Community Champion: Ali Cush

Ali CushAli Cush
Inchinnan, Renfrewshire

How are you using OPAL to make a difference in the community?

We have been using OPAL to enhance the outdoor learning sessions Rangers deliver in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, and promote them to teachers as well as groups completing their John Muir Awards in the National Park. 


OPAL runs a fun science day in Newcastle

OPAL ran a fun science day with a serious purpose in Newcastle upon Tyne last month.

Around 200 local people joined in the fun at a family apple day and science day in Nuns Moor Park, Newcastle upon Tyne on Saturday 17 October.

Local groups Greening Wingrove, Change 4 Life and Sustrans ran an apple and spoon race, a longest apple peel competition, and Dr Bike from Sustrans checked out the condition of people’s bikes.

People also took part in a series of engaging science activities run by OPAL scientists.


Seeing the tree in a wood

By Barbara Brown, OPAL Community Scientist in South Wales

Tree in wood with zoom blur effect

If you have ever recognised a face in a crowd when you are not searching, when you are thinking about that band, or the bus times… then suddenly, something in your subconscious flashes out “look there”... you will understand how a person can pick out the needle in the haystack which is one small sick tree in a wood.


Community Champion: Scott Gardner

Scott GardnerScott Gardner
Alloa, Clackmannanshire

How are you using OPAL to make a difference in the community?

I have been using the OPAL resources at local primary schools, youth clubs, and local green projects. This has benefitted all involved and has educated them to have a wider range of knowledge of the outdoors and what grows and lives there.


OPAL's Community Champions

OPAL Community Champion jigsaw

Introducing our Community Champions - the people who join the OPAL network together.

The OPAL network encourages people to get back in touch with nature, by enabling them to explore and study their local environments.

Our success has been driven by the enthusiasm and commitment of the public – individuals who are passionate about what they do, and have an enthusiasm to share this with their community, especially in deprived areas.


The Ghosts of Ysgol Pencae

By OPAL Community Scientist, Barbara Brown

“There’s a slug! And a worm!" shout a group of Year 3 pupils in the middle of their OPAL bug hunt in Ysgol Pencae’s vegetable garden.

I lean over their shoulders and help the clipboard holder to record it. Then I look for the slug. “There it is – its white!” says the group’s recorder. 

It is very white, perhaps the purest white slug I have ever seen. Which makes me wonder, so I pick it up.

“Urgh – she’s picked it up!” chorus the group. I laugh and say: “It’s not very slimy, it's ticklish”.


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.



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