Saturday 2 February 2019

Ed the Bear's Travels Come Full Circle

One of the major missions for Ed the Bear was to find out how climate change might affect his special beach and the rare plants at Shoreham. Warming seas causing thermal expansion and melting polar ice both lead to sea level rises. At high tide, this means there is a higher volume of sea water in the harbour and river estuary. With increased rainfall flowing down to the sea, this adds even more water increasing the river height which can then flood the surrounding area.

As mentioned in earlier posts, in September 2016 construction of an extensive river flood defence started on the river Adur called the Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls Scheme. This was in response to this increase in flood events at Shoreham and the surrounding area including a flood caused by a tidal surge and heavy rain in 2013. This was completed in March 2018 and will help protect at least 2,300 properties. 

Flooding from the river is a major worry, this scheme cost £45 million, so this shows how important the flood protection scheme is.

The pebble beach at Shoreham may still be in danger. Climate change is warming the ocean which may cause more powerful storms and in the future this may threaten the pebble beach home to the rare plants. 

So Ed the Bear's work continues. Ed is now sharing what he has learned during his travels, the amazing people and wildlife he has seen and also a warning of the conservation threats he has witnessed first hand.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Big Bang Stem Science Event at Ardingly Show grounds

We are back again for our 6th year to share ocean science at this amazing event. This event has grown rapidly over the last few years from 2000 attending teachers and children to now almost 10,000.

We exhibited our updated stand for 2018 this year including more updates about the offshore wind farm and the river flood defence at Shoreham on the River Adur.

Back in 2009 when Ed the Bear first started visiting scientists around the world - sea level rise and the treat to the rare habitat at Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve were high priority.
Since then it has come full circle and a flood defence wall is now necessary to prevent flooding.

We also included other main topics; plastic pollution was a major feature with two activities illustrating this. We also exhibited examples of plastic around the world from Ed the Bears on-going adventure. We also focused on climate change and also ocean acidification.
To bring the marine world alive we exhibited our popular tide pool display where live rock pool invertebrates were shown on a tv screen through a live link with tank cam

We also chatted to many interested children who also shared their views about ocean conservation issues and also discussed possible ocean science careers.

It was a fantastic event as even with lots of positive questions and feedback from very excited children.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Ed the Bear meets CARE4BASKETS

While we were running our workshops at the EYE Project Education Summit we met Jib Hagen who also had a stand.
Jib is the Global Development Director and founder of care4baskets. CARE stands for Collect And Recycle Ecologically. They collect plastic waste from communities, schools and churches in Ghana.
The plastic waste is woven into these beautiful baskets. Traditionally these baskets are made from straw but in northern parts of Ghana these grasses have become scarce due to climate change. 

The baskets are woven to the same excellent quality of the original baskets.

To find out more about this amazing and important programme, please follow the link to their website

Ed the Bear returned to the EYE Eco Summit

We returned again to the EYE Project (Eco Young Engaged) to run workshops. This is the project's 11th year and growing.

This year we set up our artificial beach to create a seashore strandline. Children could explore the natural objects washed up on the beach and explore the clues that these objects provide us about life around our coast.

What does a cuttlefish look like? how does a dogfish grow inside its egg capsule, how do predatory dogfish eat mussels and much more was explored through a visual PowerPoint strandline quiz.

The children could also examine the man-made rubbish that washes up on the beach?
Choosing an item they had to consider what the object was, how it might have found its way to the beach and how it might be dangerous to marine wildlife.

We also took along our exhibition stand including Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve, as well as the story of Ed the Bears travels, some of the fabulous places he has visited, amazing wildlife he has encountered but also some of the damage caused by humans.

It was an amazing day and we meet some great children full of enthusiasm and great questions and of course, dedication to help the environment.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Exploring our local coast with school

A week of working with schools visiting the nature reserve.

We have changed location this year due to the river flood defence which is still going on at our usual rock pool beach.
This is part of river flood defence that should protect Shoreham for the next 100 years.

So instead we collected a few sea creatures each morning from another local beach (but suitable for school visits) and set them up on tables for the children to have a close up view and learn about during our presentation and Q&A

 We found some fascinating rock pool life including goby fish and this camouflaged blenny

We also found this live oyster attached to a rock. The juvenile oyster settles on a rock and glues itself on and the shell grows out like a shelf.

There were also lots of juvenile shore crabs.
Their colour matches their surroundings when they are young, but when fully grow have their adult colours, green on top and orange underneath.
Afterwards, the children explored the shingle beach, learning about the rare vegetated shingle habitat, the seashore strandline and also learned about plastic pollution during a litter pick.

Well done to all the schools we worked with this week, you did some amazing work.

All best, Ed the Bear.

Wednesday 13 June 2018

World Ocean Day Message 3

Back in September 2009 I started my global travel to find out more about how Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve was connected to the global ocean.

As you know Shoreham Beach has a rare habitat called vegetated shingle, which grown just above the high tide line.
We were concerned about how global threats such as climate change and global warming might damage the shingle beach.

To understand how this might happen we decided we needed to understand more about the global ocean and that's were my journey began.

I visited many scientists and experts to learn about the ocean, including NOAA who built me my amazing underwater dive bubble.
I learned how Shoreham Beach was threatened by sea level rise which could flood the rare plant habitat or create bigger storms that could wash the beach away.

I also discovered that sea level can cause flooding from rivers too.
The environment agency are currently building a new flood defence wall along the river which should protect the town, the airport and surrounding land for the next 100 years.

I have also encountered amazing wildlife on my travels to, from penguins in Antarctica to coral reefs of Florida and great white sharks off the coast of South Africa

Follow my amazing adventures on this blog. You can also find out more about the One Ocean Project and how we can help the ocean at

Monday 11 June 2018

World Ocean Day Message part 2

As mentioned in my last post, oceans are awesome, teaming with amazing biodiversity and providing us with important stuff like oxygen to breathe, water to drink.

But sadly, the ocean system is struggling against human damage and on my travels I have sadly encountered this in many places from Sussex to Antarctica.

The planet is getting warmer which includes the oceans too. Warmer oceans are causing the polar ice to melt causing sea level rise.
However the oceans are getting rising because the oceans are getting warmer, because water expands when it is heated, and takes up more space in the ocean basins.

Warmer oceans are changing where some marine animals live. This is disrupting food chains and some animals are starving.
Sea birds that usually catch sand eels near to sure are having to fly further to catch food for their chicks and many are now not able to catch enough food to feed them.

Warmer seas, pollution ocean acidity are just some of the threats to coral reefs which are dying

Warmer seas mean more tropical storms. More moisture in the air will power stronger more powerful storms that can upset global weather patterns.

Sea level rise and stronger storms means more coastal erosion.

On my travels to the Hawaiian Islands I meet some dedicated people and learned a very important Hawaiian word Kuleana. This means Responsibility, but responsibility at a cultural level.
The bad news is, we are all responsible as we contribute to the damage to the oceans through modern living. The good news is, that we are all responsible, which means we can also do something about it by making small changes to how we live.

Find out more in the final post coming soon