OPAL in the snow at Walford

A group of students from Walford College in Baschurch carried out the OPAL Climate survey on Monday 21st January 2013. Despite the heavy snow the group identified clouds, tracked bubbles to find the wind direction and thought about their own thermal comfort as part of the OPAL national climate survey. The survey worked well in the snow highlighting this suite of activities can provide outdoor activities for all weathers. The group also tried the new ‘Tree health’ survey which is currently being developed to be launched in May 2013. The group who have been involved in all 6 OPAL surveys were delighted to receive their OPAL legacy pack “Thank you so much for all the wonderful surveys and resources” Staff at Walford college.

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A present for the future from OPAL

Just delivered a legacy box to a group in Oswestry. Carried out some of the OPAL Climate activities in the snow before helping them build an Igloo which they will use towards their John Muir award. Staff were very pleased with the legacy pack “This will be fantastic when we do forest schools and fits in really well with the John Muir and the ASDAN Environment awards. Wow it’s like Christmas!” Staff at Oswestry Education Centre

Winter surveys at Hook-a-Gate

Hook-a-Gate has carried out Two OPAL surveys in the winter months within their grounds. The first survey was the Air survey on 6th December. The group used the trees within the centre grounds and although little was found on the tree trunks, a lot of the trees had the nitrogen tolerant Xanthoria and phycsia on the branches. Although most of the lichen recorded was nitrogen tolerant, a small amount of Hypogymnia, the nitrogen sensitive species, was found on one of the tree branches. The group also carried out the Climate survey on 13th December which was so cold and frosty some of the bubbles had started to freeze. Pupils did well carrying out the activities in such harsh conditions and more sessions are planned for 2013 so they continue their OPAL journey.

Heald Place – creating links

Heald Place Primary School in Rusholme have always been keen to get involved with OPAL and now they are spreading their enthusiasm by introducing new schools to the project. The school were visited by 2 classes from Grange Primary in Liverpool. Children from the two primaries worked together to carry out the Soil and Earthworm survey and enjoyed learning new facts about worms and why they are important.

Eco warriors at Market Drayton Juniors have an OPALtastic day

A group of 10 Eco warriors at Market Drayton Juniors carried out 3 different OPAL surveys in the school grounds on 22nd November 2012.  They began with the Hedgerow survey looking at the structure, food for wildlife and invertebrates in the hedgerow at the back of the school field. Although the hedge was starting to look a bit bare the children found bramble, holly and dog rose and enjoyed using the brushes and trays to collect a sample of animals that live within it. They then did the Bug count survey using different habitats around the school. Finally they sampled the school pond and found a variety of invertebrates. As the pond was getting quite overgrown the Eco-warriors plan to work on the pond to improve access to it in the future.

Worm hunting at Tettenhall Wood School, Wolverhampton

A group of pupils from Tettenhall Wood Special School carried out the OPAL worm survey on Thursday 29th November. Although the weather was very cold that day pupils did really well at searching through the soil for earthworms. They enjoyed finding the worms and counting them. As many of the pupils had learning difficulties the sensory nature of the activity worked really well. Staff also enjoyed getting their hands dirty ” I don’t know who is enjoying this more the staff or the pupils” Staff member at the school

OPAL at Attingham Park

Two KS2 classes from Upton Magna Primary School visited Attingham to carry out the OPAL Biodiversity and Climate surveys as part of their activity day on Thursday 25th October. The groups surveyed hedges in the grounds and measured the wind direction by tracking bubbles using the spacious lawns.