(C)=cultural (N)=natural There is some crossover between disciplines
||30th April – 7th May 2017
||Devetaki Plateau Association (C)
||25th – 31st May 2017
||Evenstad University (N)
||25th – 31st May 2017
||Krajina and High Tatras National Park (N)
||5th -22nd May 2017
||NE Estonia – The Estonian National Museum (C)
||1st – 8th June 2017
||Fornverkaskólinn Turf Building (C)
||05th – 11th July 2017
||Vitra Centre for Sustainable Development (N)
||22nd -29th August 2017
||Satul Verde (Green Village) (N)
||26th Jul – 01st Aug 2017
||EUCC and Ujscie Warta National Park (N)
||1st – 07th September 2017
||Latvia State Forest Service (N)
||14th -21st September 2017
||Kato Drys Municipality (C)
||18th-24nd September 2017
The objective was to develop our understanding of conservation issues and exchange ideas through meeting experts and seeing practical examples of research and wildlife management in Norway. We also all had our own personal development objectives that we wanted to achieve.
Our host for the week was Marius Kjonsberg, lecturer for the Applied Ecology and Agricultural Science Facility at the University of Hedmark. We were based mainly at the Evenstad campus, located in the south east of Norway. Marius was a fantastic host and managed to co-ordinate a great variety of topics and arranged for pertinent site visits and talks. We learnt a great deal that we hope to apply to the management of our own natural resources.
Our first day saw us travel 50km north of our base in Tampere to Seitseminen National Park. Founded in 1982 and covering an area of 45.5km², the National Park is managed by the state owned enterprise Metsähallitus. Seitseminen National Park frames a mosaic of landscapes with a diverse mix of habitats which include; ancient forests, esker ridges & open bogs.
The day at the fruit tree nursery was such an interesting experience for me as they were propagating fruit trees using a technique that I had never encountered before. This has been such a unique experience and everyday brought different aspects of learning into my life in the most creative ways.
Throughout the week, a theme emerged in the use of heritage in the projection, and reformation, of Bulgarian identity. Having only recently emerged from a long period of Soviet Russian domination and even more recently having joined the European Union, there seemed to be a desire to present Bulgaria as a modern European nation that had a shared history with the rest of Europe.
In the valleys and hillsides of the Apuseni Mountains, hay making is at the centre of farming life and goes on all through the summer months with the meadows receiving several cuts, providing hay for a way of life that has existed in these valleys for hundreds of years. Gentians, carline thistles, scabious, Transylvanian clary, wild thyme, vetchs, clovers and a vast array of other species were all still in flower on the meadow margins and track verges
The aim of this structured visit is to provide people living and working in Scotland with the opportunity to see and experience how communities and craftspeople in rural Cyprus are maintaining and developing traditional skills such as pottery, jewellery making, building techniques as part of a vibrant and sustainable local economy.
we headed up the valley to Tyrfingsstaðir to begin our first day of turf building. Here we donned bright waterproof cagoules and met Helgi Sigurðsson, our turf-building teacher and expert. Sigurður Björnsson and Kristín Jóhannsdóttir own and live on the farm.
Overall this was an extremely useful course. The Estonian approach to interpretation is generally elegant and the use of sustainable materials taught me that I can seize the opportunity to consider similar pared down approaches in my own practice. Highlights of the trip for me (apart from all the wonderful food) were visiting the convent and the Russian Old Believers Praying House.
In this context, I was particularly interested during my recent visit to Hogskolen I Hedmark, Norway and the associated structured course, to explore how hunting systems and natural wildlife resources were administrated in that country to inform my understanding as to how systems might be improved in the future in Scotland.