The Team

The Team

Brigid Barry

Brigid has been the manager for the Farming for Nature project since its inception in 2018.  Prior to this initiative, she was the manager of the landscape charity Burrenbeo Trust for 9 years, biodiversity officer for Clare County Council and a project officer on numerous conservation projects abroad for the previous 10 years.  Brigid comes from a suckler and tillage farm in Co. Cork.  Listen here to a podcast on how she got involved in conservation and the background to Farming For Nature.  Brigid works part time (Tuesdays & Wednesdays).  She can be contacted on [email protected]

Sarah Coonan

Sarah is the Network and Outreach Officer for the Farming For Nature project since February 2024. Growing up in rural Tipperary, Sarah is a Psychology graduate with a keen interest in nature, farming and growing food. This became heightened after living in Cloughjordan Ecovillage.  In the past she has volunteered at a horticultural therapy project in Romania, studied Sustainable Horticulture in Kinsale, and worked on the North Tipperary Online Farmers Market as a digital media manager. Sarah has recently completed a postgraduate diploma in Agroforestry and Landscape Biodiversity at SETU and is undertaking the Green Cert at Pallaskenry Agricultural College. Aside from FFN, she continues to work on conventional and organic dairy farms doing relief work. She works part time for Farming for Nature (Tuesday to Thursday) and can be contacted at [email protected]

Catherine Wall

Catherine joined the Farming for Nature Team in February 2024 as Communications and Events Officer. Catherine grew up on a mixed farm and is currently dairy farming with her husband James in South Tipperary. Throughout her career, Catherine has worked for several not for profit organisations in marketing, communications and event management. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from University of Limerick and a Higher Diploma in Marketing Practice from University of Galway. She works part time for Farming for Nature (Tuesday and Wednesday) and can be contacted on [email protected] 

Dr Brendan Dunford

Brendan has worked on inputting, guiding and advising Farming For Nature on a voluntary basis since its inception. He is heavily involved in all aspects of the organisation.  From a farming background in Co. Waterford, Brendan has spent the past 25 years living and working in the Burren region where he led the award-winning BurrenLIFE Project and its successor, the pioneering ‘Burren Programme’ between 2010-2022. Brendan is founding member the Burrenbeo Trust, a landscape-based charity which delivers an extensive range of place-based learning and community stewardship initiatives nationally, including Farming For Nature, Heritage Keepers and The Hare’s Corner.  Brendan is a former board member of the Heritage Council, the EPA Advisory Committee and the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism. He is an Ashoka Fellow for Ireland and was awarded an honorary doctorate by NUI Galway in 2018 for his work in championing farmland biodiversity. He is a regular contributor to the Irish Farmers Journal covering ‘sustainability’ themes. All queries for Brendan can be directed through [email protected]

Lydia Lishman

Lydia is carrying out some part time research on behalf of Farming for Nature to explore EU Funding applications. Previously she worked for the Sustainable Food Trust, as part of the Global Farm Metric and also managed a sustainable food and farming platform Agricology, run by the Organic Research Centre in the UK. She has an MSc in Carbon Management and a keen interest in sustainable food, having worked for Daylesford and the BBC Good Food Shows. Lydia can be contacted on [email protected].

John Lambe

John Lambe manages the accounting and finance functions for Farming For Nature.  He works 3 days a week at our umbrella charity Burrenbeo Trust and dedicates one of these days to the management of FFN’s accounts.  As part of this he prepares our annual accounts for the auditors as required by the Charities Regulator and advises FFN on all things around budgets, funding etc.  John is a chartered accountant with decades of experience in accounting.  He lives in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare.  Any queries for John can be directed to [email protected] 


Executive Committee

This is a voluntary committee that meet on a quarterly basis to discuss the progress and plans of the organisation.  Is composed of FFN staff (above), volunteers, funders and farming ambassadors with experience in policy, research and practice.

Áine Bird

Áine is the manager of Burrenbeo Trust, Farming For Nature’s umbrella organisation. From a farming background in Co. Meath, she is currently undertaking her PhD at University of Galway investigating community stewardship and place-based learning.   Áine oversees Farming for Nature’s governance and financial administration.  Joined FFN ExCo in 2023.

Andrew Bergin

Andrew farms 320 acres of arable land in Co. Kildare.  Andrew is an active member of BASE Ireland. He is a participant in DANU EIP project investigating the benefits of conversion to biological farming. He sits on the steering group of the Protecting Farmland Pollinators EIP.   Andrew has been a Farming For Nature Ambassador since 2020.   Joined FFN ExCo in 2023.

Dr Barry O’Donoghue

Barry coordinates various work programmes for National Park and Wildlife Service including those relating to agriculture.   Barry manages Farming For Nature’s funding streams from NPWS.  He has been a judge on the Ambassador Awards since 2019.  Joined ExCo in 2023.

Clive Bright

Clive has been a Farming For Nature Ambassador since 2019.  He raises 100% pasture-fed organic livestock on his 120-acre farm in south Co. Sligo.  As well as managing the farm and his direct meat sales business; Rare Ruminare, Clive is PR and Development Officer with the Organic Trust, on the steering group of National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) and a founding director of the Irish Agroforestry Forum. Clive is a Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards judge since 2021 and a mentor on The Horse’s Mouth programme since 2022.  Joined Farming For Nature ExCo in 2023.

Dr Emma Hart

Emma is a conservation ecologist with over ten years of international experience in the design and management of science-based conservation initiatives. Alarmed by the rate of decline of Ireland’s biodiversity, she founded, a consultancy service in biodiversity conservation, education and research in 2022. Emma also runs a 50-acre organic farm and biodiversity reserve where, in partnership with state bodies, NGOs and third level institutes, she tests and develops methods in nature restoration and regenerative agriculture on Irish farmland. She has a PhD in conservation ecology and an MSc in psychology and draws from both fields in her conservation work. Emma is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) specialist group. She is also a passionate adventurer, spending six years leading wilderness expeditions in sub-Saharan Africa, often on horseback. Emma has been reviewing and creating science-based content for FFN since 2022 and joined FFN’s ExCo in 2023.

Hannah Quinn-Mulligan

Hannah Quinn-Mulligan runs a beef and free-range poultry farm with her grandmother in Co Limerick.  She is also co-managing a dairy herd with a neighbour.  She the founding member and chairperson of the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group. Hannah has a masters in Organic Farming with SRUC and previously worked with the Irish Farmers Journal, the UN, and the BBC where she presented and produced a number of documentaries on rural life.  Hannah continues to work as a journalist around her farming commitments.  Hannah has been a FFN Ambassador Awards judge since 2020.  Joined FFN ExCo in 2023.

Dr James Moran

James is a Senior Lecturer in Biology and Ecology at in The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the Atlantic Technological University, teaching on agriculture and environmental science related programmes. His research and outreach work concentrates on sustainable agricultural systems with a particular focus on improving agri-environment policy and practice. He is particularly interested in the potential of a HNV farmland network where innovative local communities can work in partnership to realise a sustainable future for their area. He is a Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre; member of the National Biodiversity Forum; member of the Expert Advisory Group of the Citizens’ Assembly on biodiversity loss; and board member of European Results Based Payments Network.  James is from a farming background in Co.Mayo.  James has been advising FFN since its inception.  Joined ExCo in 2023.

Niall Ryan

Niall has worked as a secondary school teacher, a Teagasc advisor, a Technical Representative a for grain company prior to joining the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2001 were he was assigned to the Organic unit.  He then joined the Agricultural Environment and Structures and his duties included the development and effective delivery of controls on Argi-Environmental Schemes, e.g. REPS, AEOS, GLAS.  He moved to Crop Evaluation & Certification Division.  In 2019 he moved to the Nitrates Biodiversity and Engineering Division based and his main responsibilities focus on Biodiversity policy, soils and EIA (agriculture) Regulations.  He is also on the Irish Wetlands Ramsar Committee.   Niall has been managing Farming For Nature’s funding streams from DAFM since 2019. Joined FFN ExCo in 2023.






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