Author Archives: oceanlifeeducation

Rock Pools Rock!

A treasure trove of marine delights hides in plain sight along our coastline.

Rock pools are tiny but complex ecosystems, where only the hardiest of inhabitants survive the onslaught that nature throws at them.

Pounded by waves, whipped by the wind and exposed to the sun, the creatures who lie within have learnt to adapt to their constantly changing world.

At high tide they are connected to the greater ocean environment, but when the water level drops, they are isolated, and vulnerable to predators and the elements.

Water temperatures can vary by as much as 20 degrees in the shallowest of pools from the intensity of the midday sun at low tide, to the flushing of cooling currents when the shoreline floods again.

Making the most of available shelter is the key to survival in the inter tidal zone. Sea urchins wedge themselves into cramped crevices, sea stars and sea cucumbers cling to the underside of rocks, making them often invisible at a casual glance.

Spotting the life inside these pools takes patience and care. Small fish will dart to the edges when noise, vibrations or shadows alert them to potential predators but stay quiet and still for long enough and they pop back out.

A carefully concealed creature can give away its hidey-hole by one misplaced limb that can take minutes of constant gazing to spy.

And while it may be tempting to delve a little deeper into the darker patches, beware the dangers that lurk within.

Blue ringed octopus are only little but their venom packs a punch – one bite from these highly venomous cephalopods can kill a human in minutes. A hands off approach with rock pools is the safest option.

But if visiting the coast is not a practical option, Ocean Life Education can bring the rock pool to you in a safe yet interactive incursion designed to showcase the animals that live around our beaches.

Sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins can all be carefully handled during our visits to schools, early learning centres and special events, as we explain the important role our oceans play in keeping our planet healthy.

We offer a wide range of programs that align with the Australian curriculum and cover topics such as adaptations, habitats and human impact.

Let Ocean Life Education inspire your students to become interested in coastal environments and as they look, listen and touch their way to a greater understanding of the marine world, they will start to see why rock pools rock.

School’s in for Marine Life Lovers

Education Innovator Sir Ken Robinson recently noted: “A great teacher obviously knows their material, but the real skill is engaging them in the material, getting them excited and curious, and firing up their imaginations.”

And that’s where we come in!

Ocean Life Education delivers fun marine education incursions, where students are given the opportunity to interact with a variety of live marine creatures.

Our programs are all closely aligned with the Australian National Curriculum, delivering lessons across a broad range of topics including animal habitats, adaptations and classification.

Through carefully controlled contact, children learn why animals’ look and feel the way they do, how their bodies function, what their individual roles are in their environment and therefore why we need to look after them.

Responding to interactive learning

We understand all children are different and absorb information in different ways.

As passionate educators ourselves, the staff at Ocean Life Education value the importance of connecting students with their subject and showing them that science is a living, breathing part of their world.

Children respond extremely well to having real animals at their fingertips – this one-on-one experience provides a greater depth of understanding which leads to the desire to protect them.

Choose a program that suits current unit themes

What better way to understand Life Cycles, than to see one of our baby sharks at close quarters and observe the eggs they hatched from and note the often significant differences from their adult version?

We will tailor our programs to your classrooms’ current unit theme for all levels of school learning.

Leaders in environmental education

Ocean Life Education is proud to be involved in educating tomorrow’s leaders in environmental awareness and protection.

Our hope is to imprint in every Australian a sense of ownership and protectiveness of our marine environment, and together we will lead the world in the changes necessary for a healthy planet.

What to expect:

  • Linked to the Australian National Curriculum
  • Qualified and experienced Marine Educators
  • Live Marine Animal Interaction Blue linckia seastars, thorny seastars, black sea cucumber, tropical sea cucumber, sea urchins, fresh water turtle and baby bamboo shark 
  • Shark jaws, shells and fascinating artefacts in activity area
  • FREE colourful bookmark to take home!
  • FREE risk assessment
  • FREE coming to visit poster
  • FREE thorough supporting information, videos and blogs

What teachers think:

“ONE OF THE BEST INCURSIONS I HAVE EVER SEEN – KEEN, INTERESTING PRESENTERS WHO ARE TRULY PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR SUBJECT!” Jasmine Molineux, Patricks Road State School, (Year 2) 2018

For more information, visit our School Programs page or Contact Us to request a program outline for your year level.

 

The Cost of Christmas

“Tis the season for excitement and excess… and while our waist lines and bank balances may bear the brunt of our festive good cheer, the oceans suffer too.

Every year Australians spend more than $16 billion celebrating Christmas (which is almost $1,000 per adult!) – half of that goes on gifts.

The vast majority of presents come shrouded in plastic –  the enemy of all things marine.

In Britain alone, 125,000 tonnes of packaging is purchased at Christmas – multiply that by all the other countries who have also bought into the December consumer frenzy and that’s a whole lot of waste that needs to be dealt with.

When it comes to gifts, ideally we should embrace the idea of experiences over physical items – a ticket to a Marine Biologist for a Day Program run by Ocean Life Education will be remembered long after the holidays have passed!

Likewise, donating to your favourite charity – be it humanitarian or conservation will help improve the balance on this planet.

But if products need to be bought, how the packaging is disposed of becomes paramount – artificial floating debris gets ingested by curious marine life making it the scourge of the sea.

Most plastics and cardboard can be recycled – but not the polystyrene foam often used to protect electronic presents.

The paper the gift comes wrapped in also takes a massive toll on nature – it’s estimated 50,000 trees are harvested every year in Australia just to produce the colourful embellishment that is ripped and discarded within seconds of reaching its recipients.

Paper is a preferable choice to foil but a better option is to use homemade wrapping created from recycled material or reusable presentation boxes.

Batteries too have become a major headache for the environment – 8,000 tonnes of them are thrown away in Australia every year.  Switching to rechargeable options has a third less impact on the planet.

Ocean Life Education has a range of programs that help to inform people of all ages about ways to be more mindful of our footprint on earth – our mobile aquarium can come to you for all sorts of occasions, giving the gift of interacting with our beautiful marine animals.

Being conservation minded in the festive season is not about sucking the joy out of Christmas – it’s about finding a way to celebrate that doesn’t cost the earth it’s future.

Ocean to Outback – Sights, Sounds and Smells of the Sea Go Bush

Considering they’re very basic creatures, sea stars have some pretty amazing abilities (like regrowing their own leg if they lose one!) but they don’t normally travel hundreds of kilometres inland… until now.

With a little assistance from Ocean Life Education, our Blue Linckia’s, along with the rest of our marine life menagerie, have temporarily migrated away from the coast to help students who rarely get to see the sea understand more about the challenges these animals face.

In a road trip lasting 3 days and covering close to 500 kilometres, Ocean Life Education is making sure children in Blackbutt, Nanango and Kingaroy don’t miss out on the chance to touch and learn about our wonderful animal ambassadors.

The Ocean to Outback initiative is supported by the State Government through its Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grant.

Why go to such extreme lengths to facilitate these encounters?  Oceans cover almost three quarters of our planet and produce more than half of the oxygen on earth while absorbing harmful carbon dioxide.

Ocean currents also move such a large body water between the equator and poles, they help to regulate the global climate which impacts all of us – even those that live well beyond the shoreline.  Keeping the oceans healthy is in everyone’s best interest.

But travelling with a crew of sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, hermit crabs and a shark is not without its challenges as water quality and oxygen levels are vital to their survival, especially in the hostile bush environment.

One thousand litres of salt water have been transported along with the animals to ensure they are stress free on their little adventure.

But all the planning, all the logistics have been worth it just to see the excitement on the faces of a whole new batch of ocean lovers, who may rarely hear the waves crash or smell the salt in the air but know the importance of caring about the underwater world – even this far from the coast.