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Open Air Laboratory OPAL: Outdoor exploration for all ages

Each student is required to carry out an OPAL environmental survey with a group of adults or children. The survey topics are : Tree Health, Water Quality, Soil and Earthworms, Biodiversity, Air Quality and Bug Counts. The survey activity will last no more than 2 hours and a 2 hour training session will be required beforehand (on how to complete a survey, risk assessments and health and safety requirements)

Survey packs provided by OPAL include a field guide giving background information on the activity; details of the equipment required and detailed steps on how to carry out the activity.

The necessary resources are included (guides, tape measures, magnifying glasses etc.), a field notebook to record results and information on how to upload the results to a central database.

Further information on OPAL surveys is available at

Students will be required to:

  1. Complete training on how to carry out a survey
  2. Submit a short plan for their activity before the event (including risk assessment)
  3. Complete the survey and submit results to the national database
  4. Submit a brief lessons learned report after the survey is completed

These activities would be of particular benefit to students studying education courses such as teacher training, early years and childcare; students studying earth or environmental sciences; environmental and biological monitoring; or other science courses that involve field work. It may also be of benefit to students studying health and safety and risk management.