School pupils use OPAL air survey to gain their CREST Award

Pupils from Nottingham Girls High School have used the OPAL air survey to help them achieve their British Science Association (BSA) silver CREST Award.

CREST is Britain’s largest award scheme for project work in science and technology. They are widely recognised and can be used to enhance college and university applications.

To gain their award, Year 10/11 students designed independent projects to explore the effect of nitrogen oxide pollution on lichens.

Using the OPAL air survey field guide, they recorded the distribution and abundance of key lichens on oak, ash and sycamore trees, and compared the results across different sites.

Amongst other things, they discovered a gradual change of lichen distribution from Nottingham city centre into rural areas.

Nitrogen-loving lichens such as Xanthoria were common in the city, while nitrogen-sensitive lichens such as Usnea were found in increasing numbers moving away from the city.

Read one of the project reports (PDF, 1.6MB)

Interested in earning your CREST Award?
CREST Awards are ideal for ages 11-19. If you or your school are interested in getting involved, see the CREST website for more details.

Remember, you can use OPAL surveys to help you achieve your award.

CREST Star Investigators for ages 5-12

There’s also an award programme suitable for younger science enthusiasts. Look out for the activities specially created by OPAL.