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.



University Students Assist Contact Tracing Team

Háskóli Íslands University of Iceland

One hundred health sciences students at the University of Iceland are assisting the Department of Civil Defense’s contact tracing team, RÚV reports.

Auður Kristjánsdóttir, a Master’s student in the physiotherapy department, is one of the students participating in contact tracing efforts. “We are just calling people and finding out if they’re aware that they should be in quarantine and checking on how they’re feeling, whether they are symptomatic and then [if so] directing them to call their local health clinic or 1700 [Iceland’s COVID-19 hotline],” she explained.

Auður said that she was just at home working on her thesis project when the contract tracing team reached out for student volunteers. “I thought I could help,” she said. “It’s gone well – we get a standard interview script that we go through and the interviews are, of course, confidential. People have responded well, they’ve been willing to provide their information in order to try and curtail the spread of the virus.”

Guðrún Björt Yngvadóttir Becomes First Female President of the Lions

Guðrún Björt Yngvadóttir was elected as the new international president of the service club Lions International, RÚV reports. Gúðrun Björt is the first female president of the organization, which only began admitting women thirty years ago and whose membership is still 70% men.

According to the organization website, the Lions Club has 46,000 clubs and over 1.4 million members, making it the largest “service club organization” in the world. Lions Clubs oversee a range of local outreach and service programs, focused on a variety of topics such as youth, the environment, health, and international relations.

Guðrún Björt has been a member of the Lions Club in Iceland since 1992 and has held many offices within the organization, such as district governor council chairperson and First Vice President. She has received numerous international honors for her work with the Lions, not least the Ambassador of Good Will Award, which is the highest honor conferred by Lions Clubs International.

In her speech at the organizations 101st International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (US) earlier this week, Guðrún Björt urged the Lions’ 740 district governors to be unafraid of taking on new projects. For her own part, Guðrún Björt is focused on issues of gender equality and helping young women to make a difference in the world.