OPAL Web Editor's blog

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.

OPAL at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, May 2015

At first glance the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show and OPAL might appear unlikely bedfellows: the Chelsea Flower Show being the unofficial start of the summer social season and OPAL being the project which aims to bring environmental citizen science to everyone, including the most disadvantaged in society.

Nature lovers can now get involved with citizen science across the United Kingdom

From the 18th May, people of all ages from across the whole of the UK can now contribute to scientific research in their local area on everything from invasive species to environmental quality, through the Open Air Laboratories programme (OPAL). The expansion has been made possible by a £3 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund. 

Scientists to investigate why people submit survey results

OPAL scientists in York have launched a study exploring why people do – or do not – submit their results after taking part in an OPAL survey.

The study, which is being carried out by our team at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, is being funded by Defra.


Capture Devon and Cornwall’s wildlife at its best

Photographers are being challenged to showcase the flora and fauna of south west England in a competition opening today.

Launched by OPAL South West and the Plymouth Woodland Project, both part of Plymouth University’s outreach programme, the competition will run until the end of August.


£1.4m lottery grant for pollinator project

A programme to help schools and communities protect pollinating insects has been awarded £1.4 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Polli:Nation project is being developed by Learning through Landscapes in partnership with leading nature organisations including OPAL.

The activity of pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies has been valued at £430 million to UK agriculture each year, but these insects are in severe decline.



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