughters came to be where they are today in the world. Some have literally brought me to tears with pride, happiness and sadness. I feel this experience has taught me a lot about myself, and I now understand where my determination and work ethic has come from.