water survey

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. 


Pond dipping with the Flintshire Disability Forum

By Iwan Edwards
OPAL Community Scientist, North Wales Wildlife Trust

One of OPAL’s objectives is to ensure everyone can get involved in exploring and monitoring their local environment.

And it was with this goal in mind that we first visited the Flintshire Disability Forum, a group which helps and supports people in the county who have physical disabilities.


Your results reveal metal contamination

Sediment samples sent in by people across England have helped scientists learn more about freshwater metal contamination.

The OPAL metals survey, which ran alongside the national water survey over the last three years, asked people to send in small mud samples from their local ponds and lakes for analysis by the OPAL Water Centre at University College London.


Silwood Park science fun day

As promised here are some piccies from the event we went to last weekend (10th July) at Silwood Park near Ascot.  We were lucky to have a gorgeous sunny day (unlike the wet weekend just gone!)  and there were loads of fun activities.  Here is just a small selection...

The Silwood Park main building - what a nice place to go to work - it was very peaceful there with lots of trees and open space. I was envious (but then I do get to walk underneath a dinosaur to get to my office each morning which is also pretty cool!).


Humongous hoppers spotted in central London

How cool is this!?!  To launch the OPAL Water Survey, the OPAL Communications Officer (Laura) arranged for some huge frogs to be projected on to Battersea Power Station last night.  How great does this look?!  I think they should keep them there permanently.  Good work Laura, it looks fab.  Now it's time to get out pond dipping...



Freezing frogs

Just a few moments ago I received an email from Pond Conservation, one of the groups that OPAL is working with to develop our Water Survey (which launches in May). The email was a report of their recent study into the reasons why a lot of frogs and fish may have died this winter due to ponds freezing over. This was the hardest winter for 30 years with some ponds staying frozen for several weeks at a time.


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