Volunteering for REEgain in Algatech

Hi everyone!

My name is Josef and as well as my brother Jirka, who is also participating as IVY volunteer, I come from Czech Republic. We both decided we want to do something useful and not just sit in front of our computers and play videogames! Therefore, we joined Interreg project between Czech Republic and Austria called REEgain, whose aim is to recycle rear earth elements with help of green algae. In his blog post „Algae that help recycle“, my brother described his point of view of our experience so don’t forget to read it too.

There are many problems happening on our planet, which need to be solved and one of them is limited sources of materials. We already started to recycle paper, plastic, glass, etc. but there are still so many materials we cannot recycle. Ones of these are precious metals mainly used in electronic devices. As I mentioned above, the goal of the REEgain project is to recycle these elements. The main scientific point is that special green algae bind these precious metals and with this could be metals then separated and reused. Doesn’t it sound amazing? You can follow the progress of the whole project on our FB and Instagram.

As I said before, I joined IVY because I wanted to do something useful but also I wanted to broaden my horizons in different fields as well as improve my English. One of my friends was working on this project as IVY volunteer and she recommended me this experience. Today it’s been already one month since I joined REEgain project and I would like to share with you what I’ve learned so far. Of course, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about green algae, but also I’ve learned about scientific work and laboratory devices. I’ve found out that there is a lot of paper work behind each small experiment happening in labs.

However, to be a scientist is not our job as IVY volunteers. Our job is to popularize the REEgain project, talk about IVY and spread it into the World. Therefore, we are writing posts on social media, sharing photos, papers, articles and all the interesting information about the REEgain project. We are trying to plan small talks mainly with students (at high schools and universities) and show them what the scientists from the Algatech Centre, Institute of Microbiology, the Czech Academy of Sciences and we do.

Finally, I would like to talk about being an IVY volunteer. I’ve never thought about something like this because I didn’t know about all the opportunities we have. It is important to realize that you don’t really need to have many titles or study many years before you can contribute to the effort making our World a better place. Being an IVY volunteer is something I am really proud of and I will try to do my best to show other people how important these projects are. Let’s make our World a better place together!!

Have a nice day and stay green :))

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