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Pennine schools to help climate-change research

This is an archived press release

Thursday 21 February 2008

21 February 2008

Pennine schools to help climate-change research

Hundreds of secondary school students from across the Pennines will be conducting important climate-change research on Peak District moorland during National Science and Engineering Week – March 7–16.

The students, mainly 14-16 year-olds from 15 urban and rural schools, will be collaborating with scientists on the ‘Moorlands as Indicators of Climate Change’ initiative.

In the first event of its kind involving schools from Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Tameside and Staffordshire, data will be collected simultaneously across the Peak District National Park by students from Stoke-on-Trent in the south to Holmfirth in the north.

Project co-ordinator Chris Robinson, of the Peak District National Park Authority, explained: “Moors are not only globally-rare habitats, they are very sensitive to climate-change. They store more carbon than all the forests in the UK and France put together, but have suffered centuries of erosion, fire-damage and pollution. A healthy moorland will help mitigate climate change, whereas an unhealthy one will only add to the problem.

“The students’ research will make an important contribution to the restoration and conservation work of the £4.7m Moors for the Future project in the Peak District National Park.”

Fifteen to 30 students from each school will be measuring:

  • the water-table and water quality
  • peat-depth
  • vegetation cover
  • wildlife
  • biomass – the fuel-load for wildfires

Students and teachers are working with national park education and ranger services, Moors for the Future researchers and scientists from Manchester and Sheffield universities.

They have helped design the experiments, and their findings in the field will be collated and analysed using handheld devices and satellite technology. A website chatroom will enable the students to exchange data, upload photos and comment as it happens.

This is the first of two ‘Moorlands as Indicators of Climate Change’ experiment weeks this year – the second will be part of Chatsworth Science Week, September 29 to October 3.

The projects are supported by £2,770 from the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of its Festival of Social Science (March 7-16), running alongside National Science and Engineering Week. A programme of events may be found on www.esrcfestival.ac.uk

The schools involved are:

Derbyshire – Glossopdale Community College

                        Hope Valley College

                        Chapel-en-le-Frith High School

                        Lady Manners School, Bakewell

                        Heanor Gate Science College

Yorkshire -     Royston High School, Barnsley

                        Honley High School, nr Holmfirth

                        Oakwood Technology College, Rotherham

                        Brinsworth Comprehensive School, Rotherham

                        Silverdale School, Sheffield

                        Nidderdale High School and Community College, Harrogate (doing                                  their practical work in June)

Tameside -    West Hill School, Stalybridge

                        Littlemoss High School, Droylsden

                        Astley Sports College, Dukinfield

Staffordshire – Painsley Catholic College, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent

This is an archived press release

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