OPAL Survey in focus: Ashley Primary School

Each year OPAL receives a large number of survey forms from people across the UK who have completed one or more of the eight OPAL Surveys. Most of this data reaches us via our online form, but we also receive survey results through the post too. Last week we received a big brown envelope full to the brim with completed Biodiversity Survey forms, these had been sent to us by Year 5 Kestrel Class from Ashley C of E Primary School, Surrey.


Developing our next generation of environmental scientists

By Matt Keyse
OPAL Community Scientist, FSC Scotland

It was a cold but bright morning at St. Maurice’s pond in Cumbernauld. The weary February sun hovered just above the tree line, reflecting off of the thin layer of ice forming over the water.

With some trepidation a group of Greenfaulds High School students, currently studying the new Higher Environmental Science course, grabbed a variety of sampling equipment and made their way gingerly away from the car park towards the water. 


£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.


Lichen spotting and tree maths with Fairview Primary School

By Anna Lavery and Gretta McCarron
OPAL Community Scientists, Northern Ireland

We were delighted to welcome Fairview Primary School to Queen's University in Belfast this month as part of the university’s ESRC Festival of Social Science.


Take OPAL surveys into the classroom with new guides

Teachers in Scotland can more easily integrate OPAL surveys into science teaching with the help of new lesson plans and curriculum guides.

The resources, produced by OPAL staff based at Glasgow Science Centre and FSC Scotland, show how survey activities can fit into the country's primary and secondary curriculums.


Ashfield Girls get to grips with lichens

By Anna Lavery and Gretta McCarron
OPAL Community Scientists, Northern Ireland

On 6 November, the School of Education at Queens University and the Field Studies Council were delighted to welcome Ashfield Girls School to participate in the Economic and Social Research Council Festival at Queens.


OPAL survey lesson plans and curriculum links


Schoolchildren looking at slugsUse OPAL surveys as part of your teaching

Our free lesson plans and curriculum guides show you how our activities meet education requirements and take you step-by-step through teaching OPAL surveys to your pupils.

Lesson plans

These plans are designed to integrate into the Scotttish Curriculum for Excellence, but could be adapted for use in schools across the UK.

Tree surveys and twitter takeovers – work experience with OPAL

By Sorcha Leavey
Work experience student

In June I spent a week doing work experience with OPAL, based at Imperial College London in the Centre for Environmental Policy.

Every day leaving South Kensington station I was welcomed with a lively buzz around the University buildings. At 10am on the first day, I arrived at the campus and went upstairs to the OPAL office. After meeting the friendly OPAL team and having a tour of the surrounding area it was time to start working!


In at the deep end – work experience with OPAL

By Kailin Summers
Student at Lycee Français Charles de Gaulle

Having spent critical time in my childhood in the tropics I gained a fair amount of exposure to the outdoors. A diving course opened my eyes to the world beneath the ocean – breathtaking. These experiences were probably my main inspiration to look for a work experience placement in environmental studies; that and the importance attributed to it at school in various subjects.



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