Many of the projects undertaken by the Opwall Trust are based on data collected, at least in part, by school and university students from around the world who have joined biodiversity research expeditions. School groups consisting of 16-18 year olds and their teachers join experienced scientists to collect broad and detailed data on topics including carbon storage of tropical forests and biodiversity distribution patterns, while university students collect more detailed data on ecological functioning and human disturbances. Education therefore forms a key component of the Trust’s activities, and improving the awareness and understanding of tropical ecosystems and the threats they are facing is one of our main priorities.
The Wallace Resource Library forms the backbone of the Opwall Trust’s outreach program, focusing specifically on 16-18 year old school students studying biology, environmental science or geography. However, the target audience is generally restricted to those students undertaking key subjects. A secondary program, the Wallace Poster Series, was therefore established in 2013 to develop a number of carefully-designed and targeted visual resources focusing on important areas of natural history and tropical biodiversity conservation. These posters are being provided free of charge to schools and universities around the world.
The first poster was launched in 2013 and entitled ‘Wallace’s and Darwin’s Voyages to Evolution’. This was produced to commemorate the centenary of the death of British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in conjunction with the Wallace Fund at London’s Natural History Museum. The posted, seen above, shows the various voyages of Alfred Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin, highlighting key events in their travels. Over 700 copies were sent free of charge to schools and universities around the world in only the first eight weeks since launching.
The second poster in this exciting series, launched in 2014, focuses on coral reefs and highlights key ecological case studies and conservation priorities in different regions around the globe. The map is designed to raise awareness of these fragile but amazing ecosystems.