OPAL Web Editor's blog

Ash Dieback reaches Lake District

Ash dieback UK distribution map

Ash Dieback disease has been recorded for the first time in the Lake District National Park, according to survey data published recently by the Forestry Commission.

The disease was initially found in Buckinghamshire in February 2012, but has been discovered more widely across England, Scotland and Wales since then.


OPAL supports FSC 'Year of Fieldwork'

FSC Year of Fieldwork

OPAL is proud to support the 'Year of Fieldwork' initiative, led by Field Studies Council (FSC).

Fieldwork and other out-of-classroom learning experiences are increasingly being recognised across the curriculum as a highly valuable tool in raising standards and skills in participants of all ages.


Get out with the kids this summer and explore nature

​The summer holidays are upon us! If you are looking for exciting, original and educational activities to do with the kids, look no more. OPAL has oodles of different activities that are suitable for the whole family. This summer, make the most of the outdoors and explore nature.

Help the Forestry Commission and look out for a new insect pest this summer

Oriental chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus) is an insect pest of sweet chestnut trees which was first found in Britain in June at a site in Kent. 

Oriental chestnut gall wasp (OCGW) poses a serious threat to our sweet chestnut trees and the Forestry Commission are taking eradication and containment action to control the outbreak.  They are also conducting intensive surveillance to check if the pest has spread further.

Polli:Nation Awareness Survey. Deadline 31st July, 2015

Contribute to some vital research by completing this quick survey on UK pollinators. The results will form part of a wider project called Polli:Nation, which aims to engage school children with pollinators and promote citizen science.

Please return the questionnaires by post to:

Sarah Morris
c/o Dr David Slawson (OPAL) Centre for Environmental Policy Imperial College London
13 Prince's Gardens
South Kensington Campus London
SW7 1NA 

OPAL Tree Health Survey – The first two years

Why study tree pests and diseases?

Two years ago, trees and their pests and diseases were in the news. Chalara dieback of ash had been found in the UK in the previous autumn (2012), an event of such magnitude that the Government even convened meetings of its Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR) committee, which is reserved for instances of international, national or regional crises. Never before had it met for a tree disease.


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