On our second day up north in Keldunes, the group woke up sore and sleepy, but ready for another day of hard work. We fueled up for the day with a breakfast of Icelandic pancakes made with yogurt and accompanied by Nutella, berries, and syrup. Our breakfast was amplified with a group jam to music on Spotify (including some Icelandic indie music), and also two fire alarms that we managed to set off.
After breakfast, we returned to the same area of the countryside from the previous day to continue the gardening. We were all excited to see the sun come out, and we spent the day enjoying the rays as we continued to plant birches and grass. By the end of the day, we had planted a little over 2,500 trees, meaning that during our two days of service we planted over 5,000 trees!
While in the countryside, our leader Sigga, who works for the Icelandic Soil Conservation Service, explained some of Iceland’s ecological restoration efforts to us. She informed us that the Vikings cut down the forests years ago to make charcoal, and it is important that they grow back as they help stop erosion, prevent mudslides, enhance slope stability, provide wildlife habitat, and create prime grazing for sheep. Once the final trees were planted and the last fertilizer was spread, the group trekked up to the top of a hill to enjoy a breathtaking view of Northern Iceland. We stopped for a moment to see the rivers, mountains, and hills of the vast landscape.
After a long day of planting, we returned to the farm for some downtime. Dinner consisted of a homemade rice noodle stir-fry. After a delicious meal and an evening filled with conversation, it was time for bed. Everyone went to bed tired, yet satisfied and proud of the hard work that we put in over the past two days. We all hope to return to Iceland in a few years to experience the final outcome of our work and walk among the rows of greenery that we planted with our very own hands.