Thursday, 7 June 2012

OPAL South-West Gets Further Funding

The OPAL South-West team, based with Biological Sciences at Plymouth, are delighted to announce that the project has been granted further funding to continue its work engaging communities in researching their local environments.
Over the past five years OPAL South-West has worked to bring together scientists, amateur-experts, local interest groups and the public, to enable people to explore and understand their local environments. The project has engaged over 19,000 people in surveys of soil quality, air quality, freshwater quality, biodiversity and invertebrate populations, helping to develop a greater understanding about the relevance of environmental issues in people’s lives and inspiring an interest in ecology. Hundreds of schools have taken part as well as students and the general public. The additional funding from the Big Lottery was awarded to projects able to demonstrate exceptional impact on the communities engaged with their work.

One unemployed adult volunteer who had been involved in a programme of OPAL surveys said “I’ve never done anything like this before. It makes you look at the world in a different way and notice things you've never seen. It really helps you understand why these things are important.” And some school children have even said they want to “become a scientist working with plants and animals” after getting stuck into their local environments.

Over the next year OPAL will be targeting its work in Plymouth, engaging inner city schools, youth and community groups in researching local woodland and nature reserves. We will also be continuing our research into methods for engaging groups with ecology and taxonomy, and the efficacy of community-led environmental monitoring.

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