Lake Myvatn

December 2000

Optical instruments for environmental education

Lake Myvatn and its outflow, the river Laxa, comprise an extraordinary and unique wetland system in the volcanically active zone of Iceland. The lake is a Ramsar site — an international designation for wetlands of importance. From the time of the original Icelandic settlements, local inhabitants have made their living sheep farming, fishing, and sustainably gathering waterfowl eggs. Since the late 1960s, diatomite has been dredged from the lake and processed at a nearby factory. Despite overwhelming evidence that the mining has negative effects on the lake’s ecosystem, the country’s environmental ministry recently announced that the dredging will expand into the lake’s southern basin.

The Lake Myvatn Research Station has conducted studies and worked with the community to protect the lake for 25 years. Seacology has purchased optical equipment, microscopes, stereoscopes, and telescopes for the community school. Research station staff members are working with schoolchildren to study the lake’s abundant lifeforms, and arm them with knowledge that will help them shape the future of the lake and the neighboring community.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Project Updates
January 2006
Dr. Paul Cox visited the project in summer 2005, and was pleased to report that the major polluting industry at the lake has now withdrawn, largely for economic reasons, but perhaps because they...
Read More
November 2003
The equipment continues to be put to good use by students at the Lake Myvatn school.

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