Sopron conference field trip

Les Safranyik (Victoria, BC), Choi Won Il (Seoul) & Claire with other delegates on the park trail

With the rest of the delegates we were taken by bus on September 8 to the Irottkö park area on the Hungarian-Austrian border, northwest of Szombathely. After the previous day of sitting indoors, it was refreshing to walk below the spruce. There were places where we could observe some bark beetle damage in the park, which was interesting. From the top of the Irottkö tower on the border we saw where there used to be a clear cut swath during the cold war era, and it was a perfect site for a group photo.

Sopron IUFRO conference delegates at Irottkö tower

At the base of a dead larch tree, Sarah Smith of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University found a big, beautiful predatory beetle! I think it’s Carabus intricatus.

A swarm of entomologists examine a dead Larch tree

Sarah Smith holds a very lively Carabus intricatus

Anthony Cognato & Sarah Smith from the Department of Entomology, Michigan State University show Claire their cool shirts at lunch!

After a hearty Hungarian lunch in a restaurant, we visited an amazing nature centre in Sarród called the Kócsagvár or Egret Castle, with thatched roofs and a design influenced by the form of egret feathers. What a gorgeous structure.

Conference organizer Ferenc Lakatos briefs delegates at the Egret Castle nature centre

Inside the nature centre

The Fertő-Hanság National Park connects Austria’s Neusiedler See National Park and Hungary’s Lake Fertő, which is the third largest lake in Central-Europe. Here we walked along a canal on the edge of a fine bird watching area.

Good bird watching here

Shannon Smith (Biology Department, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia) checks out the canal

Our last stop was at the site of the Pan-European picnicwhich took place in 1989 and led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. A rather emotional place for the Hungarians and other East Europeans.

Display at the site of the Pan-European Picnic

Granite sculpture at Pan-European Picnic site

After we got back to Sopron, everyone met for supper at Erhardt restaurant. Wow.

Supper at Erhardt; can you find Bill & Claire? (Ferenc Lakatos photo)

University tour bus

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