Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Fred's Journey

I should also mention that Fred is also on a journey here in the UK. He has spent some time here in South Devon visiting various schools, Living Coast, going on boat trips and running marine litter workshops. He has inspired much change locally here in South Devon. One example, he has been working with Blackawton Primary School who are working on reducing their plastic consumption and making a plastic recycled sculpture...more to follow. But now he is off on new travels. He is with the Marine Conservation Society to help them with their "Adopt a Beach" campaign and then will hopefully be heading North to Scotland to help spread the word!

Fred and Maya go to Hawaii!

Well Easter came with some wonderful news for Learn To Sea and the project manager Maya Plass. In June of this year, Maya will be taking Fred back to his homeland of Hawaii and Midway Atoll. In December, I applied to go on the marine education leadership program in Hawaii and Miday atoll. It all came about thanks to the magic that is Fred the Monkey & his creator Ron Hirschi. He had visited Midway on the same program last year and suggested that I apply for a place. I feel very honoured to be the first international representative of the program.

It is an amazing opportunity. Here, I will see first hand the impact of marine litter on our marine wildlife and particularly the albatross nesting here. I will also get the chance to see the incredible marine wildife in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument - corals, spinner dolphins, green turtles, tiger sharks and great variety of nesting birds including the beautiful Fairy Tern. One of the most interesting aspects of the trip will be the people I will share my journey with. They are all (12 individuals) involved in marine eduaction or conservation and have some amazing and inspirational experience to learn from. I know that this trip will be an incredible journey in so many ways. Learn to Sea will benefit hugely from such a wonderful opportunity. It will allow an international perspective on our seas and oceans and offer an opportunity to learn from a culture that is so closely linked with the marine world.

On return, I will be starting a program of school twinning with a local primary school Blackawton with one in Hawaii and then Learn To Sea hopes to work on this with other schools in the future too.

So exciting times ahead for Learn To Sea. Before all of this takes place in June - more locally, on Thursday nex week. Learn To Sea will start it's program with the children of Aveton Gifford of taking them on a very special journey "The Avon from source to sea!" . I will blog details of this 5 week program as it happens!

Salcombe Sea Safari

Learn To Sea has had a great new aquatic adventure! Now, Maya has teamed up with Anna Turns from Whitestrand Boat Hire to run Salcombe Sea Safaris. Salcombe estuary is a very unique and special place - so much so that it's classed with the conservation designation - a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has a whopping 6 m tidal range and boasts some incredible marine wildlife. It has seagrass beds, corals - yes corals!, dolphin visitors, 4 of the 14 found Bristish intertidal fan mussels, mackerel and scallops all residing in it's safe and salty waters! (It has no river input but is a sunken valley - it's this sheltered salty area which makes it such a great home to so much wildlife.)

We had a great day out with some visiting families and were even able to show them some plankton from a special net which we had dragged behind a boat. The "soup" which we found was amazing - teeming with widlife which is shown in the image with the small pot. It had mini jellyfish (in image above), lobster looking creatures, fish eggs, phytoplankton - responsible for producing more than half of our atmospheric oxygen. I was even able to bring the plankton home and put it under the digital microscope and take some pictures - not great ones. But it does give you an idea of what's all around you when you take a dip!
Fred the Monkey & his albatross friend even made an appearance to talk about marine conservation & the effect of litter in our salty world. It's sad to think that there are places in the world where there is more plastic than plankton!

It was a brilliant day out, or "best day ever" as young Jake said. We hope to run more through the Summer holidays too!