Thursday, 30 July 2015

An invite from Ed Wade-Martins and Moving Sounds

Hi all

After meeting Ed Wade-Martins from Moving Sounds, who was also running workshops at the EYE Summit, Ed has invited me to come along as a member of the crew of the sailing vessel Moondancer.

Ed (the human) will be sailing along the English Channel and then off into the Atlantic Ocean early in September. I have visited sites on the East Coast of the USA but many of my travels so far have been in the \Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic is much nearer to where I live.

I have meet a lot of people called Ed on my travels include Ed Williams who designed and built my diving bell. But I will be travelling without my diving bell this time.

This will be a great opportunity for me to experience more of the ocean and the natural processes that create wind, waves currents and more. I hope to encounter some amazing wildlife and meet interesting people. I will also be documenting any evidence of human damage to the ocean that I see on our journey.

I am very excited, but a little nervous too as the Atlantic Ocean is a big place for a small bear. The Pacific Ocean might be the deepest ocean but the Atlantic Ocean is known for being the wildest in regard to weather and sea conditions.

This will be my longest trip at sea as I usually only take short trips, apart from my visit to Antarctica but that was on a big ship.

Come back and visit by blog to see how my journey unfolds as I share my adventure and the rest of the crew.

You can find out more about Moving Sounds at

Bye for now.

Ed the Bear

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Ed the Bear at the EYE Eco Summit

We participated again this year in the E.Y.E Project (Eco Young and Engaged) Eco Summit which this year was hosted by Shoreham Academy.  

The E.Y.E. Project brings local schools together to focus on the importance of caring for our planet and to provide an additional opportunity for the young people within those schools to learn about environmental matters through fun and educational activities available at Eco-Summit events. 

The EYE project is made up of local schools from Shoreham, Lancing and Worthing.

I have enjoyed participating in the eco-summit on numerous occasions and this year I was asked to be the Key Note speaker

I started the keynote by talking about Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve, why it’s important and the role of the management group and the Friends of Shoreham Beach in caring for the reserve and engaging the public. 

I also discussed the education opportunities that we offer from rare vegetated shingle, to tide pooling, coastal geography, global dimension and much more.

I then spoke about the adventures of Ed the Bear and how Ed the Bear’s travels have created links with scientists around the world and to share their knowledge about the oceans.

This includes the possible impact of climate change on Shoreham Beach as well as other issues.

I also ran three workshops during the day based around Ed the Bears travels to scientists around the world to learn about ocean science and conservation. 

The first two focused on topics touched on in the keynote such as how oceans moderate our climate and weather; provide 50% of our oxygen, freshwater, food, new medicines and more. This included a fun quiz to explore the many thinks that oceans and rainforest provide and how we rely on both of these biomes every day.. 

This was followed by an activity where the children took on the role of albatross to explore the dangers of plastic pollution to marine life. 

The third workshop was for secondary school pupils and explored the same issues but in a more scientific context.

We also took a display stand which I manned during lunch and breaks and gave out the LNR leaflets and educational flyer. The day was a great success.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Ed the Bear shares Ocean Science at UK Stem Science Event

Hi all

We have returned again this year to the Big Bang South East Stem Science Event in Sussex, UK. It is great to see how stem science is really growing in Sussex. The first event we took part in 3 years ago had an attendance of about 2500 pupils and teachers.

This year event was attended by 7000 pupils and teachers. Booking for the event was suspended over a month before the event as 7000 is the maximum number allowed for the event.
Last year the event moved to a much bigger venue, the South of England Show Grounds and we were at the same venue again this year.

We brought an updated display showing Ed the Bears travels to scientists and other organisations around the world to learn about ocean science and human impact on the oceans.

We also brought some simple science demonstrations to help explain some ocean science issues.
One of the key ways that the oceans affect us every day is that they moderate our climate and weather. 
This is due to the Great Ocean Conveyor which transports ocean water heated at the equator across the ocean. On the way it looses heat and moisture to the atmosphere thus influencing our daily weather and the Earth's climate.

When the ocean water reaches the polar regions it cools, some of the freshwater becomes ice making the remaining water more salty (dense) so it sinks. More water moves to replace it and this powers the whole system. Its real name is the thermolhaline, thermo = temperature, haline = salinity.
We demonstrated how this works using cold and very salty water which we dyed red to show that it sinks straight down. This waster flows along the sea bed and will eventually return to the surface at the equator which completes the cycle.

We also exhibited an explanation of thermal expansion. As the oceans have warmed been warmed by climate change they have expanded. They now take up more space and so they have risen up the coast. Over half of  sea level rise has been caused by thermal expansion, much of the rest by melting ice caps.

We also included our demonstration of ocean acidification. The oceans absorb 25% of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere. This is now changing the water chemistry of the ocean threatening creatures that build their shells and bodies from calcium carbonate.
In our demonstration we put a sea shell in vinegar which slowly dissolves during the day. Creatures in the ocean are not dissolving, but they are struggling to access the calcium carbonate to build their shells and we are seeing thinner shells and even deformed shells that can make it easier for a predator to break through to eat the occupant.

Plastic debris was the other demonstration, a simple game that illustrates the problem that marine creatures have catching food without swallowing plastic. 
We even find plastic in the bodies of plankton. Tiny pieces of plastic can also absorb other pollutants increasing the risk to the oceans wildlife.

Ed the Bear wears a necklace made from a scientists ring band. the scientists placed it on the leg of an albatross chick which sadly died from swallowing plastic. Ed uses the necklace to share his experiences of the plight of these majestic birds.

People are often surprised how we could ever change the temerature of the oceans, pollute them or change their water chemistry. The graphic below helps put the size of the oceans into perspective
 The blue sphere to the right of planet earth represents all the water in all the oceans, from the surface to the ocean depths. The even smaller sphere to the right of this one represents all the freshwater on the earth!

We also included Bella Bears project about freshwater and freshwater habitats and included her trip last year to the Amazon with Rainforest Workshops

A completely separate project, but still focusing on Freshwater and freshwater habitats is Railway Land Live (a nature reserve on what was once railway land).  This focused on a Heritage Lottery Funded Project Raiwlaylandlive! which includes two underwater webcams and two surface webcams and much more.

The site also includes information on how schools can take part next year. We also included information about a special one day Biosphere Festival on the site on the 5th July. 
It was an amazing day and a great opportunity to share ocean science to a wide range of schools. We also had a chance to raise awareness of the marine education programme we run based at the Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve

Bye for now