Discover Heathland

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is an initiative which aims to create and inspire a new generation of nature-lovers by encouraging people to explore, study, enjoy and protect their local environment. OPAL began in 2007 with a total of 15 partners, headed by Imperial College London, working together to deliver OPAL projects. Through a wide range of local and national programmes, the project aims to encourage people from all backgrounds to get back in touch with nature whilst generating valuable scientific data concerning the state of our environment. Lowland heathland is one of Britain's rarest and most threatened habitats. It is also home to a diverse range of unique flora and fauna. These resources help students to learn more about this habitat with activities, suggested field work and guides to heathland plants and animals.



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Pony Grazing

This field study encourages students to act as environmental scientists to compare two heathlands one of which has been grazed, one of which has not. Students use the data collected to decide which heathland is better in terms of the plant species present, especially heathers, and soil chemistry.


What to Conserve?

With the increasing pressure of a growing human population it is becoming increasingly difficult to conserve natural habitats. Ultimately, not every green space can be afforded conservation protection. This field study encourages students to act as environmental scientists to compare different habitats and decide...

Heather Distribution

This field study provides the opportunity for students to use ecological survey techniques and conduct investigations to understand how the environmental (abiotic) conditions in a habitat can affect the presence and distribution of organisms. The resource provides a practical investigation of the relationship...

Heathland Conservation and Management

The main aim of this resource is for students to understand some of the conflicts surrounding land use in the UK – particularly the conflicts between economic incentives, society, and environmental conservation. The resource also provides a practical introduction to the complexities of managing habitats, with a...


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