Sea Change Ocean Literacy event to be held at the Nisa Marathon in the Czech Republic

Sea Change third party iQLandia is organising a Sea Change event as part of the 17th Nisa Marathon, an annual canoe race on the river Nisa in Liberec, the Czech Republic on 3 June 2017. The event’s tradition and past success will bring a large number of participants and visitors.

A communication stand will be set up near the finishing line and they will be demonstrating experiments to show to the connection between humans and nature. iQLandia will engage participants and the audience, focusing on the connection of inner water ways and the ocean by pointing out interlinked aspects of hydrology. iQLandia will also highlight the importance of having a healthy ocean even for inland countries by communicating the ways in which the oceans support the quality of human life.

iQLandia will also organise a pop-up exhibition displaying the level of change that has occurred over the last several decades and how has the river landscape transformed. During the day, a raft crew of Sea Change team will a cleaning the banks of the river and materials collected will be used to create a “work of art”.

Sea Change will be also present at the final ceremony where winners of the canoe race will be announced. Sport enthusiasts and water sports will feed their ideas into the event planning and take an active part in promoting environmentally responsible behavior during a preparatory workshop.

The activities will not be shut down until the last crew in the marathon reach the finish line. iQLANDIA staff will even participate in the race so hopefully we don’t have to camp overnight waiting for them.

Youth Camp Teaches Teenagers of the Importance of Ocean Health

DIY toothpaste workshop16Sea Change third party AHHAA held a youth camp for teenagers from Estonia, Germany and Argentina in Tartu, Estonia from 22 - 24 March 2017.

The course brought together 15 young people and instructors who stayed in the middle of one of the largest South Estonian wetlands for two and a half days to learn about the importance of water and the health of the ocean. Fun and engaging workshops included making DIY Sea Change toothpaste to avoid microplastics, dissecting fish to learn more about the creatures that inhabit the ocean, making wallets from juice cartons to encourage recycling and learning about oil spill clean-up.

IMG 0967Helin Haga from AHHAA who organised the event said: “Since talking about environmental protection in formal lecture-type settings can be difficult for teenagers to relate, we decided to hold a science camp where we take the youngsters out of town to a wetland where they could experience the effect of human activities on water first-hand.”

The teenagers also had the opportunity to learn rescue skills in icy water from the Estonian Maritime Rescue Organisation. All the lessons given over the course of the camp were framed with information generated by the Sea Change project and children were encouraged to check the project website for more information and materials and to take action to protect the ocean after the event. The participants’ feedback indicated that the youngsters plan on sharing the knowledge gained with the friends and family and will start paying more attention to how their daily consuming habits influence the ocean.

For more information on the Sea Change project, follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SeaChange_EU) and like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SeaChangeProjectEU).

 DIY toothpaste workshop14  DIY toothpaste workshop13
 oil spill workshop4  IMG 0938

Exciting Ocean Outreach Activities Revealed in the Sea Change Project’s Third Newsletter

Press Release: March 2017

The third issue of the Sea Change project newsletter showcases a range of innovative activities taking place across Europe to boost European citizens’ “Ocean Literacy”, an understanding of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean. The newsletter is now available to download from the project’s website: http://seachangeproject.eu/images/SEACHANGE/Media_Centre/Sea-Change-Project-News-Issue-3.pdf

Sea Change is a three-year EU Horizon 2020-funded project that is establishing a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the ocean by increasing Ocean Literacy throughout society.

The third issue of the Sea Change project newsletter presents the exciting outreach events taking place across Europe to encourage people to become ocean literate. One such event is “Crab Watch”, a citizen science initiative where members of the public are challenged to make an inventory of beach crabs by carrying out standardised protocols. This initiative engages with the public by inviting them to share useful scientific information while also raising awareness of the impact of non-native species. The newsletter also includes articles on the Sea Change online course entitled “From ABC to ABSeas: Ocean Literacy for all”, which offers educators innovative ways to teach Ocean Literacy. The course is available, on the European Multiple MOOC Aggregator (EMMA) in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian and Catalan. To access the course, see:  https://platform.europeanmoocs.eu/course_from_abc_to_abseas_ocean_liter.

Other stories include updates on recent contributions to ocean events, news from Sea Change’s sister Horizon 2020 project ResponSEAble, Ocean Literacy in the news; and key events for your Ocean Literacy calendar. A special feature on Sea Change’s Education and Lifelong Learning initiatives details how the project is empowering educators, students and educational communities to help address Ocean Literacy and advocate behaviour change for ocean health. Readers will also receive tips on how to prevent ocean pollution and are challenged to pledge to make a Sea Change at: http://seachangeproject.eu/takeaction.  

Get the latest news on the Sea Change project by following us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeaChange_EU and liking us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeaChangeProjectEU

Sea Change Newsletter 3 Front Cover

New Marine Science iBook “Harmful Algal Blooms” to be Launched to Boost Ocean Literacy in European Schools

Press Release: March 2017

A marine science iBook entitled “Harmful Algal Blooms” has been developed as part of NUI Galway’s contribution to an EU-funded European research project Sea Change. The project aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean, or “Ocean Literacy”.

The iBook will be launched by Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research on Monday 13 March at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Opportunities to increase awareness of the ocean are limited in the junior cycle science curriculum across Europe. Dr Christine Domegan, lead methodologist for Sea Change, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, explains: “To co-create Ocean Literacy we need collaboration, discussion, participation and engagement across multiple stakeholders in Europe; from policy makers, to educators, and from media to mariners, children and grandparents.”

This iBook is designed to infuse the engaging story of harmful algal blooms into teaching across the sciences. Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae - simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater - grow out of control while producing toxins that can have harmful effects on fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds and people.

During the launch, the author, Dr Robin Raine, from Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, will speak about his experiences at the heart of the book. The audience will also be introduced to the teaching design used within the book, which aims to ensure the content can be taken up by science teachers and students to advance a “Sea Change” in Irish and European Ocean Literacy.

The great response from both teachers and students after piloting the iBook in Irish, Swedish, and Belgian schools is a step forward to introducing Ocean Literacy into more aspects of education. Co-editors Dr Veronica McCauley and Dr Kevin Davison of NUI Galway’s School of Education, believe: “Teachers are becoming more technology-savvy in the classroom and are finding innovative ways to teach the curriculum so that it encourages personal interest in the sciences.”

The importance of the ocean, and therefore Ocean Literacy, cannot be overestimated. The ocean defines and dominates everything about our planet. It is home to most of the life on Earth, regulates our weather and climate, provides much of our oxygen, and helps to feed the human population.

Dr Robin Raine, author and lecturer at NUI Galway, says: “This book will introduce students to important features of our ocean as well as harmful algal blooms. It will act as a resource for teachers to strengthen and promote science through the topic of marine science.”

To confirm your attendance at the launch, please register at: www.eventbrite.ie/e/launch-of-harmful-algal-blooms-ibook-tickets-32407091483.

For further information, contact Dr Veronica McCauley on veronica.mccauley@nuigalway.ie. The iBook is available for download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/harmful-algal-blooms/id1214392876?ls=1&mt=11.

Discover more about past, current and upcoming Sea Change resources and initiatives by following Sea Change on Twitter (@SeaChange_EU) or liking us on Facebook (@SeaChangeProjectEU).

 book cover

Crab Watch!

Crab Watch is a citizen science initiative developed as part of the Sea Change Project. The initiative will explore how citizen science can be used as a tool for increasing Ocean Literacy, as well as collecting valuable scientific data. Crab Watch will generate data to enhance our knowledge of the changing distribution of native and non-native crabs, as well as information to support environmental management.

Anyone finding a crab on the shore for the first time will experience a sense of excitement and wonder (and maybe a bit of trepidation if it is a particularly large one!). The goal of Crab watch is to harness this enthusiasm to encourage participation in this citizen science scheme. Crabs are charismatic, and with a little guidance can be found around Europe in all marine and some freshwater habitats. They have great commercial and cultural significance in many countries, making them a popular subject for art and folklore. They are also impacted by the activities of humans, including warming seas, invasive species and overexploitation, making them an ideal subject to help demonstrate how humans and the Ocean are inextricably linked.

Hemigrapsus sanguineus FrontView
The Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) is spreading rapidly around Europe and may impact native crab populations

Several species of non-native crab, in particular the Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus), brush-clawed crab (Hemigrapsus takanoi), sally light-foot crab (Percnon gibbesi) and Chinese mitten crab (Eriochier sinensis) are present in multiple European countries. There is evidence to suggest that the Asian shore crab (H. sanguineus) in particular is likely to negatively impact populations of the native European shore crab (Carcinus maenas). Participation in the project aims to raise awareness of the impact of non-native species and encourage people to think more about marine biosecurity.

‘Crabbing’ is a popular past-time in the UK and it is hoped that Crab Watch will encourage other European residents to take up this hobby with the added incentive of contributing to science. Free resources will promote crab welfare and environmental good practice among ‘crabbers’ old and new. By providing encouragement to visit the sea and interact with marine creatures in a meaningful way, the scheme will encourage people to think positively about the marine environment and participants will be encouraged to explore and learn about the great diversity of life found in the Ocean.

paper plate crab
‘Crabby’ crafts at a Crab Watch event

The coastlines of Europe range from the negligible tides and sandy shores of the Mediterranean to some of the highest tidal ranges in the world on the rocky Atlantic coasts. To account for this variation, the scheme includes 3 key elements, each designed to maximise engagement and cater for people with different levels of interest and in different geographical areas. Ad-hoc recording of crabs using a specially developed App will form the core of the initiative. More in-depth and structured survey protocols have been developed for use in the intertidal zone and from the shore in areas where intertidal surveys are not possible. These methods include the crab-friendly mark and recapture method using lipstick tagging to avoid unnecessary retention of live animals. These activities will form the basis for Crab Watch events and provide a ‘next step’ for anyone engaging with the App and wanting to get more involved. By establishing a scheme to record and report crab distribution and an associated team of Crab Watchers around Europe, it is hoped that new arrivals will be quickly detected, allowing for appropriate management action.

Data collected through the app will be georeferenced and participants will be able to use their records alongside those of others to create their own maps. It will also incorporate a key, which is being developed in collaboration with a group of interested teenagers in the UK. Data collected will be checked and validated before being passed to relevant marine and wildlife data hubs (e.g. EUROBIS) where they will be freely accessible to all.

Crab Watch surveys have been taking place around Europe to test protocols and draft resources as well as to collect feedback from different audiences. The scheme will be more widely launched for resource and system testing in March 2017 with a full launch in June. The team is even exploring the idea of establishing International Crab Day to promote this wonderful group of animals!

If you are interested in getting involved with Crab Watch, in particular promoting the project or running your own Crab Watch survey events, contact Jack Sewell (jase@mba.ac.uk).

Rockpool
A Crab Watch survey underway on an Estuary in the south west of England in 2016