Category Archives: Holiday Program

Cobb and Co Museum an ‘Under the Sea’ Adventure

Ocean Life Education’s marine animals were welcomed with open arms for some educational summer holiday fun last month at Cobb & Co Museum. Local families of the Toowoomba area met our beautiful marine ambassadors and gained a deeper knowledge about ocean conservation and the part we play in it.

The chosen theme of ‘Under the Sea’ did not disappoint, as locals arrived of all ages to touch and interact with our exciting live marine life. While the little ones marvelled at our soft sea cucumbers, the parents enjoyed the facts presented by our Director of Education, Richard Coward.

Although our baby bamboo sharks don’t let you get too close, they held their own with some interesting personal facts as part of their show appearance. They were given the name ‘Bamboo Sharks’ permanently for an impermanent feature, as they lose their ‘bamboo’ styled stripes when they grow, not needing the camouflage as much in maturity. Their powerful little jaws have an incredible strength even at such a young age – a tender ‘nibble’ of your finger would leave a mark if you did try and have a pat. So, we keep them safe from little fingers in case they get a little hungry before their lunch break…

Ocean Life Education programs are both educational and interactive, and one of our exciting artefacts that we brought to link the information and animals with our program was our tiger shark jaws – this was a hit with not just the kids, but the adults too! The real showstoppers are our patient and lovable animals. Everyone enjoyed touching our blue linkea sea stars, spikey sea urchins and black sea cucumbers. They even got to see a real shark egg up close and personal.

Did you know that our ocean covers 70% of our planet, supporting 228,450 known species in the ocean with as many as 2 million more yet to be properly discovered? Humans are one of those species that the ocean and its marine plants plays a fundamental role in the lives of – just one being its production of over 70% of the world’s oxygen!

You can tell we are passionate about what we do, and it was a pleasure to visit Cobb & Co Museum with our beloved marine life. We view it as a privilege to raise awareness for their needs in the wild and highlight important environmental issues with all ages. Have a look at our Facebook page for some pictures from the Cobb & Co experience.

If you would welcome an Ocean Life Education visit for your event, school or centre, please click the link below or send us an email; we would love to discuss an opportunity to bring our animals to you!

 

An Ocean Friendly Christmas

Ok, so you’ve reduced, reused, recycled this year; said “no” to plastic straws; diligently dragged cloth shopping bags to the checkout for your groceries, and generally tried to be an environmentally sensitive global citizen…

But with the Christmas season upon us, do all our good intentions disappear under a feast of festive food and generosity of gift giving?  Is it possible to still revel in this time of goodwill and excess while still caring for our impact on the planet?

The answer is a resounding “yes” – with a little forward thought and planning.

Websites such as www.4ocean.com lead the way in thoughtful presents that benefit the world around us.  Every product purchased funds the removal of half a kilogram of rubbish from our oceans.  Many of their items are made from recycled plastic or glass bottles and can be returned to them to be re-purposed into other gifts down the track.

www.oceanandcompany.com donate money from every sale to support research and awareness campaigns centred around ocean pollution.

For the more practically minded person on your shopping list, www.floraandfauna.com.au  has many great household items that will still be used long after Christmas becomes a distant memory.

The fashion conscious might enjoy something from www.biome.com.au that has ethically produced choices in its clothing line – along with 100% recycled gift wrap – which will help save the estimated 50,000 trees cut down every year to decorate our presents.

Experiences are of course a wonderful gift that don’t need to cost the earth – and they may even help save it.  Ocean Life Education runs Marine Biologist for a Day Programs which help inspire children to care for our oceans and the creatures that live in it.  They’re fun, educational and might just set them on a career path that helps the planet.  Find out more details at

https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/marine-biologist-for-a-day/

For many of us, the festive season will involve time at the beach, enjoying our coveted coastline.  But when the celebrations are over, and the focus turns to the New Year, what resolutions will you make to help preserve the part of the planet we value so much?

The donation of a little time and energy can help make a world of difference to our waterways. There are a number of community groups that run clean-up campaigns dedicated to removing rubbish from our foreshores.  Check out organisations such as www.seashepherd.org.au www.surfrider.org.au or www.cleanup.org.au

It’s all about finding balance – enjoying the things we love while ensuring our good times don’t devastate the watery world around us.  Have a wonderful ocean friendly summer from the team at Ocean Life Education.

The Stars of our Programs

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that make the most impact.  Take sea stars for example –  these unassuming members of the marine world are more than just pretty decorations on the reef.

These topsy turvy creatures with their mouth underneath and their bottom up top, play a major role in keeping our oceans healthy.

Sea stars are the underwater clean-up crew.  They eat their way through debris discarded by other animals feeding frenzies, as well as targeting organisms that need to be kept in check.  The services they provide in the marine eco system has earnt them the title of keystone species.

And they’re not afraid to take on a big challenge.  These close relatives of sea urchins and sand dollars can consume creatures much larger than their small mouths would suggest, thanks to a stomach-turning technique they’ve perfected.

They can expel one of their two bellies outside their body to wrap around prey – this external digestion is a slow process, taking them up to 10 hours to finish their meal.

But this is only one of the tricks up their five more sleeves….. sea stars can regenerate entire bodies from just one severed limb.  This is because most of their vital organs are in the arms, including eye spots, which help them to sense light from dark as they move about in the ocean.

Not bad for an animal that has neither a heart nor a brain.  Instead, these echinoderms have a basic water vascular system which allows them to pump the surrounding sea through their bodies.  Even their tiny, suction-cupped feet, which they use to move about, are fed from the filtered water they draw in.

There are close to 2,000 species of sea stars in our oceans using these clever adaptations.  These sloths of the sea will never win any medals for speed but many can live up to 35 years – a rarity amongst marine animals of this size, which speaks volumes about their ability to beat the odds.

While, some are protected by a spikey, calcified skin, most just rely on their bright colours to deceive predators into believing they’re toxic to touch.

Ocean Life Education has long been a fan of sea stars – they are an integral part of our team of animal ambassadors that accompany us to all our presentations.

If you would like to gently touch and learn more about these amazing sea creatures and many others like them, contact us at Ocean Life Education on info@oceanlifeeducation.com.au Discover for yourself why this most unassuming of marine animals truly has star qualities.

Shoreline Show Stoppers

Every winter, anyone along the East Coast of Australia gets a front row seat for one of nature’s most spectacular shows.

The stars are humpback whales – massive marine mammals that like to steal the limelight.  These traveller performers drop by on their 25,000 kilometre round trip between Antarctica and their breeding grounds in the tropics.

These acrobatic animals are definite crowd pleasers – playing to an appreciative audience….

Just the sight of a spout is enough to cause a commotion…and little wonder.  After holding their breath for twenty minutes, humpbacks can exhale several metres into the air…..

But it’s really just the warm up – the opening act can be pectoral fin slaps…. When their five metre long appendages slam onto the ocean surface – a wakeup call for anyone close by.

Tail slaps are another great way to grab attention. One is never enough.  It’s an opportunity to show off their personal fluke pattern – the best way to identify a humpback….

If they sense they’re losing their audience, the whales can opt for a spy hop – raising their head out of the water to assess the world around them….

But the absolute shop stopper is the full body breach – when up to 30 tonnes of mammal is launched into the air and slams back down.  The impact is phenomenal – seen and heard from kilometres away.

There’s lots of different theories as to why whales perform this manoeuvre – some feel it’s a way to communicate with other humpbacks close by; others believe it’s like a giant stretch after a long rest – a signal they’re about to get active again.

Either way its unforgettable – and can only be topped if there’s an understudy in tow.  Young calves accompany their mothers on the trip back south, eager to try out their performance skills as well.

At just five metres long, they’re only a fraction of their Mum’s size but still capable of making their presence felt.  Drinking 400 litres of milk a day, these youngsters grow quickly and by this time next year will be ready to go solo.

In a final bow to the crowd, the whales lift their tails and disappear from stage – diving deep and leaving the audience wanting more, with no indication where and when their next performance will be.

Even if you miss the show, you can learn more about these magnificent animals in one of Ocean Life Education’s Marine Mammal presentations.  Click here for more details.