Optical instruments for environmental education at Lake Myvatn (2000)
Lake Myvatn and its outflow, the river Laxa, comprise an extraordinarily unique wetland system in the volcanically active zone of Iceland. The lake is a RAMSAR site (an international designation for wetlands of importance). From the time of the original Icelandic settlements local inhabitants have made their living sheep farming, fishing and sustainably gathering waterfowl eggs. Since the late 1960s, diatomite has been dredged from the lake and processed at a nearby factory. Despite overwhelming evidence that the mining has negative effects on the lake's ecosystem, the country's environmental ministry recently announced that the dredging will expand into the lake's southern basin. The Lake Myvatn Research Station has conducted studies and worked with the community to protect the lake for the past 25 years. Seacology has purchased optical equipment (microscopes, stereoscopes and telescopes) for the community school. Research Station staff is working with schoolchildren to study the lake's abundant lifeforms, and arm them with knowledge that will help them shape the future of the lake and the neighboring community.
Signage describing sites of environmental and cultural interest at Arneshreppur (2000)
The Reykjavik-based non-governmental environmental organization, Landvernd, is working with the small community of Arneshreppur in remote Northwest Iceland to protect the area's rich and diverse cultural, historic and natural resources. Despite Iceland's drastic social changes, the 70 remaining inhabitants of this community are determined to stay. As tourism increases in Iceland, this area will become much sought-after because of its unique, unspoiled environment and richness in placenames, historic sites and mythic stories. Seacology awarded Landvernd a challenge grant for the purposes of constructing signs to point out important cultural and natural sites. These signs will not only enhance tourism, but will also serve as moral support for this settlement determined to remain intact in the face of disappearing rural culture in Iceland.