CBU students experience Iceland through an ecotour

Published Mar 28, 2019

Riverside – Nick Vander Weide, a mechanical engineering junior at California Baptist University, experienced God’s creation in a new way over spring break. While touring Iceland, his group visited Skógafoss Falls. As his team approached the falls, the clouds split open, sunlight hit the water and a rainbow appeared.

“That singular moment was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed,” Vander Weide said. “It felt as if God was standing there, rubbed His hands together, said ‘check this out’ and pulled back the clouds. It was absolutely amazing.”

Vander Weide was part of a CBU group—two faculty, three parents and 12 students—who went to Iceland from March 17-22 on an ecotour led by Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science at CBU. The group visited places such as Gullfoss Falls, Sólheimajökull Glacier, Skógafoss Falls and the Blue Lagoon.

Koo said the purpose of expedition was to help the group appreciate the ecosystem and learn first-hand about renewable energy and geology of the planet.

“The emphasis was on the methods used to conserve energy and geology while developing the economy,” Koo said. “Students examined the methods used in Iceland by visiting national parks, research, agricultural and cultural facilities. They developed an understanding of how complex conservation can be.”

Sabrina Tamimi, an environmental science junior, said she appreciated the technology Iceland uses when it comes to renewable resources.

“The country is over 95 percent relying on geothermal and hydroelectric power,” Tamimi said. “We should take this into account when developing new ways on how to reduce our impact on the planet.”

For Koo, the highlight of the trip was visiting the Sólheimajökull Glacier.

“We explored water cauldrons and waterways of the glacier, which is almost 5 miles long. We saw the different shades of the glaciers – white ice, blue ice and just plain clear ice and drank 8,000-years-old glacier water,” Koo said.