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Ten Lycoming College students spent their first weeks out of school exploring all that Iceland has to offer. The trip was part of a May Term class for students enrolled in either Environmental Anthropology, or Philosophy and the Environment.
The course, led by Douglas Young, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, and Ryan Adams, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology, examined our understanding of human/environmental interactions with particular emphasis on human adaptation to the environment across cultures and through time, as well as the current concerns with environmental sustainability and the social context of the environmental movement.
The week-long itinerary included stops at the famed Black Sand Beach, Þingvellir National Park (the site of Iceland’s Parliament from 930AD until the 18th Century), and a number of awe-inspiring waterfalls. As a group, the faculty and students scaled a glacier and saw first-hand how the Icelandic landscape is undergoing changes brought about by global warming.
“Sharing adventures like hiking a massive glacier with an ice pick and spiked crampons, climbing the rocks at the base of a waterfall in the ancient seat of Iceland’s Medieval Parliament, or soaking in the healing waters of the famous Blue Lagoon brought our group together and forged sincere bonds between us all,” said Adams.
Students in the class explored topics such as the aesthetic nature of environmental scenery, the impact of the Icelandic tourism boom on Icelandic farmers, how an actual engaged experience of nature is different than a visual representation of nature, and whether whales should be photographed or eaten.
The students represented a diverse range of majors, backgrounds, and career interests, but the trip was an exciting opportunity to apply their classroom experiences to the gorgeous and striking beauty of Iceland.
Astronomy major and philosophy minor Hanna Marye ’19 (Flushing, N.Y.) said, “My trip was enhanced by the students and professors with me; we became one big Icelandic family. It was remarkable seeing features I learned about in geology class, especially the crater-lake Kerið. I'm so glad I could end my undergrad on such a high note.”
The students captured a great many beautiful photos, sharing some of them with the hashtag #IcelandAdventureClub and proudly displaying the Lycoming College banner at significant Icelandic sites.
A photo contest was conducted when students returned to campus with faculty and staff who previously traveled to Iceland serving as judges. The winning entries are shown here for the three categories: Emily Thompson ’19 (Long Valley, N.J.), Best Overall Photo; Megan Friedline ’19 (Boswell, Pa.), Best Landscape Photo; and James Wait ’19 (Cherry Valley, N.Y.), Best Photo of the People of Iceland.
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