OPEN AIR LABORATORIES (OPAL) - Citizen Science for everyone

OPEN AIR LABORATORIES (OPAL) - Citizen Science for everyone

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network, funded by the Big Lottery and led by Imperial College London, is a UK-wide partnership initiative that inspires communities to discover, enjoy and protect their local environments through citizen science-based activities.

The cornerstones of OPAL are six innovative and user-friendly surveys, which are provided to participants for free, and enable people to get out and monitor nature in their local environment:

  • Soil and Earthworm
  • Biodiversity
  • Air
  • Bugs Count
  • Water
  • Tree Health

A new, nationwide survey supporting school children to assess the suitability of habitats for pollinating insects will launch in 2016.

To date, OPAL has had a major impact, engaging people with nature, providing an exciting learning experience and generating data to help scientists understand the health of our natural environment. So far:

  • Over 850,000 people have actively participated in OPAL surveys including over 129,000 (15%) from hard to reach groups.
  • Over 2,000 schools have taken part in OPAL, many from areas of high deprivation
  • Over 270,000 packs distributed to the public
  • Over 50,000 surveys submitted
  • Nearly 23,000 sites surveyed
  • Over 20 research publications

OPAL surveys are great for use in parks and gardens to:

  • Engage your supporters, provide them with a great learning experience and let them have fun
  • Promote and involve people with your good causes
  • Survey and monitor nature to help conserve your biodiversity, wildlife and plant collections

Check out the OPAL website to access all the free resources and to enter your results: http://www.opalexplorenature.org/