Planting our Future
The POF project was a great experience for our school. We visited all 10 countries and our students liked it. The one on the picture below had never been abroad before and this is the way he expressed his feelings when he first stepped out on foreign ground. – He returned home a true cosmopolitan!
We wrote news about the tours on the school's web. This is the page telling about the trip to Sweden.
The POF workshop in Akranes 10. - 15. Sept. 2012
27 guests from 9 countries came to Akranes to take part in the project.
The first day the guests were informed at the school about Iceland, Akranes and the situation of the plants and forestry in Iceland. After lunch they were supposed to walk up to the top of Akrafjall, an easy walk on the local mountain. But this day a strong and cold wind was blowing from the north so it could have been dangerous to let the guests walk on the mountain.
Instead of the mountain walk we went to a small forrest in Akranes town and watched artistic pieces, then to the local museum and after that to an old lighthouse at the seashore of Akranes. The forrest was planted after 1950. In those days most people didn´t believe it was possible for trees to grow in the Akranes area.
POF-er´s in the forrest, sheltered from the cold north wind by the trees
Art in the forrest on Monday
At the seashore in the heavily blowing cold northern wind on monday. A smile on everey face! – Some even went to the swimming pool afterwards.
On Tuesday there was a trip to Reykavík. On the way we stopped at Mogilsa, a base of the Iceland Forest Service. There we were informed about icelandic afforrestation in the 20th century.
Iceland is Europe´s least forested country with only 0,3% of the land covered with forest (Hungary about 20% and Sweden about 65%). When Iceland was settled 1100 years ago forests covered 30-40% of the total area of Iceland. In the 20th century there has been growing interests in afforestation in Iceland though many believed that trees could not grow in the country.
The rest of the day was spent in Reykjavik. Below are some pictures taken in Reykjavík.
Wednesday in Hvalfjordur on the way to Thingvellir.
In Thingvellir the icelandic parlament was located from 930 to about 1800. In Thingvellir we had a walk around the area and a lunch.
Belolw there are some pictures from Thingvellir
After Thingvellir we went to Geysir (a hot spring area)
Below are some pictures from the Geysir area
Pictures from the beautiful waterfall of Gullfoss.
Kaldidalur (Cold Walley): the entrance to the icelandic highland
From Gullfoss the trip was headed to what we can call the entrance to the icelandic inland or highland. The icelandic highland is the Europa´s biggest desert with little or no plants. We just drove to the entrance of the Kaldidalur (Cold Walley), the real road through Cold Walley was closed because of snow. – The bad weather was in fact causing big problems in the northern part of the country.
Below are some pictures from the "entrance" to the Cold Walley (Kaldidalur). In the real Cold Walley there is not so much grass or other vegetation. Indeed there is still erosion in many areas in Iceland and we could see examples of that in our trip.
Erosion has made big parts of Iceland a desert through the centuries so planting trees is really an important issue nowadays.
Scout cottage in Skorradalur – the chef in action
In the afternoon we arrived to the "Skorradalur" were we spent the evening and the night in a scout cottage. The icelandic teachers grilled and in the evening there were presentations by each nation and plays, songs and fun.
On Thursday it was raining heavily in the morning. We left a little later because of the weather. We went to a hydroelectric power plant delivering electricity to Akranes from 1947.
The neighboring horses liked the photo session.
Here the group is by Deildartunguhver, a hot spring delivering hot water to Akranes, 63 km. away. All houses in Borgarnes and Akranes and the swimming pools are warmed up by this hot spring which is the one with the highest flow-rate in Europe.
Snorralaug the hot pool of Snorri
Here we are in Reykholt, the home of the icelandic writer Snorri Sturluson (1179 - 1241). He was killed there 1241. Snorri was the writer of the Norwegian kings' history and his book on old norse mythology is the most important source in the world on that subject.
There is a hot spring close by that warmed up his houses with hot water and this pool.
Hraunfossar or "Lavawaterfalls".
In fact there is a river running under the lava that comes out here and emerges the white river from the glacier.
On Friday morning there was the "ceremony of stones" at the school.
After the ceremony each student planted one tree by the road to Akranes. Along the road the Forestry Association of Akranes and the local government of Akranes are planting trees to get shelter from the cold northern wind and snow.
While planting the trees it rained heavily but everyone was smiling, even the small trees who have to grow in all kinds of weather, from cold northern storm in the winter to a rather cold and dry sommer.
The man in the funny costume kneeling in front of the group is smiling because he just made all these poor people plant trees in a heavy and cold rain! – And they smile because it is over!
Here are the teachers at the farewell party on Friday evening.
Even if the weather was a disaster, the workshop was not!
About Planting our future in newspapers:
Skessuhorn: The local newspaper in West Iceland (two articles)