Monday, 13 February 2017

Ed the Bear at the Brighton Science festival

Hi all

Its time again for the Brighton Science Festival and along with friends of Shoreham Beach we set up our beach and ocean exhibit.
Each year I get to share another of my adventures and also talk story about the many things I have learned and experienced during my global travels such as that 50% of the oxygen we breathe on land actually comes from phytoplankton in the ocean.
The ocean also moderates our climate and weather, provides fresh water and 15% of global food. New medicines are being discovered in the ocean and the ocean is also a great pace for fun and wellbeing.
Sadly, the ocean is being damaged by many human activities such as plastic, climate change which is warming the ocean threatening marine life and also causing flooding.
Man made carbon dioxide is also changing the chemistry of the ocean causing ocean acidification.

Shoreham Beach and the River Adur are currently suffering the local consequences of global sea level rise from climate change as the sea and river defences are being raised. As the oceans warm - the water expands taking up more space and so sea levels rise. Melting glaciers is also a major reason why sea levels are rising.

I have also encountered some amazing wildlife to. I have sat with penguins on the polar ice, come nose to nose with great white sharks, dived on coral reef and shipwrecks and much more.
I have also observed the amazing wildlife we have on our on beaches in the UK - including the amazing local nature reserve on Shoreham Beach.

In fact we ran two drop in workshops where we demonstrated some of the amazing animals that live in rock pools on Shoreham Beach.

An amazing thing happened, you will never guess, the sea anemone actually gave birth to a tiny baby sea anemone on the day.

In between the drop in sessions we ran a video showing some of the places I had visited and animals I have encountered.
This included penguins in Antarctica and South Africa, great white sharks off South Africa, humpback whales and Laysan albatross in the Hawaiian Islands, coral fish, turtles and much more.

Friends of Shoreham Beach had an amazing exhibit about the  rare shingle plants and the fascinating wildlife that lives on the beach. There was also a strandline quiz and a plastic pollution exhibit.

My sister Bella also shared her adventures - looking at why freshwater is so valuable - in nature and to wildlife as well as humans.

As you know Bella is based at the Lewes Railway land Nature Reserve where she explores how water is important not just to the animals that lives in freshwater but also to the many animals that visit freshwater to drink, bathe, catch food, or lay eggs.

Bella has made two trips to the Amazon Rainforest in Peru and see some amazing wildlife. But its hard to believe that there is a shortage of clean drinking water in the rainforest for humans and Bella visited a community where they had a new water filter to make the river water safe to drink. You can find out more about Bella the Bear at Bella Bear's World of Water.

It was an amazing day with lots of questions from fascinated visitors.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Ed Bears Christmas Message

Hi all

Hope you all have a great Christmas.

Loads of extra packaging is generated this time of the year from all that lovely food and presents so please be careful and make sure you recycle everything that you can. Better still - try to chose items that have less packaging.

In this cold season its very comforting to stay indoors and bring in some of the outside. I cut down some branches from the garden and decorate it with berries and leaves. Unlike my American cousins - I stay awake all year round but in some parts of the world bears will already be asleep.

Its nice to brighten up our surroundings when things are looking bleak. While we have solar panels - these of course do not work at night - so I am trying out some solar powered Christmas lights for the garden - which will store the power during the day and will twinkle and flash after dark.

Have a great Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

I am busy making plans with Ed Wade Martins from moving sounds to travel back to the Atlantic with him early next year.

Happy holidays

Ed the Bear and Steve

Monday, 7 November 2016

Beach clean video

Hi all

As you know we took part in the Marine Conservation Society Great British Beach Clean back in September.

To help us share this message with local schools we made the following video

Bye all

Ed the Bear

Saturday, 22 October 2016

MP Tim Loughton unveils new signage on the nature reserve

Local MP Tim Loughton unveiled the new education and awareness signage on Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve - part of the 10 year anniversary of the reserve.

The unveiling commenced at 10.45am on the eastern end of the nature reserve.

Joy Daintree, the chairperson for Friends of Shoreham Beach, welcomed everyone and spoke about the last 10 years of the reserve - and its achievements.
Joy also spoke about the 10 year celebration and the Heritage Lottery Funding that had funded new information signage and also some educational events - some of which have been discussed in previous posts.
Tim Loughton the cut the ribbon and unveiled the new signs.

Afterwards everyone gathered for a press photograph around the signage.
There are seven new information panels - but only one was official unveiled on the day - as the remaining six were positioned at various entrances to the reserve.
The new signage is very eye catching as well as informative.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Ed Bear helps Ed Wade Martin share his adventures at Cardinal Newman School UK

Hi all

As you know I travelled to the Atlantic Ocean last year as part of the crew on the Moondancer as we sailed south along the eastern seaboard of the Atlantic Ocean. We saw some amazing wildlife and I experienced all sorts of sea and weather conditions and learned first hand where wind comes from, what makes waves, why sea mist forms and much more. You can see this and some of the amazing wildlife we encountered in my earlier blog entries Sept to December 2015.You can also see more at

I arrived back in the UK end of January in time to take part in the Brighton Science festival in February.

Anyway, I went along with Ed Wade Martins, Skipper of the Moondancer, to help him deliver his Key note speech for the Brighton & Hove Environmental Education Project schools conference at Cardinal Newman school. We talked about the sailing trip and about the issues of plastics in the oceans and the whole thing went down really well.

Here is a short video me made at the school. We have lots of great footage of the voyage which we are working on and will have more great stuff to show soon.

In January I will be returning to the Atlantic Ocean with the Moondancer and the rest of the crew for more adventures.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Ed the Bear and One Ocean Project take apart in EYE Eco Summit

Great to be taking part again in the EYE Eco Summit (EYE = Eco Young Engaged). Following the 9th annual Worthing & Adur Eco Summit this is the first event for schools in the west of the county which was held at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.

During the day, participating schools took part in a variety of workshops including Living Wage Game, Importance of pollinators, energy misuse and saving energy, importance of water conservation and others. the participating schools could chose 3 workshops to take part in - including our workshop One Ocean - focusing on the benefits we get from the ocean and ways that we are impacting our climate.

Using a presentation of Ed the Bear and the One Ocean Project I introduced the pupils to the concepts around benefits we receive from the ocean using examples from Ed the Bears travels. Then used examples from Ed's travels to consider ways we impact our climate - this included a Q&A.

We then used this as a start point for the pupils to create an infographic, group 1 focused on the benefits and group 2 ways that we impact our climate
Infographic 1

Pupils considered how we benefit from the ocean. In a nut shell we discussed benefits such as how the ocean creates and moderate our climate and weather.
From Workshop 1
How plant plankton produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe and in turn remove a million tons of carbon dioxide a day from the atmosphere. How the ocean provides freshwater via the water cycle – creating and replenishing freshwater habitats, providing water for us to drink, to grow crops etc.
                            From workshop 2
We looked at how 50% of the food we eat (globally) comes from the ocean and how the ocean allows us to transport 90% of our goods around the globe. The oceans are a great provider of wellbeing and fun activities. They are also a great potential source of renewable energy.
                            From workshop 3
We also considered what creates wind and waves.

Infographic 2
Because it would be too big a topic to look at all the ways we impact the ocean, we focused on how humans impact our climate.

Pupils started from the point that out main impact was from burning fossil fuels causing climate change. From there the pupil’s problem solved (with a bit of help and guidance) what impact this might have.
                                         From workshop 1
This included sea level rise from melting ice caps (and I added to this thermal expansion the cause of 50% sea level rise so far, when water warms it expands). They considered how man made climate change would cause some places to have droughts while other places will flood. How increase in tropical storms will impact our weather in the UK – rain is good but too much rain means we get all the negative aspects (affecting us, crops, freshwater habitats) but few of the benefits.
                                           From Workshop 2
We looked at how sea level rise could cause other problems - such as increased coastal erosion. 40% of the global population live close to the coast. The pupils looked at how a rise in sea temperature is damaging habitats such as coral reefs, disrupting food webs by creating changes in the distribution of some animals.
                                            From Workshop 3
People cause climate change but they can also be part of the solution.

We finished the workshop where we started – what does the ocean have to do with sustainable schools, by the pupils identifying which elements of each infographic  was relevant to sustainable schools and which aspects could sustainable schools have a positive effect.
To help cement the idea that the problems we cause through man made climate change are caused by impacting on the natural processes that provide the benefits we get from the ocean – each group shared their infographic with each other.
During the lunch break teachers and pupils visited our stands.
At the end of the day a presentation shared some of the good practices and projects that the various schools had instigated in their own grounds. There were also certificate for best reuse of items. The day finished with each workshop sharing in a 2 minute the results of their workshops.
It was a great day and amazing buzz from the children. The children in my workshops did a great job of problem solving these issues.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ed the Bear helps with Friends of Shoreham Beach - Beach Clean event

Friends of Shoreham Beach take part each year in the Marine Conservation Society - Great British Beach Clean
This year the local event was on 18th September, and organised by John Charlish committee member Friends of Shoreham Beach.
Also this year I was able to come along with Ed the Bear to help with the planned beach clean and to provide a deeper awareness and understanding of the global and local problems caused by plastic. The event base was set up alongside the recently constructed boardwalk (which is actually made from recycled plastic)

This included my display stand focusing on why Shoreham Beach (where the event was taking place) was important and how we benefit from the ocean (ecosystem services) such as 50% of our oxygen, freshwater, 15% of food as well as how the ocean moderates our climate and weather. The display stand also provided a focus on local consequences to global issues – such as climate change and sea level rise.

The display stand also included pictures and information from the One World One Ocean Project and Ed the Bear.

As you know I have been send Ed the Bear to scientists around the world to find our about the ocean and ocean conservation which we then share at events and visiting schools using to create links between the local and global, a celebration of the ocean which includes a focus on conservation issues explored first hand. 

This also included local and global examples of plastic debris (including plastic strapping which came from cape fur seals that were entangled in the plastic, plastic incidents around the world including the necklace gifted to Ed the Bear while in Hawaiian islands – made from a numbered scientific leg band from an albatross chick that died from swallowing plastic.
Ed raises awareness of the plight of these majestic birds and also about the dangers to UK sea birds such as fulmar. There was also a big focus on micro plastics – from how large plastics items degrade into spammer items (which can be ingested) and also micro beads and other human sources.

Part of the display also focused on the fact that not everything you find on the beach is rubbish – focusing on ray, dogfish, whelk and similar egg cases that look like they are plastic.
I spoke to the participants about plastic pollution as they gathered awaiting the start of the beach clean. This included explaining about micro plastics and how the smaller items on the beach are often more dangerous to local marine life.

After a briefing by John the participants, armed with a large bags, gloves and grabbers, started the beach clean.
They were divided into two groups, one group which would undertake the finger-tip litter pick survey which would be sent to MCS, the remained cleaned the beach outside of this designated area.

I remained by the stand for a while and spoke to members of the public passing along the boardwalk.

I then headed off down the far end of the beach clean boundary to check up and support the volunteers, as well as answer questions and share information.
I met a family who had come along to the rock pooling with a microscope event I ran back in August - which was also funded by the heritage lottery grant.

I walked back with the last of the volunteers as they returned with their bags of debris and returned the grabbers.
A final chance to talk to participants before the event ended. A large amount of debris was removed from the beach – however there were fewer large items found this time – so maybe the message is getting across. This meant we collected a lot of smaller items of plastic.

We still have to tally up the amount of litter collected and the result of the marine litter survey. The bags of litter collected will be collected for us by Adur District Council. It was a very successful day.