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Schools’ climate change research on Peak District moors

This is an archived press release

Thursday 16 June 2011

Hundreds of secondary school students will conduct climate change research on the Peak District and Pennine moors from March 11-21, 2011.

The students will be participating in the fourth annual Moorlands as Indicators of Climate Change Initiative (MICCI) as part of  National Science  and Engineering Week.

The 11-18 year-olds from 12 schools, mainly in urban areas surrounding the national park, will be conducting practical experiments to investigate the impact of climate change and the effects of human activities on the sensitive moorland environment.

Co-ordinator Chris Robinson, of the Peak District National Park Authority’s learning and discovery team, explained: “This is an innovative project involving young people from across the South Pennines in investigating peat moorlands’ potential to help tackle climate change.

“Healthy peat moorlands could retain more carbon than all the forests in the UK and France combined. But centuries of human activities have damaged the peat through pollution, wildfires and drainage which led to severe loss of vegetation and erosion.

“Each school is given a moorland site to investigate and collectively they cover most of the upland areas of the Peak District National Park including Staffordshire, Bleaklow, Derwent and Beeley near Bakewell. The students’ research will help the Moors for the Future Partnership, which is now carrying out large-scale restoration through re-wetting the peat and regenerating vegetation such as cotton-grass and cloudberry.”

The students’ findings in the field will be collated and analysed using handheld sensors and GPS technology. New for this year, a video conference in May will enable the students to exchange data, upload photos and discuss their findings with experts from IUCN Peatland programme, Moors for the Future Partnership and the Peak District National Park Authority.

Also new is a partnership with the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network  which is helping fund the project alongside launching its new climate change survey pack to MICCI schools.

The British Association for Science (East Midlands) is also giving financial support as part of the National Science week celebrations.

The field trips will be supported by the national park’s Ranger service, Moors for the Future Partnership, the Moorland Discovery Centre and Longdendale Environmental Centre.

Other national parks across the UK are following the Peak District’s lead in launching MICCI projects with schools on their own moorlands for the first time this year.

Schools taking part are: Chapel-en-le-Frith High School, Derbyshire; Carlton Community School, Barnsley; West Hill School, Stalybridge, Tameside; Glossopdale Community College, Glossop; Heanorgate School, Heanor; Painsley Catholic College, Cheadle, nr Stoke-on-Trent; Honley High School, Holmfirth, W. Yorkshire; Longley Park Sixth Form College, Sheffield; Long Eaton School, Nottinghamshire; Kirk Hallam Community, Technology and Sports College, Ilkeston; King Ecgbert School, Sheffield; St John Houghton School, Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire.

This is an archived press release

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