Wednesday, 23 March 2011

An introduction to Ed the Bear's local Beach

Ed the Bear lives near the coast and his local beach is the Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve. It is a special beach because of a rare habitat called vegetated shingle. This habitat is rare in the UK and also globally. Japan and New Zealand are the only other countries vegetated shingle habitat is found in.

The vegetated shingle on Ed's beach at Shoreham is made up of over 90 different plants

The plants are also special because they can survive on the beach growing in the pebbles. These plants grow even though there is very little soil or freshwater. The plants can survive the strong winds, the drying affect of hot sun and wind and they also have a protection against the salty sea spray.

The plants attract lots of animals. Not from the sea, but from the land.

There are lots of insects that visit the plants on the beach. Some, such as bees and butterflies are attracted by the flowers which they visit for nectar and in return pollinate the flowers. 
There are also many birds that visit the plants. Some feed on the insects while others feed on some of the shingle plant's seeds. There are also lots of lizards scuttling about amongst the plants where they can find food and shelter.

As you can see it really is a special beach

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Why is Ed's local beach at Shoreham in Danger

The Friends of Shoreham Beach do a lot of work to help look after Shoreham Beach and to show people how special the vegetated shingle habitat is. They raise awareness about the damage people do to the plants without realising. For example, people throw garden rubbish on to the beach.
As these grass cuttings and other garden debris decomposes it makes soil. This means other plants and weeds from the gardens grow on the beach and can take up space that the shingle plants need. All of these pink flowers are red valerian which is spreading across the beach.

Some people treading on the plants or pick the seeds. Sometimes people light bonfires on the beach. All of these things can be very damaging to the shingle plants.

Litter can also be a problem and the Friends of Shoreham Beach organise beach litter clean up activities, Ed the Bear has helped with this too.

The Friends of Shoreham Beach have done some great work to help protect the beach. However Ed the Bear discovers that his beach may be threatened by global conservation problems such sea level rise and big damaging storms caused by climate change. Ed wants to know more about these problems and how they might affect Shoreham Beach, so he decides to travel around the world to investigate these conservation problems himself. This is the start of a great adventure where Ed discovers what people are doing to help the oceans and also encountering amazing marine animals. You can follow his ongoing adventures on his weblog at

Ed the Bear has travelled to many places, met dedicated people, encountered fascinating wildlife and also found out more about how the oceans work. Ed has also investigated global conservation issues and discovered different parts of the answer in different places he has visited.

The following weblog entries will look at some of the conservation main issues Ed has investigated and what he has found out.

Monday, 21 March 2011

An overview of Ed the Bears experiences of Marine litter and other debris.

If you want to focus on Ed the Bears experiences of marine litter/debris the following overview will make it easier to navigate 'The Adventures of Ed the Bear weblog' with links that will take you to various locations.

Shoreham Beach UK
Ed the bear’s first experience of marine litter is on his own beach at Shoreham. All sorts of debris is washed up on the beach, but some of the rubbish is left behind by people visiting the beach.

Marrowstone Island USA
Ed started began to travel overseas in October 2009. He finds out more about the damage to marine wildlife and the environment at his first destination, Marrowstone Island where he travels to visit Ron Hirshi and Fred the Happy faced Monkey.

Fred declares plastic free Fridays.

Kauai Hawiian Island USA
Ed travels with Ron and Fred to Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands. Ed helps Fred and Ron with a special project called Serious Sand.

                                                          (c) Claire Fackler
Fred tells Ed about the terrible plight of his friends the Laysan Albatross. The adult albatross pick up food items from the surface of the sea to feed their chicks but they also collect plastic litter without realising. Many of the albatross chicks die.

The items that are found most to have killed albatross chicks are items such as plastic bottle caps, plastic toys and disposable lighters.

Fred gifts Ed a lei (necklace) made from a bird leg band. Scientists have been tagging the albatross chicks to study them. Fred said the leg band came from an albatross chick, which the scientists named X360, which died from swallowing plastic. Fred asks Ed to wear the necklace to remember the albatross and to share their story with others.

Ed the Bear also helps with some beach cleans.

Spokane USA 
Next Ed travels inland where he is looked after by Methea Sapp at Spokane Community College. Ed discovers how marine debris can be washed into rivers and flows down to the ocean. He also learns that chemicals and other pollutants can get washed down to the sea as well.

Shoreham UK 
Ed takes a detour to return to Shoreham at Christmas to remind everyone recycle all the extra food and drink packaging and Christmas wrappings.

California USA 
Ed continues his travels and arrives in California. He is now at the seaward end of a river and witnesses debris washed down during stormy weather.

Florida USA 
In the Florida Keys Ed notices marine litter floating in the ocean while diving in his underwater dive bubble.

He also learns how to fish responsibly by disposing of fishing line in special tubes provided on the pier.

Ed also learns about marine litter from a dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key

Ed the Bear is a guest at the National Black Scuba Divers Youth Summit. This included youths from the Tennessee Aquatic Project who have been learning about the oceans and conservation by following the adventures of Ed the Bear.

While he was at the youth summit Ed the Bear helped with a beach litter clean at the Bahia Honda National Park, Florida