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Berglind Sigmundsdóttir

Berglind started working for the association on August 21st. 2023

Berglind is a geologist by training from the University of Iceland (B.Sc., 2013) and wrote her final project about Lake Þingvalla and glacial retreat in Grafning. She is currently completing an additional master’s degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Studies from the University of Iceland. Berglind has long worked with tourism and the sustainable development of areas related to natural and cultural monuments with an emphasis on community-driven regional development.

Berglind most recently worked as the manager of the Katla UNESCO burial ground from 2018-2023, but before that as a project manager (2017-2018). She was a member of the advisory committee of European and global UNESCO geoparks (European Geopark Network) and appeared there on behalf of the geopark at meetings and conferences, and continues today as an independent UNESCO geopark assessor on behalf of UNESCO.

In her work at Katla, she was involved in, or supervised, diverse domestic and foreign collaboration projects, including the regional development project Ruritage funded by Horizon 2020 (European Research and Innovation Fund), the educational project Drifting Apart funded by the Arctic Program (NPP) and the Nordic Atlantic Partnership (NORA ), and from the aforementioned grant also the educational projects GEOVR, GEOMUSEUM and GEOFOOD, she also took part in a project funded by the educational grant NORDPLUS about sustainable development and geological heritage in Iceland, Finland and Norway as a partner with the Polytechnic of Austur-Skaftafellssýslá in Höfn, Vatnajökull National Park and schools and geoparks in Finland and Norway. Berglind also came as a partner of the University Association of Southland to a project funded by the European Development Fund (EEA) on the implementation of Master’s level studies on Geotourism led by the University of Technology in Krakow in collaboration with the Holy Cross Cemetery in Poland.  

Berglind has also been involved in numerous projects organized by the Katla Geopark in Iceland, the Katla Conference 2018 in Vík in Mýrdal, which was held with the Geosciences Association, the National Defenders Association, Mýrdalshrepp and the University of Iceland, where over 400 attended the conference and thousands watched via the Geopark’s streaming. She helped organize the annual International Groundhog Week and oversaw the first Spring Festival and Migratory Bird Festival held in the spring of 2018, sponsored by the SASS development fund. She was involved in the creation and presentation of the destination plan for the Katla cemetery, which was prepared with the Dutch landscape and architectural association NOHNIK, and she also worked with Alta’s consultants to analyze the opportunities and vision of the Katla cemetery that could be used in the further strategic planning of the municipalities concerned for the cemetery. As a result of that work, Berglind worked on the first phase of zoning, a project that is funded as a priority project of SASS (8.0 mkr), where consultants and experts on zoning of destinations from The Place Bureau in London came to lead a workshop on the basis of the next steps and phase in that work.

Berglind also managed to apply for and/or administer various national grants, including through the Friends of Vatnajökull, the Upppyggnarsjóð, and the Ferðamannastaðar Development Fund, the largest of which was a 35.8 million ISK grant for the construction of an observation path at Eyjafjallajökull (Þorvaldseyri) that was designed by Basalt architects.

Before the time of Katla Jirvangs, Berglind worked for a long time in the National Park in Þingvellir, first as a ranger while studying geology, but later more as a store and service manager in the Guest Room in Haki and the service center in Leirum (2008-2016). The projects there were varied, but towards the end she was in charge of various operational and service units of the national park, together with  store management and product selection development in the national park’s souvenir shops, and great emphasis was placed on highlighting the uniqueness of the area and using local resources for education and product development, especially working with the local community and other interested business partners for that purpose.

It can therefore be said that Berglind has worked for a long time on tourism and the sustainable development of areas related to natural and cultural monuments and has focused on good collaboration and cooperation in that regard.

Berglind moved to Suðurlandið in 2018, but since 2020 has lived in Ölfus and feels that there is nowhere better to be because of the opportunities that the area has to offer, whether you look at the proximity to spectacular nature, culture, diverse biodiversity, and the drive of society!