Saturday, 27 August 2016

Exhibiting at Adur RiverFest 2016

I took a display to River fest on 27th August. FoSB’s Julia Fowles assisted on the stand in the morning. River Fest took place on Coronation Green on the edge of the river Adur giving a perfect location for the event.
Shoreham beach is connected to the River Adur in many ways; in fact it was formed by the sea, coastal processes, and the river. The have both been tied together by maritime history and there are also many natural connections between Shoreham beach, the sea, river estuary and the river.
So, where better to raise awareness and celebrate this than River Fest.

The display stand was tailored especially for this event and explained various topics. ‘Why Shoreham Beach is Special’ – focusing on the role of the nature reserve and the rare vegetated shingle habitat.
Ed the Bear One Ocean Project provided a global dimension to the local topics.Why the Ocean is important’ focused on the benefits we all receive from the ocean (freshwater, 50% of our oxygen, 15% of our food and much more included how the ocean creates and moderates our climate and weather.

This linked well to another display panel ‘Global Problems – Local Consequences’ which focused on rising sea temperature and how melting ice and expanding oceans (thermal expansion -as water heats up) linked to the local consequence of local sea defence work and the current river defence development.
This panel also focused on plastic pollution – including micro plastics which are ingested by marine life including plankton. 
This also included our display about plastic pollution and a micro plastic activity.
To help raise awareness of global issues we shared my adventures Ed the Bear visiting scientists around the world and sharing their knowledge with schools and also the public.
A panel explained how Shoreham Beach had been formed over centuries by longshore drift and the river Adur using maps starting at 13th Century to modern time.
This panel also explained about Shoreham’s important maritime heritage including the ship building and trade and the reason I entered into the spirit of the event, pirate theme, by dressing as a pirate.
A final panel illustrated some of the birds that visit the Adur estuary and beach and also examples of the many sightings of seals and dolphins that Steve has recorded over the years – off Shoreham beach and in the river Adur, as Sussex Regional Coordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation which he has run as a volunteer since 1993.

I spoke to many local people  during the day and as hoped, this allowed us to connect with a different section of the local community than we usually engine with  at our nature themed walks and talks.
The event was buzzing all day with a very wide range of ages. It was a great day with lots of interest about Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve, the river, the river defences, global conservation, plastic pollution and much more. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Why is Shoreham Beach So Special? 20th August

Another event I organised and ran as part of the 10 year celebration of the Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve, supported by Heritage lottery Awards for All funding.


This event took place at the Church of the Good Shepherd Hall on Shoreham Beach and on the adjacent Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve with help from FoSB’s Chris Bohea.
Sadly the previous spell of hot weather broke and we had heavy rain early on in the morning and then 50 mph winds blowing along the beach. This almost certainly impacted in the number of people who turned up for this event.

However we did get a few families come along to the event and a couple of individuals and despite these conditions they were very enthusiastic.

Partly for safety reasons and partly to include as much of the original planned content, I adapted the event to accommodate the bad weather but still keep as much of the original content.

Instead of one presentation and the remainder taking pace on the beach, I ran part of the Why is Shoreham Beach Special presentation (focusing on the nature reserve, vegetated shingle habitat, wildlife and how Shoreham beach was formed and shaped by the river and coastal processes – which continue today. Plus activity about plastic pollution and micro-plastics. People then eat lunch in the hall instead of on the beach. 

After this we all went over to the beach for about 20 minutes (participant’s safety uppermost) and looked at the shingle plants and sea birds.

We collected pebbles and strandline objects and brought them back to the hall to consider what we could learn from observing them.

After a while I ran a seashore strandline quiz – including lots of pictures of the animals that the objects they had found actually came from such as cuttlefish and their eggs, dogfish and egg development sequence, rays, whelk eggs, etc.

The event finished with local and global links using Ed the Bear based at Shoreham Beach to consider how Shoreham beach is connected to the global ocean, how we benefit from the ocean (moderates our climate and weather, provides 50% of our oxygen etc) and how global issues (such as climate change and sea level rise might impact Shoreham beach and the nature reserve. Lots of images made the session very visual and also had an intriguing quiz element.

Despite the weather and the need to run more of the event inside – everyone seemed to have an enjoyable day. This event was funded by the Awards for All Heritage Lottery helping us to celebrate Shoreham Beach’s 10 years Anniversary as a Local Nature Reserve.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Annual Rock Pool Event at Shoreham

Another very successful annual rock pooling day at Shoreham. Visitors were very enthusiastic and full of questions. Due to the fact that many people were still queuing up after the start time I divided the briefing session into two groups.  

I asked at the beginning of the briefing and about ¼ to ⅓ had taken part before the rest were new to the event. At least half of the people were local, (difficult to be exact as they were in two separate groups). However one family had come from Surrey and another from London (and had travelled down that day. Some local visitors had brought along family who were staying with them at the time.

 During the event lots of people called me over to see what they had caught or to identify something that was attached to a rock or in a pool – which was quite constant.

I also spoke to people around the aquarium tanks at the top of the beach where we had housed a few of the animals collected by visitors.  
I also encouraged people to go up and look at the tanks (e.g. if they showed me an anemone in a pool that was closed I would talk to them about anemones and then encouraged them to see the open anemones in the tanks, etc).

This seemed to be a good balance because people are particularly interested in knowing about the things they have found themselves.

During the event a large net was discovered and was slowly being uncovered by the tide. There were many crabs tangled in the net which visitors and event staff helped to rescue.

There were also fish and other animals trapped in the net which probably attracted the crabs in the first place.  T
The live animals were rescued and the net cut into pieces and removed from the beach.

While nothing very unusual was found this time, except a large flounder, we did find many shore crabs, beadlet anemones, shrimps, prawns, common blenny, a juvenile solonette, sea slater, chiton and much more. We also observed many sea birds including tern and cormorant and we also got a quick glimpse of the kingfish as it flashed past the beach.