Contribution from Maren Roang, Innland Norway University of Applied Sciences.
My adventure in Finland!
14th May, 2017. For the first time, I am going to Finland, and even though I should be excited and maybe a bit nervous for what I actually have signed up for these next 12 days of my life, I am just too tired. The last days I have been busy with school work, a confirmation and been preparing for this trip. You know, when going to Finland in the middle of May you expect the weather to be quite like Norwegian may-weather. Therefore, I packed my wool-underwear, gloves, my favourite wool-sweater, one shorts just in case, and swimwear – someone told me we were going to swim (and so we did…). I landed in Helsinki and was picked up by a student at the Campus we were going to live at. We also picked up some Danish students; almost all of the others were already at Campus. When we arrived, they had made dinner, and we ate and got to know each other a bit. Next morning Johnny (the teacher) met us in the hallway, and we walked around Campus, had a small get-to-know-each-other-lecture inside, before we went on a fieldtrip to look at the Finnish forest and some wind damages and some preventive management. The group on this course consisted of 8 Danes (seven men and luckily one woman), one Icelandic man, one Finnish man and myself from Norway.
The second day we have a lecture inside, and then we went out in the field. Afterwards we went to a small pond were the school had built a sauna and some shelter with a fireplace. This was such a nice place, and we enjoyed sauna (ladies first, of course!), swimming, nice food and company, and of course some beer and wine. One funny episode from here is that the Danish were so excited by the beautiful nature, but I was most excited about how lucky we were with the weather… (After all Finland reminds me a lot about Norway). The following days we also had lectures, some trips to the field and we started working in groups on a report and a presentation for the following week. The project was about how to use forest management to prevent wind damages, and each group got their own project area. We did some fieldwork and considered our particular area, and made some suggestions for management in the future. On Saturday, we went on an excursion to an island called Jüssaro, where some of the forest were as old as 300 years old! They also used to carry out mining on this island, but this was shut down after 6 years because the exploitation became too expensive. After this the island have been untouched by humans, and the nature has lived its own life. It was beautiful here, we got served tasteful fish-soup, and the boys got a lot of time to fish. The weather was once again beautiful, and I could once again use my shorts! Some serious working groups of students characterized the following days. In between the working with the report, which we mostly did by ourselves, we took some time off for sightseeing. We had also together made it a goal that all the groups should be finished with both the report and the presentation by Thursday, and then we could enjoy the last evening in Finland. These 12 days I learned something new about mainly management to prevent wind damages, but also the danger around this and the side effects of storm damages. I got to know a lot of new, great people which also were interested in forestry – and it is nice with some international contacts also, particularly in this industry. I recommend this course to adventure people that want get a new and great experience during the school, and remember – it is not dangerous to do this by yourself either!