Monday, July 21, 2014

Bristol Aquarium

Hi Sea Fans!

The UK is treating me well!  I've been all over the place and done so much, I even went to the Bristol Aquarium where a friend of mine used to work.  Thanks to Daniel, the curator, for showing me around!

Here are some pics from my visit:
Meeting a school group.
 I love meeting new schools and it's even cooler when it's the littlies!  So nice to have met you guys.
Taking a seawater delivery for the aquarium.
 Some aquariums make their own seawater, but this is very expensive, it takes up a lot of space and it means some heavy lifting of salt bags!!  It also takes time to mix it and make sure that the mixture is just right.  The easier option, if you live close enough to the sea, is to suck it up and transport it to the aquarium.  Bristol, Dubai and others get it delivered in a truck, the aquariums in South Africa (and others, of course) have a pipe that goes out into the sea and they pump it in directly.

The workings of an aquarium seem so easy from the outside, but when you look at all the little details that have to be taken care of, you realise why it costs so much to run one!!  We love it though!  :)
Hanging around the turtles in the Amazon tank.
 I always love to hang out with the animals when I go to a new facility, they can tell you so much :)  (No, I'm not a fish whisperer, its just that you get to know how to read them.)
Doing a backwash of the sand filters.
Another big job...sand filters come in all sizes, depending on what size tank you have, but some can be HUGE!  and somebody has to make sure that all the filters stay clean so that they can do their job of cleaning the water properly.  There's usually a technical team that maintains (looks after) the sand filters, but the smaller systems are usually looked after by the aquarists who look after the animals in the tank.   So you see, aquarists need to have many talents and learn lots.   No day is the same as another!  :)

So if you want to know more, why not stop your local aquarists and ask them about their jobs!!

Have a great week Sea Fans!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


Hi Sea Fans!

I'm still in the UK with Ed the Bear, checking out the marine life, freshwater life and the surrounds.  I recently travelled with Ed and Steve to Dungeness. Steve spoke to science teachers at a conference while Ed showed me around.  

Ed told me that his beach at Shoreham is made up of shingle pebbles. 
Photo: Dungeness National Nature Reserve
Wave action, called long shore drift, moves the pebbles from west to east. Dungeness is where all the pebbles that the waves move along the beach eventually end up.

We spent so much time in nature, it was fantastic!  We took a close look at the yellow horned poppy, a coastal plant that also grows at Shoreham.
We spotted sea kale, 
Photo: Dungeness National Nature Reserve
Oyster catchers,
a Great Crested Newt, 
Photo: Dungeness National Nature Reserve
and we even saw a Smew when we went to the bird hide!

Smew.  Photo: Dungeness National Nature Reserve
Cool bird, don't you think?!

It's so nice to see such different animals to what we have at home and to learn more about them.  Thanks Ed for showing me around!

Chat soon Sea Fans!
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dolphin Rescue

Hi Sea Fans! 

Bella and Ed are keeping me really busy!  We just took part in the EYE (Eco Young Engaged - like the South African version called Eco Schools) Project Summit which is a special project that includes all the school in Shoreham and nearby towns Worthing and Lancing.  

This event is a chance for the schools to celebrate what they've achieved, share ideas and learn more through workshops.  Steve ran a dolphin rescue workshop and Ed and I ran a stand to teach kids more about the local marine life.
This workshop dolphin has stranded because of plastic entanglement and now the kids have to figure out what first aid would need to be given to keep the dolphin alive until the rescue team arrive. 
During the workshops the children learned about dolphins and that sometimes they become stranded on the shore. A stranded dolphin can easily die from:
  • heat exhaustion (they get too hot when not in water)
  • gravity - the dolphins own body weight (when not supported by water can crush its organs such as its lungs and heart), and 
  • other problems that the children had to learn about before they could plan their rescue.
We soon found out that the kids would be able to keep a real dolphin alive until the rescue team arrives - no problem!

After the EYE Summit, Ed the Bear showed me the beach where he lives. 
The beach is a nature reserve because of the rare vegetated shingle habitat – special plants that grow in the pebbles. They can survive with little water, no soil and survive the strong winds, hot sun and salty sea spray.

Although Steve and the nature reserve team help to look after the plants and wildlife, they were concerned about how global issues such as climate change, sea level rise, increase in storms and other issues might affect this beach. This is why Ed started his global travels to visit scientists to find out what they know about the ocean and the damage humans are doing to the ocean.

It's so pretty here, it's such a pity that pollution of all sorts keeps landing up in places like this.  Please Sea Fans, pick up litter and use your trash/rubbish/garbage bins!

Have a great week and chat soon.
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ed and Bella 2

Hi Sea Fans!

I'm visiting Ed the bear for a while so we're getting up to all sorts of things!  My last post was all about the World Oceans Day display that I helped Ed with.  I've found a few more pics, so here we are:
I stopped by the Friends of Shoreham Beach display where kids were amazed at seeing a real lobster.  This display was all about rare beach plants and wildlife as well as litter on the beach.
The Sussex Wildlife Trust brought "Claws" the hermit crab with them to teach everyone more about marine life.
We spoke to loads of people and saw so many nice displays that people had put so much time and effort into.  I loved reading what they had to say, especially seeing that my knowledge of UK marine life is not that extensive (I don't know much about it).

What an exciting and busy day!  Thanks to Steve, Ed and Bella (Ed's sister who is teaching people how valuable freshwater is to us and to nature) for taking me with, I had a blast.

Have a great week Sea Fans and I'll chat soon.
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