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Schools help climate change research on Peak moors

This is an archived press release

Friday 19 September 2008

19 September 2008

Schools help climate change research on Peak moors

Students from 14 secondary schools across the Pennines will take to the hills from September 29 - October 3 in a unique climate-change research programme organised by the Peak District National Park Authority.

Investigating links between people, moorlands and climate-change, the students are working with the £4.7m Moors for the Future project. Their work will contribute to frontline research on peat moors - globally-rare habitats whose restoration could play a significant role against climate change.

This is the second phase of the Moorlands as Indicators of Climate Change (MICCI) programme, involving hundreds of 14-18 year olds from schools in and around the Peak District.

The students will compare data they gathered during the first MICCI Week, last March (part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science).

The students helped design the experiments, and their findings in the field will be collated and analysed using handheld devices and GPS technology. A website chatroom enables them to exchange data, upload photos and discuss their findings.

They work with the Peak District National Park learning team and rangers, Moors for the Future researchers and scientists from Manchester and Sheffield universities.

Co-ordinator Chris Robinson, of the National Park learning team, explained the need for the research: “Healthy peat moors absorb carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) and could store more than all the forests in the UK and France put together. But human activities have destroyed its protective vegetation through fire damage, over-grazing and pollution. The peat erodes, releasing the CO2 to the wind and rain, adding to the problem instead of helping. This is what Moors for the Future is trying to address, through research and restoration.

“The students learn about peat’s importance in mitigating climate change, and people’s impact on it. Their work encourages them to think about the climate change debate and what they can do to make a difference.”

Fifteen to 30 students from each school will be measuring the water-table, water quality, peat depth, vegetation cover and wildlife.

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, Heanor
  • St John Houghton School, Ilkeston

Yorkshire:

  • Royston High School, Barnsley
  • Honley High School, near Holmfirth
  • Oakwood Technology College, Rotherham
  • Brinsworth Comprehensive School, Rotherham

Cheshire:

  • West Hill School, Stalybridge
  • Littlemoss High School, Tameside
  • Bramhall High School, Stockport

Staffordshire:

  • Painsley Catholic College, Stoke-on-Trent

The project’s completion will be celebrated on October 17 at Losehill Hall, the national park’s Learning and Environmental Conference Centre at Castleton, when the students will hear feedback on the results from Moors for the Future.

Moors for the Future is a partnership of the Peak District National Park Authority, the National Trust, Natural England, United Utilities, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, Derbyshire County Council and the Moorland Association. For further information visit: www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk

This is an archived press release

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