Inspired by Iceland
SEEDS 40. Vatnajökull National Park & Organic Iceland

Those special two weeks were all about plants.

First week, our workcamp was based in Skaftafell where we had to monitor the lupin’s growth and kill the plants that threatened the native species in the National Park. In the next week, we moved to Laugarvatn and, as druids with little wooden baskets, we learned the names of Icelandic plants and went everyday to handpick some organic cosmetics.

Lupin is a very beautiful flower especially as you drive through Iceland and see hills and valleys filled with the violet colour. A species growing in very harsh conditions, lupin was brought from Alaska in order to help revegetate the eroded areas. Nevertheless, the Icelandic plan for the erosion problem started to show side effects as lupin prooved to be quite an invasive plant. In Skaftafell, working together with Iceland Conservation Volunteers, we tried to stop the development of lupin and keep it away from the areas with fragile Icelandic native plants. And at the end of this amazing week at the foot of the glacier, we learned a new important phrase for conservationists "The only good lupin is a dead lupin".

In Laugarvatn, where we  were staying in the second week, we transformed into something between druids and  little Red Riding Hoods with wooden baskets. I was sure that our sex appeal would increase as now we learned some unique words in Icelandic (several plants' names). It was really refreshing to work all day outside on the mountain, picking wild plants and learning a bit about how to make organic beauty products in your kitchen.

At the end of these two weeks, we all knew that the most important element in the story was our nice group and the kind people that we met. It was a sad time when we had to split and go back to our countries. But, as I like to say "To the next adventure!"

Ana DUMBARA (SEEDS workcamp leader)

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