And so our Earthwatch experience began one day early. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I had researched a restaurant in Prague and made a reservation! 6 of the team met at the restaurant and enjoyed a traditional czech meal. So lets skip to Saturday to when we offically met. I have been to Prague 11 yeas ago, so my first two days were spent reconnecting with this beautiful city. Though i tried hard i was late and kept the group waiting for our night out in Prague.
Lets introduce the Earthwatch crew: Marta and Belen from Spain, Thelma, Megan and myself from awesome Australia, Svetlana from Russia, Mohammed from Suriname and Claude from Canada and our great host Josef from Prague. We were soon to meet our wacky but lovely driver Dobroslav!
Many different people and personalities, but it works well together.
We arrived in Jiserky Mountains hoping to escape the heat of Prague but it was waiting for us when we arrived. Many of us thought it would be cooler in the mountains and had been advised to bring cool weather clothes and havent really had the chance to wear them... they are taking valuable
space in our luggage!! Especially for Megan as her luggage weighed 27 kgs!!
It is how you could imagine here. A small village in the mountains, surrounded by trees and rolling hills. Dotted through the hills are chair lifts for use in the winter. Not much is going on in Bedrichov or how Josef would say there is no Saturday night fever in Bedrichov!
Everyday we are experiencing traditional Czech cooking at the local restaurant, also pehaps some of us will be taking some extra weight home because of this....!!!
Everyday out in the field we are learning new skills. So far we have learnt water sampling from streams, reservoirs, and rain gauges. Taking tree heights, resistance, cirumferance, etc. Soil sampling, Grass and root sampling. We also have installed 2 weather stations.
We have achieved everything plus more which Josef wanted. We have had great weather most of the time, only one day where we were washed out. In amongst our work days we have been treated to stories and sites of the region.
In regards to the curent stauts of the Jizerky mountains, we have seen before pictures from the 1980's where it was
just a wasteland. All the trees died and they did a mass clearing of the site. Since then they have been introducing species which cope better to the sulphur pollution from the coal fire plant in Poland. Would you believe the pollution isn't event Czech, its from a station located close to the Czech border in Poland. The Czech and German power plants chimneys blow in other directions, so they are giving they're pollutions to other countries.
The area is doing much better, they are also trying to back to horse extraction of timber(foresting) from the forests rather than machines and tractors which damage the areas significantly. We were lucky to witness two horses carting timber from the forest, hmm i did get rather to close and personal to the horses flaring nostrils, I was a little scared it was going to charge at me!
So our expedition has come to a close, we all developed close relationships with one another in many forms. The three Aussies, me, mr roomie Megan and little T (Thelma!). Marta with a very funny sense of humour and joke making, Belen the free spirit, Mohammed my lake swimming buddy (yes we found
Mohammed and i at our swimming lake
a lake and was swimming every morning at 6;30am), Claude's funny sayings and laughs and last but not least Svetlana who has the best expression of No we have ever seen! And our host Josef, a very kind man who is well knowledged on all things and through his stories and jokes we have learnt incredibly. They are taugfht us alot about they're countires and cultures. I'm sure we will all stay in touch. It was a teary farewell.
It also helps, that he told us on the last night at the farewell dinner we were one of the best teams he's ever had. we also agree we are the best team!!
And so off to Cerny Most (last stop on the metro line) to meet with my relatives Janet and Frank or as Josef would say,Cerny Most "it's the end of the world as they know it"!
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