Citizen Scientists Wanted to Monitor Land

GróLind, a project to monitor Iceland’s soil and vegetation resources through remote sensing data, is turning to the public for help.

Jóhann Helgi Stefánsson, environmental scientist and project manager at GróLind, has stated that the project “is an opportunity for people to monitor the land in an organized way, see the results of reforestation, see the development of vegetation and have a direct impact on the knowledge we are creating every day.”

GróLind’s land monitoring began in 2019. Among other research goals, the project investigates sheep grazing patterns, and how vegetation develops on grazed and protected lands.

Now, the project is looking for citizen volunteers to help gather further data. Volunteers will use an app, and along with some basic training, monitor small areas of land throughout the country. By using a pole provided by Landgræðslan, Iceland’s foundation for land reclamation, volunteers will mark the center of a 50m area in diameter and report the findings back to GróLind.

In combination with other systems like satellite imagery, the data will hopefully contribute to a fuller picture of land use in Iceland.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to watch the instructional videos provided on the Landgræðslan YouTube channel, or else to visit the GróLind website.

 

 

Cold Summer Makes for Good Berry Harvest

berry picking in iceland

Berry season has begun, albeit rather late this year. The later start is attributed to a colder than average summer.

However, Iceland’s berry-pickers agree that if there is no early frost, then a good berry harvest can be expected across the island.

Several Icelandic dairies are also buying berries from the public this season for use in yogurt and skyr.

In late Summer and early Fall, a variety of berries can be found throughout Iceland. Blueberries and crowberries are most commonly seen in the heaths and mountains, and several other varieties like redcurrants can also be found everywhere from Reykjavík’s parks to Iceland’s more remote regions.

Prospective berry-pickers may want to check the weather this weekend. Friday is predicted to be sunny, if cool, with a warmer but cloudier Saturday and Sunday.

Iceland to Consolidate University Applications into One Portal

icelandic startups

Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörndóttir, Minister of Higher Education, Industry, and Innovation, has recently announced plans to establish a single enrollment portal for all higher education in Iceland.

Currently, students applying for college in Iceland must separately submit applications to Iceland’s various universities. The new, simplified, portal would streamline this process and allow students to instead apply for all of Iceland’s universities through island.is, an official government website which handles many other administrative tasks already.

According to Áslaug, preliminary discussion with the rectors of Iceland’s top institutions have already been held. So far, the reception is positive.

In addition to simplifying the application process, the new portal will also consolidate information on course offerings, paths of study, prerequisites, funding, and other vital information for university students.

In her statement, Áslaug also said that the new online system would represent a first step in a changed model for funding in higher education, but no further information is available at this time.