UK: Encouraging people to become outdoor scientists

A new project has been launched to encourage people to become outdoor
scientists. The Open Air Laboratories, set up in partnership by South
Hams-based charity Moor Trees and Plymouth University, aims to engage
with local communities and encourage them to take an interest in
native woodlands, plants and animals.

Over the past 10 years, Moor
Trees, which operates four native woodland nurseries in Dartington,
South Brent, Princetown on Dartmoor and in Plymouth, has planted
thousands of native British trees. OPAL community scientist Bethan
Stagg said the new project would carry out soil quality surveys while
monitoring how quickly forest flowers such as bluebells establish
themselves in native woodlands. She said: “OPAL is a national
programme and Moor Trees and the university are among nine
partnerships to have been successful in their bid. “It’s an exciting
project. It is a 30 years’ project. We’ll see how it’s progressing in
four years’ time. It will then be passed on to Plymouth University as
a legacy. Undergraduate students will then carry on the project in the
future.” For more information about the OPAL project and about Moor
Trees visit or

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