This is an important week for me - the launch of the next round of the OPAL Grants Scheme. A big part of my work on OPAL is supporting all sorts of different wildlife groups including natural history societies and recording schemes. There are hundreds of widllife groups all over the country, but a lot of people don't even realise they exist. You can find a group near you by searching the NHM's Nature Societies Online website, or by contacting your local Wildlife Trust or Biological Records Centre who will be able to tell you about some of your local groups. My job is to publicise these groups, but more importantly help them to publicise themselves locally and to support their work. I run a scheme which awards small grants to wildlife groups to help them to develop publicity materials, run public events and all sorts of different activities. You can see the groups that we funded last year and read about their projects here. If one of these groups is near to you, why not get involved?
So now I'm busy answering phone and email enquiries to help people develop their applications, and we've already had two application forms submitted even though the grants scheme only opened earlier this week and the deadline isn't until May!
I'm looking forward to seeing how the societies we funded last year are getting on with their projects, and where I can I'm trying to attend the events that OPAL grants have paid for - first up is a butterfly recording conference in Sussex this April. Case studies of the funded projects will gradually build up on the website as projects get into full swing, so keep an eye out for those.
Bye for now, Lucy