The Portuguese volunteers together with forest ranger Jón Auðun Bogason and representatives of the S…
The Portuguese volunteers together with forest ranger Jón Auðun Bogason and representatives of the SEEDS organization. Photo: João Simões/Helder Berenguer

Five volunteers from the Portuguese youth organization Agora Aveiro participated in forestry projects during their stay in Iceland from April 20 to 30. The voluntary work was planned in collaboration with the volunteer organization SEEDS and the Icelandic Forest Service (IFS) with the support of the European program Erasmus+.

This was the second of five projects the groups plans to undertake through an international effort called F.O.R.E.S.T., a joint venture of Arora Aveiro and the Iceland division of the SEEDS volunteers association. The acronym stands for "Foster Environmental Strategies for Change" and the initiative is about strengthening international cooperation in projects and campaigns in the field of environmental sustainability, with the aim of reducing the impact of climate change on local and regional communities. The idea is that this is a platform to share ideas, methods and experiences between companies that advocate for environmental issues and sustainability and carry out various environmental projects such as forestry, vegetation protection and cleaning of the environment.

The Arora Aveiro group consisted of five people, Helder Berenguer, Liane Carvalho, Nuno Afonso, Nuno Brízida and João Simões. They stayed in Skógarkot, an IFS forest cottage in the Norðtunga Forest in Borgarfjörður. There they worked on on projects in collaboration with Forest Manager Jón Auðun Bogason. Among other things, they worked on pulling thinning wood, logs and branches, out of the forest and improving forest paths in the area. Chips made from the thinning wood was used to cover the pahts. They also worked on preparing cuttings of black cottonwood from material that had been taken in the forests of Skorradalur Valley. The cuttings are intended for increased production of cottonwood in tree nurseries. Apart from the hard work, the group also got the chance to travel a bit around West Iceland, visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, lava fields, geysers and more. In the end, they were happy to get to see the northern lights as well.

The continuation of the partnership consists, among other things, in representatives from SEEDS in Iceland visit its partner organization in Portugal, the youth organization Agora Aveiro. There, the visitors will learn about the planning and implementation of voluntary work in the area, as well as learning about the local people's methods to better involve the local community in the development and implementation of projects.

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Text: Pétur Halldórsson

Agora Aveiro Agora Aveiro Facebook page Text: Pétur Halldórsson