Janey Preston, daughter of Club stalwart, Wilma Preston, gave a very interesting talk to the Rotary Club of Port Fairy at its meeting on 2nd April.

Janey PrestonJaney, herself an active Rotary member from the Warrnambool Daybreak Club, was accompanied by husband (and Wilma's son) Chris at the meeting where she spoke and presented on a recent Rotary Group Study Exchange (GSE) program organised by Rotary District 9780.  The exchange program took her and others from the district to Iceland to meet with fellow Rotarians.

Janey spoke about many of her stunning photos and gave an insight into life in Iceland. Her visit was not only to the capital Reykjavik but also to other regions in a country that not many of us in the Club knew a great deal about prior to her talk.

Iceland is primarily a Nordic race with a Celtic background as well  - thanks to the travels of the Vikings!  The country naturally has a cold climate but nevertheless, despite much glacial and volcanic activity still focuses on many environmental and re-vegetation programs despite many areas being blighted by lava flows and no trees.  The country is blessed with natural water flows which supports a large hydro-electric industry that is obviously needed to keep Icelandic homes warm! 

Their religion, despite an earlier Catholic background, is now chiefly Lutheran.  They have a solid education system - where pupils speak Icelandic but also learn both English and Danish at an early age. Students progress through primary and secondary education from 6-16 years then go on to advanced schooling from 16-18 followed by college from 18-20 years.  Those that go on to university don't start their tertiary education until their 20s!  Thier primary food source is fish and surprisingly, lamb.

We learned that Iceland has been severely affected by the recent global financial crisis (GFC) and is unfortunately close to bankruptcy but still manages to maintain good public infrastructure.

The GSE program is based on reciprocal exchanges and a group from Iceland recently visited District 9780 and were involved in the recent District Conference held in Warrnambool.

Club member, and organiser of guest speakers, Adrian Crosier, thanked Janey for her insightful presentation.