WORK/PROJECT: Volunteers will be working on few different projects in the town of Höfn in the Hornafjörður fjord and its surrounding areas. The main tasks will be fixing walking paths and hiking trails as well as marking them properly. Other tasks will be cleaning around old ruins in the area and putting up signs about the ruins. Volunteers will also be cleaning the coastline and fixing an old dock.
ACCOMMODATION: Volunteers will be hosted in a local school; sleeping on mattresses on the floor; therefore bringing a warm sleeping bag is highly recommended. Bathing and shower facilities will be in the nearby swimming pool. Food ingredients will be provided and a kitchen will be available, volunteers will share the duties of preparing and cooking meals.
LOCATION: Hornafjörður is a blooming community in the realm of the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull, in the South-East part of Iceland. Höfn, the town, and the countryside are located at the base of Vatnajökull, and the scenery is breathtaking. Vatnajökull National Park, the largest National Park in Europe, is partly situated within the community region. There are various museums in the area such as folk museum, maritime-museum, a glacier exhibition and the centre of Þórbergur Þórðason (a major figure in Icelandic literature). The municipality holds 2.112 inhabitants (1. Jan. 2009).
The breakthrough in the fish industry in the dawn of 20th century created new possibilities for the community. Höfn's growth in the 20th century from a small village to today's town resulted from the development of a relatively diverse fishing industry. The landed catch is now more varied than in other fishing towns, including high-value species such as the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), a good part of the Icelandic lobster catch is landed at Höfn. In recent years lobster has become a central part of the towns image, for instance with a "lobster festival" being held each summer. Höfn actually means harbour, though repeated dredging has proved necessary to keep the entrance safe from sand deposits.
Apart from the town of Höfn the region has been an agricultural area. In many ways it has been lagging in economic terms, to a large extent because of special natural conditions. Number of glacial rivers cut the area in parts and before they were hemmed in by barriers and bridged, all transportation was very difficult. The last river was bridged in 1974 and with it the road encircling Iceland was finished. An example of the natural conditions is the eruption in Vatnajokull in the year 1996. A number of active volcanoes are under Vatnajokull. The flood which resulted because of the eruption broke down large bridges and caused damage of roads and electric lines. A video tape of the flood can be seen at the Glacier Exhibition in Höfn and the remains of the floods can still be seen when travelling through the area.
LANGUAGE: English will be the official language in the camp, high proficiency is not required.
STUDY THEME: Environmental messenger in the project. S/he will be in charge of delivering ecological and global education messages to both, International volunteers and local hosts through organised activities as workshops, presentations, simulations, discussions, games on topics related to environment, nature protection and sustainability as use of resources, globalisation, millennium development goals, global warming, fair trade, recycling, consumption, etc..
TERMINAL: Closest International Airport: Keflavík (Reykjavík), KEF. Closest domestic airport is Höfn (HFN). SEEDS organises the “minibus option”, a shared transport from Reykjavík to the camp location and vice-versa, which apart from being cheaper and more convenient, it allows volunteers to meet fellow campers and have a relaxed trip, while stopping on the way for interesting and tourist sites.
SPECIAL REMARKS / EXTRAS: Participation fee EUR 80,- (Euros). Excursions in the area, a hiking trip and visits to the beautiful coastline will be organised for the volunteers in their free time.