Tuesday, 24 May 2011

5 year Celebration of the Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve

Hi all

Well, I can't believe that the nature reserve has been proetcting Shoreham Beach for 5 years now. As you know there is a display all about Shoreham Beach, including my adventures, in the Marlipins Museum in Shoreham.
The Friends of Shoreham Beach organised a special 5 year celebration of the Nature Reserve and I was lucky enought to be invited. Everyone who has helped to set up and support the nature reserve was intited, including my buddy Steve. The celebration was held in teh same room that where we had our display set up.

It was a very joyous evening and great for everyone involved to get together for a celebration.

Bye for now, Ed the Bear

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Teaching children about the vegetated shingle on Shoreham Beach

Hi all

While I have been here in the UK I have been helping out on the Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve.
As you know, my local beach is part of the nature reserve. One of my favourite plants, Sea Kale, is now in flower.
This plant is called bitter sweet. This is a small plant, they grow much bigger. This plant is also called woody nightshade, related to deadly night shade.
The berries are poisonous.

Today we worked with a school group who were learning about the nature reserve. They did a transect survey of the shingle plant communities.
This means they measured a straight line from the top of the beach down to the high tide mark. They then divided this straight line into 1 metre squares and recorded the different plants they found.
They used special identification sheets so that they could recognise the different plants.

Later we recorded the different animals that we could see.

I saw this herring gull trying to break open a seashell. It kept flying up into the sky and then dropping the seashell to break it so the gull could eat the animal inside.

We saw birds visiting the plants as well. We also saw lots of lizards that were enjoying the sunshine.

My buddy Steve has been studying the bees that visit the special vegetated shingle plants. The bees pollinate the flowers so they are very important. The children helped to record the bees we saw.
This is a two banded bumble bee on the sea kale flowers.

This is a honey bee on the sea kale

This is a red tailed bumble bee visiting a yellow horned poppy flower.

This red tailed bumble bee is visiting the thrift

There many other insects on the plants
This woolly caterpillar will grow into a beautiful garden tiger moth

We saw these two beetles as well.

There were also many spiders, some in webs others like this zebra spider runs along the ground. It is a type of jumping spider which can also jump from plant to plant.

We saw lots of different animals and of course the most important thing about the vegetated shingle is that it is a rare habitat both in the UK and worldwide. I am really lucky to live near such as special beach.

Bye for now

Ed the Bear

Sunday, 8 May 2011

School children learn about the Adventures of Ed the Bear.

Hi all

Me and my buddy Steve taught some more children about the oceans and the amazing wildlife that lives there. We also spoke about the dangers to ocean habitats and the marine wildlife caused by marine debris and climate change. We explained why I started my travels, the conservation problems I have investigated, the amazing wildlife and people I have encountered along the way and perhaps most important how we can all help reduce our impact on the oceans and the environment.

Before we started I played the short video clip made by Ken Stewart and some of the youths from the Tennessee Aquatic Project. You can watch this on youtube, see link below.


As usual we started off with a quick quiz to find out what the children already knew about the ocean.

The children then did an activity that shows how all the oceans are linked together.
We then discussed the things that prevent marine animals from moving from one ocean to another such as not enough shelter, sea temperature, too far and other suggestions.

While sight is the most important sense for humans, this is not always true for other animals. In the sea it is often murky or gloomy and so for many sea animals sound is most important.
So we did a quiz which included a wide range of different sounds which included whales, seals, seabirds, snapping shrimp and blue striped grunt fish. Other sounds included a boat propeller, an undersea earthquake and the sound of waves on the seashore.
The children had to chose which sound was made by which sound source. Some where easy to work pout while others were a bit more tricky.

The children found out about Shoreham Beach and how my worries about global issues damaging this beach led to my travels.
They also found out a bit about the rare habitat that covers much of this beach called vegetated shingle.

The children learned about many of the animals I encountered on my travels such as these cute sea otters.

They also found out about some of the people I had met during my travels such as the youths at the NABs Youth Summit.

We then discussed marine litter and asked the children to think about what objects make up marine litter and where it comes from.
I also showed the children what I had found our about marine debris and litter during my travels.

This ended with my experiences with Fred the Monkey and what I had learned from him about the terrible plight of the Laysan Albatross who live in the Hawaiian Islands.

The children took part in a special activity that helps to demonstrate the dangers the albatross face. The children were divided into groups of three. Two of the children would play the role of albatross parents one child would play the role of their chick.

We laid down a series of small cards on the floor. Each card had a picture of either food or an item of marine litter. The pictures were face down so they could not see what the cards were.

Then one at a time, the parent albatross (children) collect a card to see what they have taken back to feed their chick.

When they have collected a card they write down on a sheet what item they have collected.

The children carried on until they each had 10 items. The children then added up the amount of food items and the amount of litter items.

This group was lucky, they feed their chick 9 squid and only one piece of plastic litter

This group were lucky. Most of the other groups had 4 or more pieces of plastic, some of them had collected large plastic items such as a tooth brush or a disposable lighter.

The children were also asked if they were surprised at the type of litter items that the albatross parents collected, and of course they were surprised. So was I when Fred told me.

The children also learned about global warming and climate change. As part of this the children learned about ocean acidification. This is caused because because the oceans are absorbing too much carbon dioxide from the air. This is causing the oceans to become acidic which is disastrous to all animals with hard calcium carbonate shells such as crabs, shellfish and corals.

This is already making it difficult for sea creatures to build there shells. Soon we might start to see shells dissolving. To help the child understand this we did an experiment.
Earlier in the day we put a sea shell in a weak acid (vinegar - quite safe as we use it to cock and put on our chips).

We looked at the seashell ever hour and recorded any changes and by the end of the day the seashell had already half dissolved. This is really scary.

We then spoke about how we all have an impact on the oceans (even me and my buddy Steve). But we discussed that we can all help the oceans by reducing the impact that we have on the oceans. The children made a list of all the things they felt they could do to help and then sighed a pledge to me - Ed the Bear.

At the end of the day we gave all the children a special certificate as they had all worked so hard.

Bye for now

Ed the Bear

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Ed the Bear at the Marlipins Museum

Hi all

I have been really busy helping with a temporary display at the Marlipins Museum in Shoreham. This display is all about Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve.
There are lots of pictures and information about the special plants and the wildlife that visits the flowers.

This cabinet has lots of shells and other fascinating objects that are washed up onto the beach at high tide.

Sadly, litter and marine debris gets washed up on our beach as well. This display tells people all about marine litter and how long it takes to breakdown in the environment. Some of it takes a very long time - especially plastic.

There is also a display about my adventures too called from Shoreham Beach to the Pacific Ocean.
Here are some of the animals I have encountered and some of the people I have meet on my travels.
The display also tells people about some of the global problems that affect the oceans and may even be a danger here at Shoreham. The display also shows how people are helping the ocean and how we can all help the ocean too.

Below you can see some of the posters that local school children have made about litter on Shoreham Beach

The Marlipins is a very special museum with displays all about the local history of the town, the beach, the harbour and maritime history too. As you may remember, I am very interested in maritime history. Many ships were built here in the past, some carried goods while others fought in sea battles.

Our exhibition will be here until the end of May.

Bye for now, Ed