About OPAL


Explore your environment, learn more about the nature right on your doorstep, and support scientific research.

Adults and children taking part in OPAL surveys

Explore nature

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability.

We develop activities and resources, including our national surveys, which allow you to get closer to your local environment. We also arrange and take part in nature events and workshops around the country.

Big Lottery Fund

We are funded by the Big Lottery Fund and we began in 2007, operating across England. Since January 2014, we’ve expanded to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland thanks to a further grant.

Imperial and partners

The OPAL network is led by Imperial College London and includes leading museums, universities and environmental organisations across the UK. Find out more:

OPAL in numbers

  • More than 1 million participants across the UK
  • Over 3,900 schools have taken part, many from areas of high deprivation
  • Over 2,800 organisations have worked with OPAL
  • Over 270,000 survey packs have been distributed to the public
  • Over 72,000 surveys submitted, containing 1.5 million data points
  • Over 20 scientific papers published

OPAL is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and accredited by LWEC (Living with Environmental Change).

Big Lottery Fund logo LWEC logo