National nature project, OPAL, gets Lottery runner-up award

07 November 2011

The Open Air Laboratories project (OPAL) has been recognised as one of the UK’s best environmental projects at the National Lottery Awards 2011 in London on Saturday 5 November.  

OPAL Director Dr Linda Davies receives the runner-up award from actress Cheryl Fergison

OPAL Director Dr Linda Davies (on the right) receives the runner-up award from actress Cheryl Fergison (centre)

OPAL, which is led by Imperial College London and includes the Natural History Museum, is a nationwide partnership initiative that inspires communities to discover, enjoy and protect their local environments.

OPAL beat hundreds of projects from across the UK to take home a runner-up trophy at the gala ceremony, which was broadcast live on BBC One and hosted by Myleene Klass.  

On accepting the award, Dr Linda Davies, OPAL Director, Imperial College London, said 'We are absolutely delighted to have our project recognised with this award. 

The first app from the Natural History Museum is for the OPAL Bugs Count survey

The first app from the Natural History Museum is for the OPAL Bugs Count survey

'Through OPAL, we are developing a new generation of nature-lovers, not just children and young people, but also adults who haven’t had the opportunities to get involved with nature. 

'I’d like to thank my team for all their hard work and the communities across the country who have made OPAL such a huge success. A big thank you to the Lottery too for making this all possible'.

The project was pipped to the post by the Green Valley Centre, Bryncynon, which transformed an old waste ground into a thriving community garden providing local people with skills and training to grow local produce.


OPAL partners with universities and community groups nationwide, working with thousands of people across England. 

The leopard slug is one of the 6 minibeasts to spot if you want to help scientists

The leopard slug is 1 of 6 minibeasts to spot in OPAL's Bugs Count survey.

The aim of OPAL is for everyday people to work alongside top scientists, discovering more about their local area while contributing to national scientific research. 

Lottery funding

Lottery funding has paid for a community scientist to be based in every region, working with some of the most deprived communities in England.

The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.  

All the projects entered in the competition had already received Lottery funding and the Awards recognise the difference that these projects make to local communities, and celebrate the achievements of the people behind them.

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