Water is a beautiful thing. It covers most of the surface of our planet, its chemical properties are what makes life on earth possible and we can only survive for around three days without it. It is special stuff, but we take it for granted. For many clean water is a luxury unavailable to them. Clean water is also an issue in the marine environment, where pollutants can have a detrimental impact on creatures at all levels of the food web, including humans.
As part of the love your water festival with South West Water (SWW) we celebrated clean water with a free range of activities. The marine centre was transformed, with stalls from SWW who were showing people the water cycle and giving away fat catching kits to help stop oils and fats being poured down the sink into the sea. Those who entered the centre were taken on an underwater journey by our favourite talking fish- Benny the Blenny, whilst and limpet mobiles were in various stages of construction as part of the centres marine crafts! Outside the marine centre poetry was in motion, with marine acrostics and literary ventures from Alan and Menza Ramage.
Down near the beach the National Trust were toasting marsh mellows, the Marine Biological Association (MBA) were painting sea creatures onto people and getting people to make their very own rockpool creatures out of Plasticine, whilst the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) were highlighting the dreadful impacts of litter on marine life. The Devon Wildlife Trust team were also out in force, helping with all the activities and meeting and greeting members of the public.
The weather wasn’t great, with lots of rain (very appropriate for a water festival) despite this, people came to the centre and took part in the activities which kicked off with one of our Rockpool rambles. People of all ages got stuck in exploring the rocky shore, learning about the sea creatures and looking amongst the rocks for signs of life. The usual suspects were found with numerous species of crabs, shannies, dogwhelks and even a cowrie being spotted. Listeners also heard the harrowing tale of the dogwhelk and the limpet. One unusual sighting was a group of lesser sand eel that had been trapped in one of the rockpools by the tide.
One of the great things about this ramble and many of our rambles is mixing of people from different ages, backgrounds and knowledge levels; all learning and sharing knowledge, whilst searching the shore together.
After lunch was the beach clean, lead by the MCS who organise beach cleans all around the UK combating marine litter head on and highlighting the impact of litter on marine life. Armed with bin bags, gloves, pencils and clip boards, everyone set off in search of offensive items. Scouring the seashore for bits of rubbish. Plastic was the main offender, with packaging such as sweet rappers, bottle tops and polystyrene being a few of the main literary menaces.
The MBA then lead a strandline walk, around the coast looking for gems such as mermaids purses, pink sea fans and whelk eggs! The weather worsened whilst the strandline walk was underway, but not before we learned to becoming seashore foragers sampling rock samphire.
Thank you to everyone who came along and to all the organisations and people http://www.dailycialisuse.com/ that made the day happen. Not even the weather could prevent the day from being a success!