More than 130 youngsters from across Devon and Cornwall explored the world of science and nature at an event held by OPAL South West and Plymouth University.
Schools Go Wild gave children from local primary, secondary and special schools the chance to examine tropical bugs in a university laboratory, make a cloud in a bottle as part of the OPAL Weather Roadshow, and go spider hunting in the old walls around the campus.
Each school also exhibited an environmental project they have worked on this year, from studies of local birds and bugs to marine plankton and pond life. Many schools had used OPAL surveys as a basis for more in-depth studies on local biodiversity.
All projects were entered into a competition and the winners, selected by Senior Lecturers from the School of Biological Sciences, were:
- Marlborough Primary School for ‘Go with the flow at Slapton Ley’ (Kingsbridge)
- Mill Ford School for ‘Building a Bug Hotel’
- Eggbuckland Community College for ‘The Eggbuckland Environment Enquiry’ which involved a study of freshwater and terrestrial invertebrate diversity at their school.
Alison Smith, OPAL Community Scientist, said: “The quality of the projects was very good, and it was inspiring and encouraging to see how enthusiastic all of the school groups were about their environment. We hope this will become an annual event, which can help connect the University with schools in the community.”
Pupils could also talk to scientists and researchers from the School of Biological Sciences about their own projects and what happens at a university.
Teachers said their pupils had been “inspired” and “enthused” by the event and that it had been “empowering” for them to present their work in a university environment.