Iceland Weekly Report – 1

I’m in Iceland on a training period (internship) with the Iceland Forestry Service. In this post I’ll describe my activities during the first week.

On Monday I was picked up by the man who approved my internship and we visited the Forestry institute. Surrounding the institute there is an arboretum with all kinds of trees. We made a short hike there and I was surprised to see how many different tree species can grow relatively tall here if with proper treatment. I talked with some of their researchers and got a glimpse of their work.

After visiting the institute we drove to the cabin where I’ll be mostly stationed for the duration of my internship. It lies 60 kilometers from the nearest town (Selfoss) and is surrounded by forest. Close to and partly surrounding the cabin is a big (especially for Icelandic standards) state-owned forest complex. The inside of the cabin is very nice, and outside there’s a hot tub we use to relax after work. Currently there are 5 international interns and around 4 (depends on the day) Forest Service employees working in this area.

I started work as a planter on Tuesday. In three days I’ve planted approximately 1000 trees, mostly a sitka (Picea sytchensis) spruce hybrid and birch (Betula Pubescens), which is the natural species here. Planting makes me feel good and I hope that I get to do some more before i’m done here. On Friday I was assigned to a winching team. It’s the first time I’ve been doing this but I got the hang of it fast and the work went well with no complications.

The Forestry Service treats us very well. We get all the appropriate gear and there is plenty of food that they provide. We eat a hot meal twice per day (lunch and dinner) There’s also enough time for rest and doing random activities. For example, I’m trying to learn some Icelandic, which is much harder to learn (especially to pronounce) than Norwegian. So far I’m only making baby steps. The chess board we have here is missing some pieces, so I took it upon myself to carve new ones from birch wood.

And to spice up this boring report, let me tell you that one of my co-workers is the best fox hunter in all of Iceland! He let me take a picture of his recent catch. As you can see it is an honor to die by the hand of a hunter this great, so they have smiles on their faces :).

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