Westfjords' Exploration of Iceland's Coastal FuturePhoto: University Centre of the Westfjords
Students from the University Centre of the Westfjords embarked on an educational journey, exploring scenic spots near Ísafjörður. This trip amalgamated students from two master's programs: "People and the sea: Geographical perspectives" and "Coastal and Marine Management: Theory and Tools". The synergy of these two programs made it an opportune moment for a shared field trip.
Their journey commenced at Ósvör, a maritime museum epitomizing an ancient Icelandic fishing station. At this location, Jóhann Hannibalsson, in traditional fisherman attire, elucidated the historical significance of coastal communities and fishing. Brack Hale emphasized the importance of recognizing places like Ósvör as pivotal, especially during an era where sea-travel was the primary mode of transport.
Their expedition progressed atop Bolafjall mountain, initially shrouded in fog. After an impromptu lecture regarding the radar station and its relevance during the Cold War, an unexpected snowfall stole the show. Soon after, the weather cleared, revealing a mesmerizing panorama of the Ísafjarðardjúp and Hornstrandir nature reserve. The students discussed the potential environmental impact of planned fish farms in the vicinity, especially concerning the Hornstrandir reserve.
The journey culminated at Holtsfjara in Önundarfjörður. Here, students were educated about the diverse birdlife and contemplated the potential ecological ramifications of proposed luxury hotels and sea baths. Matthias Kokorsch highlighted the intriguing mesh of stakeholder interests in such regions, from Eider duck farmers to luxury hotel constructors and nature enthusiasts.
This blend of outdoor pedagogy, on-site visits, and excursions forms the core teaching methodology at the University Centre of the Westfjords. With a diverse, international student body and faculty, the university conducts all its master's programs in English, welcoming participants globally. These programs cater to multiple disciplines and serve the educational interests of a vast spectrum of professionals.