education

You Won’t Egret It

You Won’t Egret It

We’re meeting a wonderful shore bird today. These bright white beauties are hard to miss and one of our favorites.

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GREAT EGRET FUN FACTS:

  • These wading birds are found on coasts, lakes and rivers. Like their cousins the heron, they can be found in fresh, brackish and salt water.
  • Great egrets are carnivores. They use their big pointy beaks to grab fish, crustaceans and amphibians.
  • During mating season, egrets grow extra plums on their backs to attract mates.
  • These majestic birds have a wingspan of up to 57 inches. They are large, but slow fliers.
  • Almost hunted to extinction for their feathers, the birds have made a strong comeback due to protection efforts.
  • They are also the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

We love these birds as much as we love the Great Blue Heron. Luckily they are easy to spot with their bright white feathers.

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, rivers, science, Today's Post, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello Heron!

Hello Heron!

We are excited to meet some shore birds this week! There may be no better activity then to sit on the beach and watch the birds, especially the ones who run with the waves. Today we’re meeting a bird you’ll see in fresh, salt and brackish waters.

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MEET THE GREAT BLUE HERON:

  • Great blue herons call marshes, lakes, rivers and coast lines home.
  • These majestic birds are always fun to spot with their long necks and long legs.
  • They can stand 4 ft tall and have a 6 ft wing span.
  • They actually only weigh around 6 lbs! It sure helps to have hollow bones.
  • You can find herons hunting day or night. They have excellent night vision.
  • These carnivores wade in the water and wait for fish to grab, amphibians and crustaceans. They are surprisingly fast.
  • Their neck vertebrae are specially shaped to allow them to strike fast.

 

We love these amazing gorgeous birds. We never tire of seeing them whether on an hike or at the near by lake or here at Camp E&E by the Sea.

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This is Urchin!

This is Urchin!

Hehehe! We love a good pun! Ok, well maybe learning about our last echinoderm the sea urchin, isn’t so urgent, but it is cool!

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SEA FUN FACTS:

  • Like their other echinoderm relatives, sea urchins are divided in to equal parts- being 5.
  • They have 5 rows of tube feet with suckers on the end that they use to move and then attach to rocks or the ocean floor.
  • All urchins have spines, but not all of them are venomous.
  • These omnivores eat plankton and algae. In turn they are prey for other animals including otters and sun stars.
  • The sea urchin’s mouth is on the bottom of their body and their bum is on the top.
  • Urchin is an old word for hedgehog. Named after the spiny mammal, you could technically call them sea hedgehogs!
  • Sand dollars are actually a type of urchin!
  • Sea urchins also have tiny claws in between their spines. They use these to help protect them and to hold shells and other objects to help them camouflage.

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Sea urchins are really cool for an animal that looks just like a colorful pin cushion! These amazing creatures can live up to 30 years and the Red Sea urchin is known to live up to 200 years. Crazy!!!

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Stars of the Sea

Stars of the Sea

We have met sea stars before, but we wanted to learn more about these amazing echinoderms at camp today!

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SEA STAR FUN FACTS: 

  • There are around 2,000 species of sea stars.
  • Some species live up to 35 years.
  • They have no brains or blood. They use water throughout their vascular system. The water also helps them move their tube feet.
  • Sea stars do have simple eyes that see light and dark.
  • Sea stars have little plates of calcium carbonate to help protect them
  • These carnivores push their stomachs outside their mouths and digest their food before pulling the stomach back in the body.
  • Each arm of the sea star has around 15,000 tube feet. These feet secret a glue like substance to help them attach to rocks.
  • Some sea stars- like the sun star, can have up to 50 arms and weigh 11 lbs.
  • Like their relatives the brittle stars, they can regenerate arms.

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We love sea stars! They come in all sizes and colors- like pink, purple and blue! Do you have a favorite color sea star?

Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, oceans, science, sea stars, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Eat that Cucumber

Don’t Eat that Cucumber

Who’s excited to meet today’s echinoderm? It’s a pretty crazy looking one! Let’s meet the sea cucumber!

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SEA CUCUMBER FUN FACTS:

  • Sea cucumbers have tentacles around their mouths. They use those to grab small waste materials or tiny animals in the oceans.
  •  Sea cucumbers can discharge a sticky substance to ward off predators. They can also expel their internal organs to deter a predator. Don’t worry They regenerate those.
  • They have no faces or eyes.
  • Sea cucumbers take in water through their bum to extract oxygen using respiratory trees.
  • They also poop calcium carbonate, a building material for coral.
  • These not too exciting animals are important for breaking down too much organic material in the ocean floor. They are often called nature’s vacuum cleaners.

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While they don’t look like much and really they aren’t much more that a tubular eating & pooping machine, they are one of the oceans’ under appreciated animals.

 

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Brittle Star

Brittle Star

Welcome back campers! We hope everyone had a great holiday off! We’re back at Camp E&E by the Sea to meet some of our echinoderm friends. Today we are meeting Brittany the brittle star.

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BRITTLE STAR FUN FACTS: 

  • These echinoderms are related to sea stars, but are not sea stars.
  • They are carnivores, that eat plankton and small crustaceans.
  • Brittle stars are found in the oceans all around the world from tide pools to the deep oceans.
  • There are 2,000 species of brittle stars in the ocean.
  • Brittle stars have a central disk that contains their mouth, which has 5 jaws.
  • Brittle stars have small spines on their arms.
  • Like their relatives, the sea stars- they can lose a limb and regenerate it.
  • They use their spiny arms and not tube feet to move.

 

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We love brittle stars. They are so cool looking! Maybe we should make some out of clay? Anyone up for that?

Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Spy What Cephalopod

We Spy What Cephalopod

We are giving you some clues to see if you can guess the cephalopod we are meeting today!

  • We spy a cephalopod who calls the deep ocean its home.
  • We spy a cephalopod that is rarely seen.
  • We spy a cephalopod with 40 ft arms.
  • We spy a cephalopod who has the longest tentacles of any cephalopod species.
  • We spy a cephalopod who has the largest eyes of any animal in the world.
  • We spy a cephalopod who is well known in stories and literature.

 

Can you guess who we spy?

Scroll down to see the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the Giant Squid!

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Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Weird Cephalopod

One Weird Cephalopod

We are meeting a strange cephalopod today. It’s not an octopus or a squid or a cuttlefish! This animal actually has a hard outer shell. Any guess on who we are meeting?

 

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NAUTILUS FUN FACTS: 

  • There are 6 species of nautilus.
  • Unlike their cephalopod relatives who only live 1-2 years; nautilus live up to 15 years.
  • Nautilus have chambers in their shells. They are born with 4 chambers and grow more as they get older.
  • These chambers also help them with buoyancy. They can allow water in or out to go up and down in the ocean.

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  • Nautiluses use a siphon tube near their eye to expel water to propel themselves in the water.
  • They do not have arms- they have cirri or cirrus (the plural form). They can have up to 90 cirrus.
  • These carnivores use those cirrus to grab prey like crab and fish.
  • They have poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell.

 

How cool are these cephalopods? They look like aliens if you ask us! What’s your favorite thing about these ocean going aliens.

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There’s an Octopus in Your Coconut

There’s an Octopus in Your Coconut

We’re meeting a neat little octopus today during Cephalopod Week! These little invertebrates are called the Coconut Octopus- can you guess why?

 

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COCONUT FUN FACTS: 

  • These octopus are not very big- usually around 6 inches long.
  • They are known to find coconuts and shells and use them to hide in.
  • They are also 1 of 2 species of octopus known to walk (yes- walk on the ocean floor) with 2 arms (bipedal). This happens when the octopus uses their other arms to carry their preferred hiding mechanism.
  • Scientists also consider their use of shells and coconuts tool use. They are using them to protect themselves.
  •  These carnivores eat clams, shrimp and crabs.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We love these amazing animals. Octopus are known for their intelligence and to learn that some of them are tool users is even cooler.

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Know Your Cephalopods

KNOW YOUR CEPHALOPODS

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It’s Cephalopod Week here at Camp E&E and all over! We’ll be learning more about our mollusk friends, don’t worry we’ll get back to our Echinoderm friends soon.

CEPHALOPOD FUN FACTS:  

  • Cephalopods are marine mollusks. This means they are related snails and nudibranchs (distantly).
  • Cephalopods include octopus, cuttlefish, nautilus and squid.
  • All cephalopods have a head with eyes, a mantle that holds their organs and beak like mouth. Cephalopods are invertebrates- meaning they have no bones.
  • Cephalopod limbs are attached to their heads.
  • Octopus have 8 arms – yep they are called arms. Their arms are covered in suckers.
  • Cuttlefish and squid have 8 arms and 2 tentacles.
  • Nautilus have many tentacles and have no suckers. They unlike other cephalopods, have an outer shell.
  • Cephalopods only live a year or two, except nautilus who live around 15 years.
  • Cephalopods can change the color and texture of their skin to camouflage with their environment.
  • Cephalopods have been around for about 500 million years.
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