The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability.
Take part in the OPAL Biodiversity Survey and uncover the diverse range of wildlife in our hedges. Hedges support many animals by providing food and shelter. Berries and seeds are food for birds, while holes beneath the hedge are often home to small mammals. You’ll also discover many invertebrates living among the leaves.
The project website provides easy-to-follow survey instructions, straightforward identification guides and support from community scientists across the UK. To get started, all you need to do is download and print the survey documents available on the OPAL Biodiversity Survey website.
When you're out on a bike trip, bring along the OPAL Hedgerow and Invertebrate Identifcation Guides, a tape measure, a few sheets of white paper and a small magnifier. Find a suitable hedge and start surveying! The best time to complete this survey is between April to November. You can then submit your findings using the online form on the OPAL Biodiversity Survey website.
By telling researches what you find, they can instantly rate the condition of your hedge and offer suggestions on how to improve it. You’ll contribute to valuable research and learn more about the importance of hedges and how you can improve them.