"At IGB, I meet the world!"

Michael Sachtleben takes a water sample at the LakeLab. © IGB

I grew up at Lake Stechlin and know the "Limnology" – as the research institute is called here in the local area – since my childhood. Our class had in fact a so-called "Patenbrigade", which consisted of members of the institute serving as mentors. They familiarized us with the lake research, so we were often here in the lab and were also allowed to look through the microscope. That was fun, but it was never in my imagination that one day I would actually work here. Still, I was aware that I lived at a special lake. If we swam in other lakes, e.g. during summer camps, I quickly noticed the difference to Lake Stechlin.


After my apprenticeship as a steel fitter I wanted to leave and see a bit of the world – as a merchant seaman or at least as construction worker for highways. But because of plan fulfillment in the GDR my employer did not let me go. Later, I at least managed to change to Berlin where I worked in housebuilding. Since 1987, I have worked at IGB (or the precursor institution). Initially, we were only 20 people and the tasks I had to achieve were not challenging at all. I remember, I cleaned the tile stove on my first day and rinsed the sewer pipe the next day. Nevertheless, one should never be "too good" to do something. With the political changes after 1989, the work became more interesting and the scope of duties grew. Now I’m doing just about everything, form maintaining the buildings to organizing and carrying out field sampling campaigns, to supervising projects on technical installations and construction works.


My daily routine is rarely normal. I get up early, even if it's hard for me, and take my time for gymnastics — a person must be fit. Then I set out for work. If snow has fallen, I have to leave even earlier for clearing. If no sampling is planned, the colleagues come up with their concerns: "Micha, can you help me?" "Can you do this or that?" "Micha, do you have an idea, I need a specific device". I try to respond quickly, build or repair equipment, take care of the house technology and the car pool. I am also on-call in the evening and on weekends. If something breaks, you have to act immediately. Here, every day is different and every day is a challenge — and that is what I like.


I am helping during most samplings at the various lakes studied at IGB Stechlin. We are always at least two people but when the LakeLab is running there are so many different samples to take on one day that this can only be accomplished by a great team and a rigorous organization. Luckily, we are all well accustomed to each other, so we can work hand in hand and everyone can rely on each other.


Why do I like my work at IGB? Here also as a technician you are appreciated and not excluded. And, you can meet people of different nationalities. Before, I was not allowed to see the world and now I am meeting the world here!

Michael Sachtleben

is employed as technician at the IGB or the precursor institution since 1987. He leads the workshop and is responsible for the building services as well as the car pool at IGB Stechlin.

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