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

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