**** I am looking for skilled volunteers for Winter/Spring 2019 ****

Skills needed include:

  • Building, carpentry, woodwork, plumbing
  • Land clearance, strimming, digging swales
  • Forestry work including chainsawing (if you are qualified and have your own insurance)

If you don't have these skills but are good with hand and power-tools, strong and willing there may also be a place for you. 

I ask for a minimum 1-month commitment and 6 hours work 5 days a week.

If you have none of the above skills there also may be a place for you paying a contribution of €5 a day. Or if you prefer fewer work hours you can be a supporting volunteer and work 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and pay 15€ a day. 

Please read the text below before applying:
I am very happy to welcome people onto this land and into this project who want to help me develop the Awakened Forest Project. 
It is clear to me that humanity - that's us! - are at a crossroads and we need to transform our ways of living in all dimensions to meet the challenges of our time. 
The Awakened Forest Project is the expression of my response to the crisis we are facing, it’s an expression of my passion, and devotion to what I love. 
I understand myself and this project to be a small part of a much greater picture and I see this work in a deep time perspective, that in a very real way extends far beyond my own beautiful mountain-farm and woodlands. 
For volunteers, it is most important that you are inspired with the vision and that you find in yourself the spirit of sacred activism  - which is the willingness to give and contribute to a higher purpose that transcends our small, separate sense of self. There are many things you may learn here but this is only the right place for you if you deeply resonate with the vision and fundamentally feel that you want to jump in and help with what I want to do.  
Please have a look at the website of the Awakened Life Project (ALP) which is our wider network and spiritual home and, if you are interested in volunteering with us, read the ALP Vision page to see if you resonate with the foundation of our Forest Project.
I ask that all volunteers join me in meditation for an hour every morning except Sundays. If you are not interested in meditation this is probably not the place for you. If you have never meditated before that is not a problem at all - I am very happy to guide you and get you started and will always endeavour to answer any questions you have. We have weekly meetings to talk about anything that has arisen during the week or any questions anyone wishes to bring.
I have an amazing library of books on permaculture, sustainability, woodwork and nature mysticism to name a few. At night we sometimes we watch films or have discussions. I love to talk about the work and our perspective and will always meet your interest. There is also space outside of work time to simply let yourself be. We live in a stunning protected area with waterfalls, mountains and wonderful walking, and we are passionate about giving people the chance to spend time embraced by Nature.



We have limited internet access through a dongle. Volunteers may use this to confirm flights or make emergency emails but otherwise internet access is at the local village at the weekends and you will need your own computer. Please note we do not have a printer for coach tickets and boarding passes.

The local village, Pardieiros, is charming with a community-run cafe with internet access 30 minutes walk away. There is a protected remnant forest called Mata da Magaraça 40 minutes walk away and the famous Fraga da Pena waterfalls 10 minutes walk away. Our nearest town, Coja, is 20 minutes by car and there is no public transport though you may be able to arrange a lift locally. 

I have 2 amazing dogs called Missi and Balu who are very friendly and love visitors. And a small panther called Connor who is really the one runs the place.

Because we are interested in living a conscious holistic life I have a few rules to support this during your stay:

· No drugs
· No smoking
· No drinking (other than an occasional glass of wine or Port - we are in Portugal after all!)

The Work

At the moment our work is focused on finishing our eco-building projects and there are a range of building tasks such as plastering, woodwork, finshing walls, fitting windows.. I am also still rebuilding and clearing up after the fires of 2017 which will involve taking down dead pines and a lot of work in the forest.

I live an outdoor life, so you must enjoy physical work in any weather and be fairly robust, though I do try and find indoor work in heavy rain. I also ask that everyone takes a share with domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning. I ask for 6 hours of work per day Mon-Fri plus participation in shared domestic tasks. Saturday and Sunday are free days. 


Accommodation is a tent on our land. We have an indoor wood-fired shower and compost toilet. For the adventurous, we have beautiful wild mountain stream running through our land and our own private dipping pool. We don't have coffee but this is more effective than espresso for a morning wake-up!!

We also have an outdoor kitchen with rocket stove hob. We do all our cooking using wood and heat all our water with wood. We provide a simple but delicious vegetarian diet with lots of salad, grains and vegetables with local eggs, goat milk and wild greens. We eat three meals together and everyone takes a turn preparing food and clearing-up. We also share the cleaning of communal spaces.

What you will need to bring:

  • A headtorch - ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL as we don't have spares and it gets dark here!
  • Waterproof coat and trousers for working outside in the rain
  • Clothes to work in that can get spoiled!
  • Sun hat - the sun is strong here
  • Eco-friendly Sunblock if you use it
  • Biodegradable organic soap and shampoo - we can provide soap and have some shampoo to sell if you can't buy any but everyone should use this anyway!!
  • Flouride free toothpaste - we can sell homemade toothpowder if you can't obtain fluoride free toothpaste
  • Bedding - sleeping bag, pillowcase and mattress if you are camping. If you are flying and cannot carry all of this please let me know in advance
  • Towel
  • Musical instrument if you have one!

If you would like to apply to volunteer please email me, Laura, at info@awakenedforestproject.org and let me know some detail about why you would like to volunteer with us and how you resonate with our vision and I will get back to you.




Thursday 14th of February 8 - 9.30pm (GMT)

It is well known that the priceless honey bee is facing a crisis world-wide.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita Saturday February 23rd 10.30 - 5pm

I am very happy to announce another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Date TBC 2018

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.


It has been a long time since I have written a blog post because so much has been ongoingly changing in the last year. I wanted to wait until the dust and ash had settled and I knew where I would be before I wrote.

Many of the plants and trees the bees and other insects thrive on have burnt in the October fires and will not be flowering this year and some not next year either if they recover at all. Here are my suggestions on how to help the pollinators through these lean times.

God these are heartbreaking times. Rain that was so longed for in the summer is now pouring off these hills taking soil and stone and track with it onto the terraces and into rivers.

Many people have asked us how they can help in the wake of the fires and all we have lost. We are very touched and grateful for these offers of support. Here are some ways you can help:

We have started building the second floor of the workshop!! This will be our last major build here and will provide a dormitory and meditation/workshop room which will increase our capacities for events and hosting people, especially outside of the summer months.