FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

OPAL has reached ONE MILLION people

More than one million people across the UK have taken part in a unique scheme that allows them to contribute to research on their local green spaces.

For the last 10 years, the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) project, led by Imperial College London and backed through the Big Lottery Fund, has brought communities and scientists together to gather environmental evidence and inform wider scientific enquiry.

FSC is a strong supporter and original partner of OPAL, having produced the survey packs and delivered OPAL around the UK.

People from a huge variety of backgrounds have taken part, carrying out OPAL's nature surveys everywhere from inner-city housing estates to remote rural areas.

Activities including counting bugs, checking trees for signs of disease or recording sightings of the invasive New Zealand flatworm, have inspired local people to rediscover the outdoors. Research areas have included soil, air quality, water, climate, biodiversity and tree health, as well as investigations into invasive species.

As well as encouraging the one million people across the UK to get involved, OPAL, based in the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial, has also trained over 4,300 teachers to deliver outdoor learning, getting pupils out of the classroom and bringing lessons to life.

Dr David Slawson, Director of OPAL, said: "It’s incredible to know that OPAL has touched the lives of many who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience and connect with nature. It is so encouraging that taking part in OPAL helped them take the vital first step of a journey towards greater environmental awareness.

“OPAL has become a world leader in engaging people from all backgrounds with science and nature, we are striving to support the next million people to set off on their environmental learning journey. A good start would be mobilising people to do their bit to help Government achieve the ambitious aim in the 25 Year Environment Plan that our generation should be the first to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

Are you one of the million people which OPAL has reached?  OPAL would love you to share your stories on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram this week using #OPALmillion.

More information: https://www.opalexplorenature.org/content/are-you-one-million

Wednesday, February 21, 2018