OPAL Web Editor's blog

Community Champion: Alexandra Stuart

The OPAL Community Champions scheme aims to acknowledge the contribution made by individuals to the OPAL network, to thank people for their efforts, and to act as an inspiration for others. OPAL's Community Champions are nominated by OPAL's team of Community Scientists from across the UK. Click here to read more about one of our Community Champions, Alexandra Stuart!

Polli:Nation survey - results from the first season

Pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies, are in decline across the UK. These insects are homeless and hungry, suffering from a lack of places to nest and feed. To help reverse this trend, OPAL teamed up with Polli:Nation, a UK-wide conservation project working with schools, community groups and individuals to combat pollinator decline by creating or improving habitat for pollinators. The Polli:Nation survey was launched by OPAL in April this year to help people measure the impact of habitat improvements on pollinators. And the first survey season’s results are now in. Read more about the findings of this survey here!


Highlights from the 2016 OPAL Conference at Kew Gardens via social media

The OPAL Conference, which was held at the Kew Gardens on 13 October 2016, was an exciting celebration of the achievements of OPAL UK and provided a glimpse into the future of OPAL. The discourse and interactions on Citizen Science that took place at the recent conference, however, extended beyond the location of the event. Click here to view the social media coverage of the OPAL Conference!

OPAL scientists and participants help government research

The views and experiences of OPAL participants have contributed important information into a study funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to look at participation in environmental citizen science projects, with a particular focus on data submission within projects. The project was led by Dr. Sarah West from OPAL’s York team based at the Stockholm Environment Institute. Read more here!


Invasive flatworm Obama nungara identified in OPAL survey

The press have recently reported that an invasive flatworm from Brazil, the Obama nungara, which poses a threat to soil health and wildlife, has made its way to mainland Britain, likely due to the importation of pot plants. The OPAL New Zealand Flatworm survey has had three records of Obama nungara submitted in 2016.

Celebrating citizen science for everyone at the OPAL Conference in Kew Gardens

“We are nature! It’s not out there, or over the wall. We are part of it.”

This was just on of the sentiments that emerged from OPAL’s conference held in the historic grounds of Royal Botanic Garden, Kew yesterday, 13th October 2016.  OPAL partners, collaborators and participants met for a day of discussions, talks and walks around the theme of ‘citizen science for everyone’.

OPAL Air Survey reveals environmental factors affecting tar spot of Sycamore

Fifty years ago, the large cities of the UK were still affected by severe winter smogs and high concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2) from industry and coal burning in the home. At that time, the black spots on Sycamore leaves caused by the tar spot fungus were almost entirely absent from cities and industrial areas. Research showed that this was directly related to the high levels of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere.

The birds, the bees and the bands: OPAL hits Glastonbury

What do OPAL, Coldplay and a toad have in common?  They were all found at Glastonbury Festival this year!

This summer, the Nottingham OPAL team linked up with the British Ecological Society (BES), University of Lancaster and the James Hutton Institute to bring ecology to the biggest festival of them all - Glastonbury. 



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