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Bulgaria prize proves trip of a lifetime

Posted 2 July 2013

Anne, Dr Chico-Santmarta, Dale, Corinne Stewart from ISLE and Oli

Three countryside students from Harper Adams University have enjoyed the trip of a lifetime thanks to their prize-winning recycling concept.

Dale Webb, Anne Walker and Oli Davenport won the trip to Bulgaria after entering a video into the I.S.L.E Competition for Students.

The video was about their idea to recycle the three main fertiliser nutrients found in urine – ammonia, phosphate and nitrates using a crystallisation process.

The I.S.L.E (Innovation in the teaching of Sustainable Development in Life sciences in Europe) network consortium hosted its seventh partner meeting in Varna, Bulgaria, on June 10-15. As winners, the students had to present their idea to delegates at the conference.

Commenting on the experience, 20-year-old Anne from Leyburn, North Yorkshire, said: “Bulgaria was brilliant and we met lots of lovely people.

“We have made plenty of new contacts and have been invited to visit them in their home countries to discuss our ideas further.”

As the nutrients found in urine are finite resources and it has been estimated that only 100 years supply of phosphate remains; Anne, Oli and Dale believe that their idea is sustainable and has a number of social, economic and environmental benefits.

This is something that they have been learning about in lectures and is what sparked their interest in sustainability and recycling.

Oli, 20, from Shifnal in Shropshire, came up with how to film video and was responsible for the illustrations. He said: “It was great winning the trip to Bulgaria and will also be a useful thing to add to our CVs to help us to stand out when we apply for graduate positions.

“We all have an interest in global issues as saving the world’s resources really does affect everyone.”

As well as giving the presentation, the students toured the local area, including a visit to a history museum, a wind turbine and a Roman settlement. They were also treated to all-inclusive accommodation and spa facilities.

For part of the trip they were joined by Lecturer in Sustainable Technologies and Placement Manager for Countryside, Dr Leticia Chico-Santamarta.

Dr Chico-Santamarta, said: “Anne, Dale and Oli did a fantastic job in their presentation to the I.S.L.E members in Varna.   All of the partners were very impressed with their work and they encouraged them to continue working on their idea by giving them lots of very useful feedback. 

“I believe it has been a fabulous opportunity for them which could open new professional avenues for them in the future.  

“It was fantastic to have them there and I felt extremely proud of the way that they dealt with the presentation and subsequent questions from experts in the field.  They were a true representation of Harper students.”

During her visit to Varna, Dr Chico-Santamarta was also able to meet with the Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dimitrar Grekov.

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