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