Happy fifth birthday to OPAL surveys

Laura Gosling
OPAL evaluation and data manager

We have reached a big milestone for OPAL: this Sunday marks five years since we launched the first OPAL survey, the soil and earthworm survey.

It was an exciting time. No-one knew how the public would react – would people be interested in soil and earthworms? Would they take part? And if they did, would they submit their results?


Meet the OPAL Director: Dr David Slawson

Plant scientist Dr David Slawson has been appointed as the new Director of OPAL, based at Imperial College London.

Dr Slawson, who previously worked at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) and was involved in the development of the OPAL tree health survey, took up his new role on 10 March 2014.


Tell us your tree survey opinions for a chance to win

Did you take part in the OPAL tree health survey last year? We need your feedback!

We're opening a two-week public poll today to find out what you liked and didn’t like about our seventh national citizen science survey, launched in May 2013.


Tree health survey scoops Government award

The OPAL tree health survey has been recognised at Defra’s annual Team Awards, winning the department’s Civil Service Reform Award.

The survey was developed last year by OPAL partners working with the Government agencies Fera (the Food and Environment Research Agency) and Forest Research.


Insects 'bounced back' in 2013's hot summer

2013’s hot summer gave wildlife a much-needed boost, National Trust specialists have revealed.

After six consecutive years of poor summers, the sunshine of July and August helped many species – particularly insects such as butterflies, bees and grasshoppers – to flourish.

Many plants and grasses also had a successful year and there was “an explosion of nuts, berries and seeds” later in the year.


Gill Stevens Award will bring youngsters closer to nature

Schoolchildren in London will be able to get hands-on with nature thanks to a new award set up in memory of OPAL’s deputy director.

The Gill Stevens Award, which will run for five years, will enable seven school groups each year to visit one of the Royal Parks for a fieldwork session led by an experienced tutor from the Field Studies Council (FSC).


European citizen science experts discuss ECSA’s future

Scientists from across Europe gathered in Brussels this week to hold talks on the fledgling European Citizen Science Association (ECSA).

The meeting was the first that has been held since the assocation was officially launched at EU Green Week in June 2013.