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TV icebreaker for SRUC student

Kerry IrelandA Wildlife and Conservation Management student has been hitting the headlines – in Iceland. Kerry Ireland, a third-year student at SRUC’s Aberdeen campus, has spent the last four summers in the Nordic island country doing volunteering work with Iceland Conservation Volunteers.

This year, Icelandic TV station RÚV got in touch asking to interview the volunteers about the work they are doing and how the site where they were working had been affected by the reduction in tourists due to Covid-19. A few days later, following an unexpected glacial flood during the night, Kerry posed with a massive salmon which had been washed up by the flood and her photograph appeared in the local newspaper.

Kerry, 30, from Glenrothes in Fife, said: “I first came to Iceland to volunteer in 2017 as there were lots of things I was keen to see, like volcanoes and glaciers.

“The ICV programme I volunteer with is part of the Environment Agency of Iceland and after my first year I became a team leader so I’ve been doing that for the past three summers. Under normal circumstances, this is a long-term programme lasting for nine weeks with 16 volunteers taking part from all around the world.

“We spend each week in a different location all over Iceland, often in remote areas. Most of the time we are camping and using a large mess tent for cooking and hanging out in after work. Our work consists mostly of repairing hiking trails with stone steps and drains and landscaping unwanted paths. Some other things we do are removing off-road driving tracks by raking, creating board walks and wooden steps and non-native plant removal. It was quite exciting and a bit of an honour to be asked to be on TV as I’m super passionate about the work we do in such a beautiful country.”

Kerry, who started out doing an HNC at SRUC Elmwood as a stepping stone to university, ended up coming back to SRUC after a year at the University of Dundee, because she enjoyed the practical aspect of the course.

“After my first summer in Iceland I wanted to be outdoors more and do practical learning,” she said. When she finishes studying, she hopes to move to Iceland to work for a few years. “I am currently working for an Icelandic landscape architecture company building stone paths and landscaping in the Highlands which I would like to do more of as I love travelling about and seeing remote areas,” she said. “I would also like to do some form of research in Iceland with plants or arctic foxes.”

You can find out more about Wildlife and Conservation study at SRUC by visiting www.sruc.ac.uk/conservation

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