Saturday, 29 March 2014

Earth Hour

Hi all

Earth Hour has come around again to raise awareness of our planet. If you don’t know Earth Hour the aim is to encourage as many people as possible each year to not use electric lights (and other electrical devices) between 8.30 and 9.30pm which is where it all started. This is a global event and there are also many fund raising projects linked to Earth Hour to raise money for various causes. 

 Me and Bella celebrating Earth Hour 2014

‘Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement’.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Fascianting objects washed up after the storms

Hi all

We have had some terrible stormy weather this last few weeks, heavy rain, strong gale force wind. The beach is not a safe place for a small bear like me.
But today the sun is shining and the wind has reduced to a pleasant breeze and so I have ventured out onto Shoreham Beach with my buddy Steve who working with a school group to look at the things washed up by the stormy seas.

 We found lots of egg cases. These egg cases were laid by the common whelk

These egg cases are from the cat shark family (also called a dogfish)  the smaller bronze coloured egg case at the top of the photo
The larger egg case is from a Ray

Some types of ray are becoming rare around the UK because they have been over-fished. The Shark Trust run a project called the great egg case hunt, encouraging people and groups to collect and identify the egg cases they find and send the information to the Trust.

They are using this information to find the nursery grounds of the rays so that they can be protected. You can take part too, just click on this link to find out how.

Steve gave the children some ID sheets. One sheet looked at strand line objects and how to identify different ray eggs.  Another sheet was for identifying seaweeds.
Lots of seaweed had been washed up after the storms, including this big brown seaweed called oarweed. 
Some animals live actually attached to seaweeds, such as these spiral tube worms. The worms live in a spiraled tube rater like a seashell.

We also found different types of sponge  
There were also lots of cuttlefish bones too

The pupils from the school found lots of interesting items  and then Steve told them lots of fascinating facts about the objects they had collected.

We also found plastic and other litter on the beach

There was a small bird feeding on the beach but it flew of and sat on the pebbles so we would not be able to see it easily. 

The colours of the pied wagtail blended in well with the pebbles.

The children had a great time on the beach learning about the strandline objects and the clues they give us to life off the beach.

Later we foud a bottle with some goose barnacles attached to it. Goose barnacles attach to floating objects, which nowadays also inlcudes plastic.

I wonder how far the bottle had floated before it was washed up on our beach at Shoreham

Bye for now

Ed the Bear

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Ed the Bear at the Brighton Science Festival 2014

Hi all

Well we are back at the Brighton Science Festival again this year.
As before the event is hosted by Hove Park School, which is also the school where Steve's daughter goes to 6th Form College.
As usual we took a display about my travels 

Our display looks at our local beach at Shoreham where I live and how its connected to the global ocean. The beach is a nature reserve where the Friends of Shoreham Beach and the management group help look after the rare vegetated shingle habitat and during my travels I have been finding out how global issues such as climate change and plastic debris might endanger the beach at Shoreham.

The Friends of Shoreham Beach also had a fascinating stand telling people why Shoreham Beach is so special. 
They also had a sea bird quiz and a beach litter quiz.

Steve did two talks during the day. The first talk was about the ocean and why its important. The ocean controls our weather and climate, provides freshwater, oxygen, medicines food and much more
The second talk later in the afternoon was called an Ocean of Plastic and looked at plastic and the problems of pollution from plastic including animals that accidentally swallow plastic (including plankton) and  animals that become entangled. The talk looked at plastic debris on Shoreham Beach as well as global locations.

We explored that plastic is a good invention, but things that we only use once or twice should not be made of plastic because it takes a long time to breakdown.

You may remember I vised the TrueCost Supermarket Art Installation in Brighton which was all about beach litter and plastic pollution

As usual we had our display about ocean acidification. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, caused by human activities, has led to an increase of carbon dioxide in the oceans. This is now changing the water chemistry of the ocean. Part of this display is a sea shell in vinegar to  show the effects of a wek acid on a shell.
This year we also included an additional experiment run by Steve's daughter Amber. We used a pH meter show how by blowing into a jar of water, the carbon dioxide in our breath would change the pH.
We tested the water first so people could see the pH value. We then got people to blow into the water through a straw and they could see the pH change making it more acidic.

I also had a visit from a young visitor who had brought his class bear to see me. the bear was called Barnaby. Each child in the class takes Barnaby home for a week and writes a journal of what the bear has been doing.
This is me with Barnaby.

In between the talks people could also watch a TED Talk by Sylvia Earle a legendary ocean researcher who has done so much to help our understanding of the oceans and share the message to others
You can see this inspiration talk by clicking the link below

It was an amazing day and we were able to share my message with lots of visitors.

Bye for now, Ed the Bear

Friday, 14 February 2014

Ocean Literacy Statement virtual signing


You may remember that me and my buddy Steve took part in the Transatlantic Ocean Literacy Conferee last September.

Well my buddy Steve took part in a group signing of the vision statement yesterday to take forward what was achieved at the conference and to lead to the next stage.

When I am traveling in the USA I work with schools that have Ocean Literacy in their school curriculum. One of the aims of the conference is to integrate ocean literacy into the UK and European schools curriculum

Fantastic news

Bye for now, Ed the Bear

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Hi everyone

A merry Christmas from Ed and Bella. I hope you have a great Christmas, but don’t forget to recycle all that extra packaging that Christmas brings.

You may need to wait a bit longer for a recycling collection over Christmas and the New Year. They do a fantastic job and they deserve to have time off at Christmas too. We would be in a terrible mess without them.

Merry Christmas, Ed and Bella.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ed the Bear Visits Dirty Beach Exhibition TruCost Super M-Art

Hi all

Yesterday I visited the Onca Gallery in Brighton to see an exhibition called TruCost Super M-Art. The exhibition is laid out as a super market, but not one you will have been to before. Dirty Beach, a partnership between Brighton-based artist Lou McCurdy and eco-graffitist Chloe Hanksy, opened a unique supermarket in London Road, Brighton.
This ‘brand’ new supermarket will only display discarded plastic items found on UK beaches. The aim of the exhibition is to draw attention to the increasingly pressing issue of plastic pollution, waste and consumption using plenty of humour and irony as a powerful way to get the message across...
Some of the plastic debris was collected from my own beach at Shoreham, so I was keen to find out more about it. As you know, I have helped with beach cleans in many parts of the World from Sussex Beaches to global locations such as Florida and Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

While I was in Kauai I saw the Laysan albatross and the many albatross chicks that die because they are accidentally fed plastic debris by their parents.

I was gifted a scientific numbered leg band from an Albatross chick, to wear as a necklace, in memory of the death of albatross chicks in Hawaii.

You can find out more about the Laysan Albatross and my trip on my weblog  at

We do not have albatross in the UK but we do have a gull-like bird, the fulmar, which suffers from swallowing plastic debris.
As I went inside I noticed hanging from the ceiling were banners – like you find in a normal supermarket . The first thing I noticed was the rows upon rows of plastic bottles on shelves.

Many were clear drinking bottles but others were blue or different shapes and probably once held kitchen cleaning chemicals.
Then I turned and looked on another shelf and there were rows of plastic food containers…

...and tooth brushes and shavers…
...jars of bottle tops...

…and shoes and gloves

While it is possible to imagine that someone might drop the odd water bottle on the beach, the other food containers, tooth brushes etc should not even get anywhere near the sea.

While some animals swallow plastic others become entangled in it. This plastic was removed from cape fur seals I saw in South Africa.
Divers from the Two Oceans Aquarium cut this and other plastic from then lucky seals.

There were rows of disposable lighters and gun cartridges, many of these came from Shoreham Beach. As I have seen on my travels, one way that plastic debris can get into the ocean is via rivers.
The shot gun cartridges probably ended up on Shoreham Beach from the river Adur after being washed down from further up river. Many towns and villages were originally built by rivers because of the need for either drinking water (for humans and livestock) or as a means of travel and transportation. In modern times, the towns have grown and many people now live near rivers and plastic and other litter is frequently dropped or blown into rivers.

I have been lucky to have travelled to the Hawaiian Islands 3 times now and I have learned to speak a bit of the Hawaiian Language. One of the words they taught me was Kuleana pronounced koo-l-eh-ah-n-ah.

Kuleana ,means responsibility. Supermarkets (and all shops) have Kuleana for everything they sell and its possible impact on the environment. But we all have Kuleana as well for everything we buy and how we dispose of it and where possible reusing or recycling it.

One of the things used to make plastic is oil, which is a natural resource which is running out. So recycling and reusing plastic will help conserve the oil that is left. I have visited USA on many occasions. I found out that in America people buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world.
This adds 29 billion water bottles a year to the problem. To make these bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s enough oil to keep a million cars going for twelve months. Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle.

It often takes less energy to recycle something than to create it new – so it can save energy and reduce the impact of its production on the environment. Recycling one plastic bottle can save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours.

As Bella will tell you  it also takes a lot of water to make plastic about 1.39 litres of water to make a single 1 litre bottle of water. But if you look at the whole supply chain from drilling for oil to transporting the finished bottle to the store-even more water is used. By recycling you will be doing more than just stopping plastic getting into to the ocean.
I also saw some of Lou McCurdy's fascinating beach art

There is still time to go along to see the exhibition, it ends on 22nd December.

If you can’t visit the exhibition, then please share this message. Think carefully about packaging when you are shopping, reuse what you can and recycle things you can’t reuse. Remember, we all have Kuleana




Sunday, 10 November 2013

Ed the Bear at Primary Science Teachers Conferences at Dungeness

15th October and 8th November, Ed the Bear and Bella (his sister) share their project with primary science teachers in Kent and the projects cross curriculum approach to water science. Ed the Bear with his local and global ocean project and Bella Bears freshwater Project (

The conference focused on the new changes to the science curriculum and various speakers provided presentations

Ed has never been to Dungeness before so he does a bit of exploring of his own.
The bird hides provide a great chance to see some of the aquatic birds up close.

A flock of lapwings

A great crested grebe

A patient heron waits for the chance to lunge at a passing fish
 Ed could also see the nearby nuclear power station - a bit scary for a little bear

Ed also explored a few rabbit burrows but no one was home.

The visitors centre where the conferences took place were further inland than the vegetated shingle habitat. Ed hoped he would get to see some but it was too far from his tiny legs.

The pebbles at Shoreham get moved along by the waves, this is called long shore drift. Many of those pebbles end up at Dungeness.

Both conferences were a great success.