FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

OPAL: Open Air Laboratories

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is an exciting initiative which received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund in August 2007. OPAL is encouraging people to get back in touch with nature by enabling them to explore and study their local environments. Through partnerships nationwide, OPAL is running projects which anyone can get involved with. From playing fields and window boxes to bus stops or beaches, all spaces are different and all are important. The five year programme will bring scientists and the public closer together, allowing environmental issues to be explored which have both local and global relevance.

Looking for the DIY Weather Recording Kit? Download it now (pdf 785kB)

OPAL's aims are

  • To create a new generation of nature-lovers
  • Encourage people to gain a greater understanding of the natural environment which will lead to a greater sense of community ownership and improve social, economic and environmental sustainability
  • Enable people to take part in a National Survey and monitor the quality of their local environment and feed back their results to leading scientists.

Taking part in the OPAL network

From 2009 to 2011, OPAL will be running 6 National Surveys - into soil quality, air quality, water quality, biodiversity, climate change and 'the bug hunt'. Each registered National Survey participant will a free learning pack, including a full colour fold-out identification chart and pages of notes to give guidance and support.

How is FSC involved in the OPAL network?

FSC is one of a number of partner organisations from throughout England. Our involvement in the project is to provide resource packs, including some new fold out charts, to support the public outreach from the regional projects. FSC is to design and deliver 200,000 packs over the next 4 years.

Contact the OPAL team at

OPAL National Surveys, Unit C1, Stafford Park 15, Telford, TF3 3BB, UK Tel: 01952 208910 Fax: 01952 208919 E-mail: [email protected]