Friday, 20 June 2014

Dungeness Nature Reserve

Today we travelled with Steve to Dungeness with is about 60 miles east along the south coast. Steve was the main speaker in a science teacher’s conference about developing school grounds for wildlife conservation and as a resource to teaching.

Last year, Bella and I were one of the main presentations here as we shared our message about oceans and freshwater and fun ways children could learn about it in the classroom and by visiting sites.

This year I came along for the ride to show Abby the nature reserve.

While Steve was talking to the teachers I showed Abby around. I explained to Abby that the pebbles here are flint pebbles similar to my beach at Shoreham that we visited quickly yesterday.
Wave action, called long shore drift, moves the pebbles from west to east. Dungeness is where many the pebbles that the waves move along the beach eventually end up.

We took a close look at the yellow horned poppy a coastal plant that also grows at Shoreham.These yellow flowers become seed pods that look like horns. They are spring loaded so when the seeds are ready the pod splits open and catapults the seeds across the beach where some will grow into new plants.

We explored the two hides nearest the reserve center and saw lots of water birds, but I only identified a few because I did not bring my binoculars. 

As we walked around I heard a lot of noise coming from behind a mud bank. We peeked over teh top and saw a pair of oyster catchers nesting on the shingle.

Bye for now

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Shoreham Beach

Hi All

Today I took Abby to my beach at Shoreham. I explained that the beach was a nature reserve because of the rare vegetated shingle habitat – special plants that grow in the pebbles. They can survive with little water, no soil and survive the strong winds, hot sun and salty sea spray.

Although Steve and the nature reserve team help to look after the plants and wildlife, they were concerned about how global issues such as climate change, sea level rise, increase in storms and other issues might affect this beach. This is why I started my global travels to visit scientists to find out what they know about the ocean and the damage humans are doing to the ocean. 

Off to Dungeness tomorrow to show Abby where some of the beach shingle travels to because of the sea and wave action. Sea defenses stop some the shingle moving so the beach doesn't get washed away

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Eco Schools Summit

Here we are again at the EYE summit, EYE stands for Eco Young and Engaged.

The project shares sustainable living ideas be tween schools and they have the chance to show case what they are doing in their school to save energy, recycle or help wildlife in their school grounds. There are also exhibits from lots of organisations and also workshops that the children can take part in to learn more.

We had our stand set up in the main hall as usual and this year Steve ran workshops on dolphin rescue. During the workshops the children learned about dolphins and that sometimes they become stranded on the shore. The children learned about the first aid they could give a dolphin to keep it alive until the marine rescue team could arrive.
A stranded dolphin can easily die from heat exhaustion (gthey get to hot when not in water) from gravity - the dolphins own body weight when not supported by water can crush its organs such as its lungs and heart and other problems the children had top learn about before they could plan their rescue.

In the workshops the scenario was that a dolphin had become stranded on the beach entangled in plastic. 
The children, in two groups, had to use what they had learned to plan their rescue and then undertake their rescue.

All the children in the workshops did really well and it they found a dolphin in real life they should be able to keep it alive. After the rescue we did a debrief of their rescues to find out from the children how well they think their rescue we and discussed the problems of plastic pollution in the ocean

They also handled some whale bones, this is a vertebra from a dead stranded  killer whale backbone
While Steve was doing the workshops, Abby helped me and Bella on the display stand.

It was a great day and the children were very excited and interested to hear about the ocean and also about conservation. Thanks for the help Abby.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Adur World Oceans Day Event

Yesterday I took Abby along with me and Bella to our annual World Oceans Day Event.
 The display also explained why my beach at Shoreham is so special and was made a nature reserve because of the rare vegetated shingle plants.
We set up our stand as usual that told people about the oceans and why they are important, such as how the create our climate and weather, provide freshwater, food, oxygen and much more.
I also included some information about when I visited Abby in South Africa so everyone would know who she was.
Abby also helped me to explain about ocean acidification and how more than normal amounts of carbon dioxide from the air are entering the oceans and changing the water chemistry. This is making it harder for corals and shellfish to build those beautiful tough shells.
An experiment of the stand using vinegar and a sea shell shows the science behind ocean acidification.

Abby was a great help but I said she could go and look around the other displays to what other people are doing.
She checked out the stand by Friends of Shoreham Beach N
ature Reserve that had a display about the plants, wildlife but also the beach litter.

She checked out an aquarium tank...
 ...and also a lobster
She even met claws from the Sussex Wildlife Trust Stand

Abby then had a chat with Bell and helped on her part of the stand. As you know Bella is exploring why freshwater is the most valuable substance on the planet - which of course also comes from teh ocean.
Bella helps out at the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve where there is lots of fresh water and pond life. Bella is exploring freshwater in nature and how people use water and how in the UK people often waste water because it is so plentiful. But in some parts of the world its very scarce.

Bella will soon be traveling to the Amazon Rainforest with Amazon Rainforest Workshops to learn about this amazing place, the wildlife and how even here not everyone has clean drinking water.

The day went really quickly as there  was so much to do and so many people to talk to.

It wa sonly after the evnt that I got the chance to have a chat properly with Abby and find out what she had been doing since I visited her.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Abby the Aquarist visits Ed the Bear

You may remember in 2012 I visited Abby the Aquarist and Heidi in South Africa. We had a great time and Abby showed me around the Two Oceans aquarium, a sea bird sanctuary and saw lots of penguins and many otehr things. The first day can be seen at the following link - but check out all the otehr days imwas with Abby as well.

Abby has been on some great adventures of her own and you can see what she has been up to on her own weblog

I am sure we will have a great time.

Bye, Ed and Abby

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