Environment & Weather

3/4B, 4T and 3SF visited the Penrith University of Western Sydney Observatory and share their experience in a blog post. They also asked questions and I loved the challenge of trying to answer them. To see their post...

Bloggers of the Week: Our Excursion to the Observatory

To see Part 2 of this extended comment post...

Observing Space Part 2

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This is not a real star photo but one I created.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This is not a real star photo but one I created.

When we look out at night, staring into space, we come to realise space is big, very BIG. I have heard it said if we were to count all of the grains of sand on all of the world's beaches there would still be more than that number of stars in our universe. This helps us realise there is so much more to know than we can possibly see.

At the end of last year, I prepared a short video clip about a small community known as Earth. It was for a class looking at ways of making a difference globally. It shows we can start by looking at ourselves and as we expand our view we move out into the universe.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

As there is quite a lot to cover, this comment has been broken into 2 parts, each dealing with 6 questions on the class blog.

Hello 3/4B, 4T and 3SF,

I was fascinated by your post entitled “Bloggers of the week: Our excursion to the Observatory”.  I have very many interests in many subjects but the sciences are particular favourites. While I was a primary school teacher before retiring, I held a degree in science. Seeing your questions, I knew I had to try to give answers to as many as possible.

Let’s start with one you have answered…

1. How do solar eclipses happen?

“Solar eclipses happen when the Moon crosses over the sun and shines a shadow over a part of the earth.” I have prepared a diagram you can use if you wish...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If you look at the diagram, it shows the shadow of the Moon cast on the Earth. In the centre of the shadow there is a very dark area know as the umbra. The umbra is the area of total eclipse. The lighter shadow area is the penumbra or area of partial eclipse. The faint lines I have added help show why we have darker and lighter areas.

WARNING: You all know you should never look directly at the sun. The light entering your eyes can cause blindness if you stare at the sun. Only when there is a total eclipse is it safe to look but only until the sun is about to reappear. You cannot even look at the Bailey's Beads or Diamond Ring effect as this is still direct sunlight.

One of the most amazing parts of viewing a solar eclipse is when the sun starts to reappear. The Moon's surface isn't smooth. There are craters, mountains and valleys. Light first appears through gaps. Light appears in what is known as Bailey's Beads. When only one bead is left we have what is known as the Diamond Ring Effect. Here is another diagram I drew to show what the Diamond Ring Effect can look like.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This not a photo but a created graphic.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This not a photo but a created graphic.

Did you also know there are lunar eclipses?

In a lunar eclipse, the Earth passes between the Moon and our sun. You can find out more with the link.

The video clip below comes from You Tube. It shows the 2012 total solar eclipse filmed in Northern Queensland. Once the eclipse is total, the camera person swaps filters and you can see the total eclipse more clearly. Keep watching and you will see the "diamond ring". Duration: 4:35 minutes

2. Can you bungy jump on the Moon?

I loved this question. There might be some tourism potential there.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I see it’s been suggested you can’t because there is nothing to land on but I think it would be possible. You may have read gravity on the Moon is only about one sixth that of Earth. That would mean someone weighing about 36kg on Earth’s surface would weigh only about 6kg on the Moon. Of course, there is very little atmosphere on the Moon and solar radiation would be a big problem so a space suit would be necessary and that would add weight. Okay, we have gravity and weight to make us fall. What next?

Bungy jumps on Earth are usually over water from a bridge. If the cord breaks, you get wet. On the Moon, the only suspected water would be in craters where direct sunlight doesn’t hit but it would be ice so there is no liquid water. A broken cord would mean hitting the ground. You might be much lighter but it would still hurt but what a thrill to be the first.

Height is not a problem. There are craters, peaks and valleys on the Moon so in the future some enterprising tour company might be able to set up a bungee site. Look at the below photo from NASA released into the public domain…

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_crater_Daedalus.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_crater_Daedalus.jpg

Now here’s a thought in a different direction. When astronauts have gone on “space walks” tethered only to their spaceship by a cord, are they bungy jumping or going space skiing?

While no one has been able to bungy jump on the Moon, back in 1971 Alan Shepard (Apollo 14 astronaut) hit two golf balls on the Moon. Duration: 1:35 minutes

This is not my video clip.

3. What is the biggest gas planet?

Wikipedia reference: Gas Giant

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again I see an answer has been given. I agree. Jupiter is the largest gas planet in the Solar System. Planets larger than around 10 times Earth's mass are said to be giants.

There are four in our Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. To be a gas giant, they have to be mostly gaseous.

Jupiter and Saturn are mostly hydrogen and helium. Each of these are gas giants.

Uranus and Neptune could be called ice giants. They are thought to have a hydrogen atmosphere but icy cores of water, methane and ammonia.

Did you know stars are gas giants? Huge masses of mostly hydrogen is found in newer stars. If a gas giant is big enough, a nuclear reaction known as fusion can start and a star is born. It's estimated a gas giant about 13 times the size of Jupiter might be big enough to start fusion. Imagine if Jupiter had been big enough. Our sky would have our bright sun and a less bright star known as Jupiter.

Jupiter is the biggest gas planet but our sun is the biggest gas object in our Solar System. Astronomers tell us compared to the largest stars in our universe, our sun is really small. There's a lot of gas out there. 🙂

This You Tube video clip shares some information about the four gas giants in our Solar System. Duration: 8:19 minutes

This You Tube clip is not my work.

4a. What is the smallest planet in our Solar System?

Another answer has been given, Pluto. I will give an answer but to do this I will answer a question out of order. Above is 4a and below is 4b.

4b. Why isn't Pluto considered a planet anymore?

Wikipedia reference: Pluto

In my book library, I have some old science books. One set of five was published in 1919 and the other was a book published in 1930. In 1919, science spoke of the eight planets in our Solar System. In order from our sun, they were Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Mercury, closest to the sun, was the smallest planet.

Some astronomers noticed something unusual in the orbit of Neptune. They suspected there was another planet. The 1930 science book mentioned the possibility of a ninth planet. It was in that year the discovery of Pluto was announced. It became the ninth planet and was listed as the smallest.

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pluto_System.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pluto_System.jpg

So why isn't it a planet now?

Pluto is now known a a dwarf planet. It is only one five hundredth Earth's mass. Think of it this way. If Earth's mass was one hundred $1 coins, just one $1 coin would be the mass of five Plutos.

We didn't really know how small Pluto was until the late 1970s. Since then Charon has been discovered as a moon of Pluto, followed by two more moons named Nix and Hydra in 2005. Other large objects almost the size of Pluto had also been found. Astronomers believed there are many large objects (watch the video clip below). They realised it was probably only a matter of time before an object larger than Pluto was found. This happened with the discovery of Eris in 2005. Astronomers decided there had to be a way of saying whether objects were planets. This was done in 2006.

From Wikipedia, here is what a mass needs to be if it is to be called a planet...

  1. is in orbit around the Sun,

  2. is nearly round in shape, and

  3. has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit.

Wikipedia reference: IAU Definitiion of Planets

Pluto passed 1 and 2 but failed 3 and so is now known as a dwarf planet. Mercury is again the smallest planet in our Solar System.

Since then, other dwarf planets have been identified. They are Eris, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake. The closest dwarf planet to Earth is Ceres. Ceres is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. When it was identified as a dwarf planet, it became our closest.

In the video clip below, "Why Pluto is Not a Planet", it's explained why Pluto is now known as a dwarf planet. Duration: 4:54 minutes

This is not my video clip.

5. What is a light year?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A suggested answer was, "A  light year is the speed of light when light travels."

Let's look at this.

Some people make the mistake of thinking of a light year as time or speed. It isn't. A light year is a distance. It is the distance light travels through a vacuum (no air) in an Earth year. The suggested answer wasn't correct because it suggests a light year is a speed.

How far is a light year?

In just one second, light in a vacuum can travel almost 300,000km. Do you think a police officer would be able to catch speeding light?

According to Wikipedia, a light year is a distance of a little under 10 trillion kilometres.

1 light-year = 9,460,730,472,580,800 metres

1 light-year = 9,460,730,472,580.8 kilometres

If your family car was able to travel into space for one light year distance at an average speed of 100kph, it would take you around 95 trillion years. Can you imagine how much the fuel would cost and how many times you would ask your parents when you will arrive? 🙂

Our sun is about 149,600,000 km from us. Your family car would take around one and a half million years to reach it if your car travelled at 100kph but light only takes around 8.3 minutes.

With next closest star to us being about 4.37 light years distant, I think you might start to understand why travelling to planets around another star is way beyond what we can do.

BUT WAIT... I found this video clip on You Tube while looking for other information. A NASA engineer was interviewed this year about the idea of warp space. It's said we can't travel at the speed of light for reasons I won't explain here but the engineer was talking about warping (expand and contract/grow and shrink) space. If this is one day possible, travelling to the next nearest star to our Sun might be possible in weeks or months but this is a long way off if it's possible.

This is not my video clip.

 

 

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To see the 4KM and 4KJ post...

Winter Holidays

SPRING

The grass is green and growing in the warming sunshine.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The blooming flowers bring colour to nature and food for the animals.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

SUMMER

The country show season begins each year.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The surf at the beach when the days are hot.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

AUTUMN

The days grow shorter and the weather cool.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Mornings can be foggy and smoke from wood fires hangs in the still air.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

WINTER

Some trees lose their leaves. The grass and reeds are brown. The days are short and the nights cold and long.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Winter storms bring rough seas.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Which season is my favourite? Whatever season I'm in. There's always more to discover as the seasons change and the years pass.

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To see the posts leading to this one...

Skype with Our Friend Mr. Mannell

Follow up posts for K/1/2/3

Skyping with K/1/2/3 from Canada Part 1

Skyping with K/1/2/3 from Canada Part 2

Skyping with K/1/2/3 from Canada Part 3

After a wonderful Skype experience with K/1/2/3 where we are shared and learned together, they responded to our session and the additional information I shared in follow-up posts for them. My reply to their response looked at my lifelong learning journey where any day can be a learning adventure with something new or changed. I decided to share another experience while they began their summer vacation. On July 4, I spent the afternoon at our local Panboola Wetland Sanctuary. I thought they might like to be the first to share some of the photos taken.

Panboola is only around 8 kilometres from my home. It's popular with birdwatchers, bicycle riders, hikers, photographers and people wanting to spend some time out in the open. Escaping from my keyboard and with camera in hand I spent a winter's afternoon walking 6 or 7 kilometres of trails. From the map below you can see the areas I visited.

This is a map on display in the reserve and is not my work.

This is a map on display in the reserve and is not my work.

Panboola was set up to preserve our wetland area for future generations. The below sign recognises the part played by the traditional owners of the land. The second photo helped me learn more about the people whose contact with the land goes back to the Dreaming. Another post on this blog was made to share some Dreaming stories. The Dreaming stories are not from the people of my area but can help you understand some of the rich cultures of the original Australians. Click on DREAMING STORIES to see and hear if you are interested.

This display panel is the work of a friend and is not my work.

This display panel is the work of a friend and is not my work.

This display panel is the work of a friend and is not my work.

This display panel is the work of a friend and is not my work.

Tips Billabong greets you as you enter the reserve from the northern end. Form a lookout on a rise you can see black swans and other birds. A billabong is formed when a river changes course. Part of the old river course is cut off and remains as a pond.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Much of the marsh area is covered by reeds. At this time of the year they are brown but spring makes them a sea of green. I love the patterns you can capture with a camera. The second photo shows the old reed heads and contrast beautifully with the blue sky behind.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The cool winter afternoon with only a gentle breeze gave me chances to capture reflections in the ponds.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The salt marsh areas provide a good contrast of red against the blue sky. White fronted chats (birds) can be seen flitting across the marshes in search of  insects but they can be hard to photograph.

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On the far side of the reserve there is access to Pambula River. On the day, it was gently flowing. I was the only one there and found no footprints in the sand.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I did find places where the smoothly flowing water made for perfect reflections off the surface.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

With the day growing late and shadows growing longer, I started heading back along the cycle and walk way to the exit.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The sun was now very low in the sky.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Eastern grey kangaroos were out feeding on the grass in the late afternoon.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Swamp hens searched for their food in the late light.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

...and the family I last chatted with had disappeared down to the reserve exit with me following slowly behind with a camera still in hand.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

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To see Culvers House post on their visit to Sutton Ecology Centre...

University Of Pisa trip to Sutton Ecology Centre

Culvers House went on a mini beast hunt at Sutton Ecology Centre. I wanted to share some photos of the mini beasts I have photographed in my region of Australia.

Spiders

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Sea Creatures

soldier crab

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 Sea urchin

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 Blue bottle jellyfish

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Butterflies

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Dragonflies

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Lizards

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Bees

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Beetles

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.     Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Ants

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Grasshoppers

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

This isn't an extended comment rather a report on a day of fun with some children in a school vacation care group. They were given the chance to visit the local Panboola Wetlands Reserve and make use of cameras. They were encouraged to take interesting and/or unusual photos after I shared some of my photos. Below are selections taken by three boys (9 and 10 years old) who borrowed my spare camera. I thought them worth sharing.

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Of course, it was also a chance to add a photo of my own when two children asked me to photograph their toys. When posed, I thought they were a great base for a poster or presentation on friendship. I then added a photo of their hands.

 Friendship

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Together we can take on the world.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Recognising the Original People of This Land

Official school events in my region normally start with an Acknowledgement of Country. It recognises the original owners of the land. Click the link below to hear one of my recordings.

Acknowledgement of Country

This audio recording should not be used without my written permission.

The Australian Aboriginal Flag

The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed by artist Harold Thomas and first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide, South Australia, on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971.

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Torres Strait Islander Flag

The Torres Strait Islander flag was designed by the late Bernard Namok as a symbol of unity and identity for Torres Strait Islanders.

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In 1995, both of these flags became official flags of Australia.

Source of information:   INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN FLAGS

In order to share some of the stories from the many peoples of Australia, below are a series of embedded You Tube videos sharing Dreaming stories. Where I can, I have added personal photos or drawings relating to the stories if students want to use them. At the end of this post you will find a video looking at indigenous tourism in Australia (52:26min).

Dreaming Stories

1. About Dreaming Stories  (7:32 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

This is a draft video for the Australian Museum for their Dreaming Stories. The performers are Gumaroy Newman, Eric Arthur Tamwoy and Norm Barsah. Video by Fintonn Mahony, Lisa Duff, Bronwyn Turnbull and Gina Thomson.

2.  Aboriginal Dreaming story of Waatji Pulyeri (the Blue Wren or superb fairywren) (5:33 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

These small wrens often visit my garden searching for insects. The drawing is of a male. Females and juveniles are plain brown.

 

3. The Rainbow Serpent  (11:23 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Rainbow lorikeets are native to my area and regularly visit my garden.

4. Mirram The Kangaroo and Warreen The Wombat (4:32 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A species of kangaroo common to my area is the eastern grey kangaroo.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Although mainly nocturnal, I found this wombat out during the day.

4. Girawu The Goanna  (4:00 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

One of our local goannas.

5. Biladurang The Platypus  (2:58 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The platypus, a monotreme (egg laying) mammal, can be elusive. I have caught glimpses of them in mountain streams but don't have a photograph.

6. Tiddalick The Frog  (2:43 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

7. Wayambeh The Turtle (2:43 min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Snapper turtle at a local animal sanctuary.

The Aboriginal People of Australia

Many people think there was one Aboriginal (native Australian) culture and one language but, before the coming of European colonists, there were many, many of those cultures now lost. One of the best sites I have seen comes from the Yolngu people of Ramingining in the northern part of Central Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory.

For one of their creation stories, click the link Twelve Canoes and wait for the site to load. The picture below will appear. Once loaded, click on the picture indicated by the arrow to see a creation story.

This graphic should not be copied.

I think you will find many interesting things on this site as well as one of their creation stories.

Indigenous Tourism in Australia Today (52:26min)

This embedded You Tube clip is not my video.

For part 1 of this post...

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/22/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-1-Koa-to-Jorja

For part 2 of this post...

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/23/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-2-lily-to-may/

What kind of trees and plants are in Australia?

(Two questions in one)

Below is a photo of one of my favourite walking trails. It's a fire trail in Bournda Nature Reserve. While we have many types of trees, most of the tall trees you see are eucalypt trees. If you take a fresh leaf and crush it, you can smell the eucalyptus oil inside. Have any of you ever smelled eucalyptus oil?

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Another favourite trail is in town. It leads around our lakeside to the town's old wharf. Most trees along this trail aren't eucalypt.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here are some photos of plants, flowers and fungi I have seen in my area. Not all flowers are Australian natives but are seen in gardens...

Wattle

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

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This is a photo of one type of eucalypt tree flowers.

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Bottlebrush

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Grevillia (a favourite nectar flower for rainbow lorikeets)

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Waratah

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Grevillia

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Banksia

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FUNGI

Apart from flowers, I also enjoy taking photos of interesting fungi (singluar fungus). All of these photos were taken in Bournda Nature Reserve

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What kind of berries grow in Australia?

There are many types of berries in Australia if you look for farms growing them. In the wild there are also berries but they aren't all edible. Blackberries grow wild in my area but they can be a problem on local dairy farms.

In my garden, we have an orange tree, two apple trees, lillipilli, guava and have had strawberries.

Oranges

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Lillipilli (they are edible but aren't sweet)

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Guava

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Do people swim in the ocean here?

As it is now winter, swimming isn't as big at this time of year. Surfers wear wetsuits and go surfing and, if the day is a little warmer, some do try swimming. In summer, spending time swimming, surfing, scuba diving and boating are very popular.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Kayaking

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Kiteboarding

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Windsurfing

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Surfing

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Jumping from our old Merimbula Wharf

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How is tomorrow?

I liked this question. Where I am in Australia it is 17 hours ahead of K/1/2/3. While we started our Skype session at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday for K/1/2/3, it was 6:30 a.m. Wednesday for me. Being close to our shortest day of the year, the sun hadn't yet risen but the sky was growing light. For K/1/2/3, the longest day of the year  was near. Even though I was starting winter and they summer, the temperature of the day ended up the same at about 13C. In my summer, temperatures can exceed 40C and bushfires can be a problem. The photo of a fire at the edge of town started on a day when temperatures reached about 44C.

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Have I seen a flamingo? Are there zoos?

Flamingos aren't native to Australia but I have seen them in zoos. There are many zoos and animal parks around Australia. In Sydney, there is Taronga Zoo and the linked Taronga Western Plains Zoo in the middle of the state. Melbourne has the Melbourne Zoo. Our Australian capital city of Canberra is about three hours drive from here. It has the National Zoo & Aquarium. Mogo Zoo is about two to three hours drive from here.

Closest to me at about a ten minutes drive is Potoroo Palace. It's a native animal sanctuary run by volunteers. Many of my animal photos and video clips were taken there.

More About Australia

One class had been looking at Australia. In April this year I prepared a post for them. It included photos and links to some of my animal videos and some audio clips. Click on the link below to visit the post.

Australia

2 Comments

For part 1 of this post...

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/22/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-1-Koa-to-Jorja

For Part 3 of this post...

 http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/23/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-3-linden-to-the-end/

Part 2

Do I know about an Australian tree which has black hair on it?

This one need a little research because I didn't know what type of tree it might be. Here is a link I found that has some "hairy" trees. They might help you know what tree you mean. 🙂

Australian Tree Images

What types of animals are found in Australia?

 Australia has a large range of animals but some of our most famous are our marsupial (pouched) and monotreme (egg laying) mammals and our birds. In Part 1 of this post, I have shown some of our reptiles I have photographed so I will only show some mammals and birds.

Here are some of the birds I have seen visiting my home.

Kookaburra

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Magpie

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Australian Wood Duck

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Corella

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Crimson Rosella

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King Parrot (male)

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Rainbow Lorikeet

This is the crazy type of bird I mentioned enjoyed a diet of sugary flower nectar. One of these birds flew between another person and me when we were talking.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Monotremes (egg laying) Mammals

The most ancient type of mammals are the monotremes. The females lay leathery eggs. On hatching, the young take milk from their mother like all mammals.

The only monotremes known to exist in our world today are the echidna and platypus. The platypus is only found in Australia. Echidnas are found in Australia and New Guinea.

The platypus is hard to photograph in the wild. While I have seen them, they are more like a ripple as they surface in creeks after searching for food. Not having a photo, here is my drawing of a platypus.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The echidna (or spiny anteater) is a harmless animal whose only defence when attacked is to dig it's strong claws into the ground and show its spines. I have found one wandering in my garden. The photo is of a short beaked echidna. The long beaked echidna is found in New Guinea.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Marsupial (pouched) Mammals

Marsupial or pouched animals are born very tiny. They make their way up their mothers fur and into the pouch where they can attach to a nipple. When they grow too large, they start to come out of the mother's pouch and eventually stay out. Here are some photos and drawings.

Brushtail Possum

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Wombat - This joey (young marsupial) lost his mother on the road.

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Tiger Quoll

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Koala - Sapphire is the baby of Blinky and Suzie

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Red Kangaroo - the largest of the kangaroos

This is a public domain image sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This is a public domain image sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

Tasmanian Devil

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Eastern Grey Kangaroo mob - groups of kangaroos are called mobs.

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 Diprotodon (extinct) - When the first native Australians arrived, these huge marsupials still roamed the land.

Wikimedia Commons graphic created by Dmitry Bogdanov

Wikimedia Commons graphic created by Dmitry Bogdanov

Thylacine - Tasmanian Tiger - hunted to extinction. The last known thylacine died in captivity in the 1930s. Some believe they still exist in isolated areas of Tasmania.

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Our animals even feature on the Australian Coat of Arms. Take a kangaroo and an emu...

 

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Add a little wattle

 

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Show the seven pointed Federation Star and the emblems of each state and you have the Australian Coat of Arms.

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What did I teach when I was a teacher?

When I was at university, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree. This meant if I taught high school (Grades 7 to 12) I would have taught science and possibly maths. Instead, I chose to gain a Diploma of Education in primary (Kindergarten to Grade 6) education. By teaching primary students I could teach English, Science, Maths, Social Studies, Music, Art, and Craft.

When computers came along, I was able to teach computer skills to classes and teachers. I first used computers back in 1975 and in class in 1981. Because I have many interests, I thought primary school would allow me to share much more than high school. Now, I share many of my interests online with classes around the world.

For part 2 of this post...

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/23/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-2-lily-to-may/

For Part 3 of this post...

 http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/23/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-3-linden-to-the-end/

At 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19 I was waiting for a call on Skype. Mrs. Watson and her K/1/2/3 had planned a Skype session. For them, it was 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. When the Skype call came, we started our question and answer session. Each student had the chance to ask questions about Australia.

I have broken this post into three parts because of the amount of its content.

Below is some of what was asked and answered...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

To hear Australia's national anthem sung by  a school choir I have filmed, click the "Advanced Australia Fair" link below

Advanced Australia Fair

How long have I been in Australia?

I was born in Australia.

My first known relative on my father's side of the family arrived in Australia (the called New South Wales) as a convict in 1789. The first with my family name arrived around 1850 as a free settler from England. The first known relative on my mother's side of the family arrived from Scotland in 1847.

Do I have any pets?

I have had many pets over the years although I don't have one at this time. I have had one cat, many dogs, budgerigars (small parrots), a galah (large parrot) and once was looking after a young kangaroo for a week until I could take it to a zoo. It's mother had been killed by a car.

Below is an old photo taken around 1960 of the first dog I remember having as a pet. Her name was Topsy.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What is my favourite place in town?

I am a movie fan. I like going to the cinema (movie theatre) and I enjoy filming and making DVDs for schools and community groups so, in the town itself, my favourite place is the cinema. The next nearest cinema is a twoto three hour drive north but we are a tourist town and are lucky to have one.

Near town, my favourite places are Bournda National Park, Bournda Nature Rerserve, Ben Boyd National Park, South East Forests National Park and Potoroo Palace Native Animal Educational Sanctuary. When not blogging, visiting schools, making DVDs, walking around town and going to the cinema, I like hiking in our national parks near my town.

I have loaded a short video clip showing my town and Merimbula Lake taken from a bridge in 2010. The quality of the video isn't high but it does show much of the town.

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I live in the state of New South Wales. Is there an old South Wales?

The eastern half of Australia was named New South Wales by Captain James Cook in 1770. In his ship's log he recorded the name but didn't explain his choice. It's thought the coast might have reminded him of the southern coast of Wales in Great Britain. It was an interesting choice because I think part of Hudson Bay in Canada had been named New South Wales by the Welshman Thomas James on 20 August 1631 (according to Wikipedia).

In 2012, a replica of Captain James Cook's ship, Endeavour, visited Twofold Bay, Eden about 20km from my town. Below is a video clip I made of its departure.

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If you want to see more of the Endeavour replica, there is a post on another of my blogs...

HMB Endeavour at Eden – May, 2012 – Cook and his Endeavour

Do we have tumbleweeds in Australia?

Tumbleweeds are really only the tops of plants dried, broken off and blown in the wind. While we can have this happen to our plants, we don't tend to call them tumbleweeds.

Being in a small school.

 K/1/2/3's school only has 41 students and two teachers. They normally talk to students from much larger schools. I shared a little about my first teaching position. In the two years I was there, I had from 12 to 20 students from surrounding sheep and cattle properties. The closest town was 100km distant. I was the only teacher with children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 in the room. My next school had over 800 students and was in Sydney. It was very different.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Do we have any geckos or lizards?

Being a much warmer climate than Canada, we have a large range of reptiles from skinks and geckos right through to crocodiles in the warmer north of the country. I'll share a few of my photos with you...

 Bearded Dragon

They are harmless although they can bite. They may be called dragon but they can't breathe fire.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Red Bellied Black Snake (poisonous)

Unlike the local brown and tiger poisonous snakes of our area, the black snake is a little shy and tries to keep away from humans.

red-bellied black snake

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Goanna (Lace Monitor)

Goannas are the largest of our lizards.

GoannaSchools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Blue-tongued lizard (skink)

I have found these in my garden. They like snails and slugs.

Blue-tongued lizard

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Olive python and handler

Being a python, these snakes aren't poisonous. Potoroo Palace volunteer is hold "Olive" the female olive python.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Snapping Turtle

There are a number of turtles and tortoises around Australia.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Black Headed Python (non-poisonous)

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Lizards 1

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Lizards 2

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Eastern Water Skink (?)

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 Have I travelled to other places including Canada?

I have travelled to many places in Australia and have been to New Zealand several times. I've visited friends in Singapore and travelled on to Paris and United Kingdom. I've also been to Hawaii. Here are some photos from my travels overseas.

London

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Paris

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Singapore

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Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

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York, England - York Minster Cathedral

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Edinburgh Castle

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Wellington, New Zealand - 1996

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While I haven't yet been to Canada, I took a photo of a community play. The men were wearing a uniform but I'm not certain what type is was supposed to be. Do you know?

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

2 Comments

To visit K/1/2/3's post...

World Oceans Day

Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3 visited their local beach the day before World Oceans Day so they, as a class, could help clean up their local beaches. Their post show what they found along their beach.

Once their clean up was complete, they had fun on the beach making driftwood boats and collecting materials for an art project. In my area there is an artist who collects driftwood in order to make them into works of carved art. I was once given a small piece about 30cm (1ft) long. I thought I would share two photos of what can be made from a piece of wood washed up in the beach.

 Top View

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Side View

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Can you see what the carving represents?

If you look carefully at pieces of driftwood on your beach, can you imagine what they might become?

4 Comments

To see Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3's original post...

Clear the Coast Presentation

Hello Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3,

Today I was able to visit another of my town's beaches. It is busiest in summer and has lifeguards on duty at that time of year but it was only about 12C (about 54F) when I visited it early this morning so few were there. The beach is about 3.6km (2.2 mi) long. Below is a photo of the beach as I saw it...

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here's what I found. As before, after taking a photo, the rubbish was put in a bin.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again, most of it was plastic. There were pieces of rope, a plastic bottle, spoon, straw, lid and a few other small pieces. The largest was a rope that probably came off a boat.

I know you will be busy with the ocean clean up this weekend. I will be working a DVD of a 14 school music camp performance I filmed last Thursday. There is much to do to have it ready for the schools so I won't be able to post another beach survey before your day. I hope to see some photos of what you collect. 🙂

2 Comments

To see Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3's original post...

Clear the Coast Presentation

Hello Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3,

After sending a reply to your comment, I had some time this afternoon so I visited two small beaches. They aren't the three mentioned in the comment but I thought they'd be a good start to a garbage survey.

Bar Beach

The first is known as Bar Beach. It lies at the entrance to the main lake in town. It is where tidal flow from the lake meets the sea. Below is a photo taken today...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Bar Beach is the smallest seaside beach around town. It is only about 100m (about 325ft) long and can be very busy but today was cool so only a few were there. Below is a photo of what I found on this beach. As I was about to leave the beach, I also saw a cigarette butt.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

As you can see, there was a plastic bottle, spoon, bottle top and piece of pipe. The other two items are lolly (candy) wrappers and, yes, they were also plastic. The only thing I picked up that wasn't plastic was a cigarette butt.

Middle Beach

Middle Beach is our second smallest beach. It was late afternoon when I took the photo below. The photo was taken from the northern end looking south. Remember, where I am in Australia, it's along the east coast. We see the sun rise over the ocean. The first time I saw the sun set over the ocean was when I visited New Zealand's South Island west coast. I wasn't a very long way from B4's town in New Zealand. I was in Greymouth about 80km (50 mi) from them.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Middle Beach is about 1100m (about 1200 yards) long. I was alone on the beach while there. Below is a photo of what I found...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again, I mostly found plastic. Being a larger beach, I found more than on Bar Beach. Here is what I found...

A foam cup and two pieces of foam, three lolly (candy) wrappers, two plastic bottle tops, two pieces of yellow plastic and one piece of blue plastic, a plastic cigarette lighter, part of a fishing float with a hook still attached, a small plastic cup, fishing line, a small piece of nylon rope, a plastic gold ball, a larger fishing float (the plain white thing), a tissue, a fruit juice container I think dropped on the beach, and a plastic straw.

I have some filming to do at a music camp over the next few days but I hope to give you a report on other beaches before June 7, Ocean Day. All items I found were removed from the beaches and placed in rubbish bins.

Other beaches I can access from town are...

Main/Pambula Beach - 5.9km (3.3 mi)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Short Point (Tura Beach) - 3.6km (2.2 mi)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

North Tura Beach - 2.9km (1.8 mi)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Another beach I can access a little out of town is in Bournda National Park

Bournda Beach - 4.2km (2.6 mi)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.