Macclesfield Wildlife Explorers RSPB Phoenix
Saturday 3rd October 2009
Macclesfield RSPB Phoenix members took part in a National Air Survey, studying lichens on trees and tar spot fungus on Sycamore leaves, at West Park in Macclesfield.

As well as having lots of fun and learning new skills group members were delighted to learn that their survey results will help to build a detailed picture of the impact of air quality locally and across the country.
Feed the Birds Day Feed the Birds Day
Scientists from OPAL, including an expert lichenologist, were on hand to help locate and identify the lichens on tree trunks and branches in the park. Lichens are incredible; they are actually two different organisms, a fungus and an alga, living together. The fungus provides the body that protects the alga and the alga provides the food for the fungus. The species that live in an area can tell us about the local air quality.

Air quality in Britain is better today than it has been for many decades, however, pollutants can still reach harmful levels. The OPAL survey is helping scientists to investigate the complex impacts of climate change and air pollution on plants and ecosystems.

If you would like to help scientists answer important questions about local air quality and are interested in taking part in the OPAL Air Survey find out more on the website www.opalexplorenature.org.
The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is an exciting new initiative, open to anyone with an interest in nature, developing a wide range of local and national programmes to encourage people from all backgrounds to get back in touch with nature. The project will also generate valuable scientific data concerning the state of our environment. The entire OPAL portfolio is headed by Imperial College, London.