Lichen spotting and tree maths with Fairview Primary School

By Anna Lavery and Gretta McCarron
OPAL Community Scientists, Northern Ireland

We were delighted to welcome Fairview Primary School to Queen's University in Belfast this month as part of the university’s ESRC Festival of Social Science.

Pupils looking for tar spotsThe children became outdoor scientists for the day and carried out an Air Survey in Ormeau Park using tar spots on the many sycamore leaves in the park.

The young people and their teachers were welcomed to Queen’s University Belfast Canada Room by Dr Karen Kerr from the School of Education.

After a short introduction to the activities and how to identify lichens by Gretta, they walked over to Ormeau Park in the November sunshine to begin their survey.

Young pupil recording her survey resultsWorking in teams of four they collected lots of information including the abundance of tar spots on sycamore leaves as well as the lichen types on the trees.

The teachers were thrilled at how the pupils worked together to collect the information for the survey.

They also showed us what avid mathematicians they were by using the OPAL Tree Health Survey to measure tree height and girth on some of the many trees in the park.

We also heard many stories about the park from the children who often walk there with their parents.

We would like to thank the Vice Principal Mr McAllister for bringing his pupils along to our event.

More blogs from us: Ashfield Girls get to grips with lichens