Sea Change to Launch Marine Coding Challenge for Young People

Press Release: 23 February 2016

Coder Dojo enthusiasts are invited to submit games as part of the European project “Sea Change” which aims to create a deeper understanding amongst European citizens of how their health depends on the health of our ocean.

An exciting challenge for members of Coder Dojos in Galway City and County, aged between 7 and 18 years will be launched on Saturday 27 February at 1pm in the Kirwan Lecture Theatre, Arts Science Building at NUI Galway, Ireland.

The CoderDojo ‘Future Ocean’ Challenge is being organised as part of the European project “Sea Change” which aims to establish a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea.

Entrants from individuals or teams with up to a maximum of four members are invited to submit games on the theme of Ocean Literacy, creating a deeper understanding of how our health depends on the health of our seas and ocean. The submissions will be reviewed by a panel of experts and judged on ‘best concept’ and ‘ease of use’.

Teams and individuals who enter the competition will be able to call on the services of a ‘game designer’ as a mentor and sounding board to help them develop their games. The winning project will be included in an eBook about cold-water corals that will be presented as a teaching resource to secondary schools, and the winners will also receive a cash prize of €500. The best junior project will receive €300.

Dr Veronica McCauley from the School of Education at NUI Galway and organizer of the event said: “Coding is now an optional subject on the Junior Cycle Curriculum and junior coding languages such as ‘Scratch’ offer tremendous opportunities for children to be creative while learning the basics of coding. The challenge here is to use the fun and popularity of designing and playing technology games while enjoying digital stories to raise awareness of marine issues, and to ensure healthy oceans and seas in the future, for ourselves, for the animals that live in them, and ultimately for the planet.”

At the event launch, Dr Anthony Grehan from Earth and Ocean Sciences at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway, will provide ideas for project development and give a talk about why we need to protect cold-water coral reefs. Dr Grehan will be joined by Dr Amy Lusher who recently completed her PhD at GMIT, who will provide an update about her work on the hunt for micro-plastics in the oceans, and Gavin Duffy, Director of Galway based RealSIM Ltd., who will talk about the company’s work on the Titanic Belfast Ocean Exploration project, and current work on the East Coast and Cork Harbour, which aims to apply innovative 3D technologies to marine environmental exploration.

For registration and competition details visit the project website: http://seachangeproject.eu/futureocean/

Registration for the competition closes on Saturday 9 April and is open to Coder Dojos in Galway City and County and to give an international dimension, Lund in Sweden.

For further information, contact Dr Veronica McCauley, School of Education at NUI Galway on veronica.mccauley@nuigalway.ie or anthony.grehan@nuigalway.ie

For press queries, please contact the project Communications Officer: Tanja Calis, AquaTT (email: tanja@aquatt.ie Tel: +353 1 644 9008)

Think Big, Think Ocean Video Contest Now Open

Press Release: January 2016

Have you got a creative, innovative idea for how to increase people’s awareness and appreciation of the ocean? If so, you should enter the Sea Change project’s Think Big, Think Ocean video contest

Sea Change is an EU funded project which aims to bring about a fundamental change in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea, by developing “Ocean Literacy” (an understanding of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean) in Europe to foster responsible behaviour towards the seas and ocean and their resources.

To increase Ocean Literacy in Europe, the Sea Change project is looking for innovative concepts for events, campaigns or any other activities that could help to increase people’s awareness and appreciation of the ocean. To enter, simply make a video to illustrate your creative, innovative idea and submit it online at www.seachangeproject.eu/thinkocean. Your idea will be in with a chance of becoming a reality and you could also win one of seven unique experiences, including ‘behind the scenes’ days at aquaria and science centres across Europe, or an exciting chance to experience a day in the life of a marine scientist. The closing date for entries is 20 March 2016. The winning entries will be chosen based on public vote as well as the innovation, feasibility and potential impact of the idea.

Dr Jan Seys, head of communication at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and lead organiser of the competition, said: “In order to make a leap forward in terms of increasing the public’s ocean awareness, we need input from citizens, young and old. Only with their innovative ideas on how to shape the world in a more ocean friendly way, we will be able to bridge the gap between what people know and appreciate about the ocean and what experts think they should know and feel responsible for.”

Inspiration for ideas can be found everywhere. The ocean and seas play an important role in our everyday life. Every second breath you take connects you with the ocean because half of the world’s oxygen comes from the sea. The sea connects people, goods and ideas around the world. It is a place for relaxation, recreation and employment. The ocean also regulates our climate by transferring heat across the globe. It is a source of freshwater, food and medicine. The Sea Change project will release one short video every week for the next five weeks through social media to provide further inspiration.

For more information on the Think Big, Think Ocean video contest, see #ThinkOcean, follow the project on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SeaChange_EU), like the project on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SeaChangeProjectEU/) or see: www.seachangeproject.eu/thinkocean.

For more information on the Sea Change project, visit: www.seachangeproject.eu.

For queries related to the Think Big, Think Ocean contest, please contact:

Mieke Sterken (miekes@vliz.be) or Jan Seys (jan.seys@vliz.be)

Are You Ocean Literate? – New Resources Launched to Raise Awareness

Press Release: September 2016

Did you know that the ocean provides half of the oxygen we breathe - enough for every second breath we take? Or that the majority of marine litter is indestructible plastic which lasts virtually forever? Many European citizens are not aware of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean. In other words, many of us lack a sense of “Ocean Literacy”.

If you want to increase your Ocean Literacy, the newly launched Sea Change website (www.seachangeproject.eu) is a good place to start. Sea Change is an EU Horizon 2020-funded project which aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the intrinsic links between ocean and human health, and to empower us, as Ocean Literate citizens, to take direct and sustainable action towards a healthy ocean and seas, healthy communities and ultimately a healthy planet.

The Sea Change partnership are already hard at work designing Ocean Literacy related activities and materials focused on education, community, and governance actors, and directly targeted at citizens.
The project website will be the central information hub for the project and is the place to go to stay informed about and get involved in Sea Change activities that will be taking place across Europe, including public consultations, competitions, citizen science projects, talks, training opportunities and much more. The website will also act as a repository for key outputs, materials, tools and resources that will be developed during the project.

The first of these outputs is a short video introducing the concept of Ocean Literacy and outlining the medical, economic, social, and environmental importance of the sea to Europe and indeed to the rest of the world. The video highlights the importance of protecting the ocean by making choices that are more “ocean-friendly”. An accompanying booklet has also been produced and will also shortly be available on the Sea Change website. You can watch the “Sea Change: Increasing Ocean Literacy” video and subscribe to the Sea Change Vimeo channel at www.vimeo.com/seachangeproject.

“I am really pleased and excited to announce the launch of the Sea Change website and our first video on Ocean Literacy,” said Jon Parr, Sea Change Coordinator, “The website will grow over the lifetime of the project and we hope that the planned collection of free, publicly available Sea Change materials will be of tremendous value to educators, Ocean Literacy advocates and anyone interested in learning about and communicating the links between the ocean and human health.”

If you want to learn more about what you can do to protect the health of our seas and ocean, have any questions about Ocean Literacy, or want to find out how to get involved in Sea Change’s activities, you can get in touch by following Sea Change on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeaChange_EU and liking the project on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeaChangeProjectEU

If you would like to know more about the Sea Change project or would like to receive regular updates on its progress, please contact its Communication Officer, Tanja Calis (email: tanja@aquatt.ie or tel: +353 1 6449008). The Sea Change project factsheet is available to download here: http://seachangeproject.eu/images/SEACHANGE/Media_Centre/SEACHANGE_Factsheet_web.pdf

Whale Sculpture Highlights Threat of Plastic Pollution to the Ocean

Whale Sculpture Highlights Threat of Plastic Pollution to the Ocean

Whale night

A sculpture of two life-size whales, made from Somerset willow and 70,000 old plastic bottles, has been unveiled in Bristol. The artwork, named The Bristol Whales, has been installed in Millennium Square to mark the city's status as European Green Capital.  It represents the threat of plastic pollution in the world's oceans, particularly plastic bags and food and drink packaging, organisers said. It will be on show until 1 September.

The six-tonne sculpture depicts a blue whale and a humpback whale swimming through an ocean of "upcycled" bottles, collected from the Bath Half Marathon and Bristol 10k race. A Green Capital spokesman said the sculpture was "encouraging people to act now to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics and help protect our oceans for future generations". He said Britons spent over £1.5bn on bottled water every year and sent 15 million bottles to landfill every day, and globally eight million tonnes of plastic ended up in oceans each year - equivalent to the body weight of 45,000 blue whales.

Sue Lipscombe, from Cod Steaks, which designed and built the artwork, said: "Whales are intelligent, beautiful, charismatic animals - they've become symbols of the world's oceans. "They have a physical strength but they also represent resilience, the potential for recovery, provided we - as custodians of the oceans - take the right steps to protect them. "We're confident that this sculpture will fuel discussion and debate about plastics in the ocean." Bristol became the first UK city to be named European Green Capital when it took over from Copenhagen at the start of the year.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-33548708 

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Is it Possible to be Science Literate Without Being Ocean Literate?

The Ocean Literacy Campaign is changing the way educators and the public think about ocean sciences education: teaching ocean sciences is not just enrichment, but is essential to science literacy. Read about how the Ocean Literacy Campaign is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way educators and the public think about Ocean Sciences Education.

While marine educators have always known that many important science concepts can be taught through ocean examples, and that the ocean provides an engaging context for teaching general science, a more compelling credo now guides that work: “Teach for Ocean Literacy.” Many ocean sciences concepts are more than engaging examples of general science; they have intrinsic, essential importance. Therefore, one cannot be considered “science literate” without being “ocean literate.” Two of the earliest and most infl uential documents in the science reform movement, Science for All Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy [2,3], state "the science-literate person is familiar with the natural world and recognizes both its diversity and unity." Research consistently affi rms the ocean's vital role in maintaining the unity of our world. Without its vast ocean, Earth could be inhospitably cold like Mars or a stifl ing greenhouse like Venus. On the other hand, the interconnectedness of the ocean and the atmosphere has had negative impacts. Ocean waters absorb airborne industrial chemicals which are carried thousands of miles from their source to the Arctic region. These pollutants are found in the bodies of top predators such as polar bears, which absorb the chemicals through their diet of fi sh and seals. Whether we live on the coast or inland, eat seafood or not, humans are inextricably tied to the ocean. Thus the scientifi cally literate citizens we grow in our schools must become familiar with ocean issues that may or may not be happening "in their own backyards."

For more information, see: http://www.coseeca.net/files/coseeca/CanYouBeScienceLiterate.pdf

Source: http://www.coseeca.net/resources/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowResourceDetails&ResourceID=99

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