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International Day for Biological Diversity 2012
Marine Biodiversity is the theme for this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB). Designation of IDB 2012 on the theme of marine ecosystems provides Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and everyone interested in marine life, the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and increase practical action.

How Much Life Is in the Sea?

From 2000 to 2010, an unprecedented worldwide collaboration by scientists around the world set out to try and determine how much life is in the sea. Dubbed the ‘Census of Marine Life’, the effort involved 2,700 scientists from over 80 nations, who participated in 540 expeditions around the world. They studied surface seawater and probed the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean, sailed tropical seas and explored ice-strewn oceans in the Arctic and Antarctic. By the time the Census ended, it had added 1,200 species to the known roster of life in the sea; scientists are still working their way through another 5,000 specimens to determine whether they are also newly-discovered species. The estimate of the number of known marine species – the species that have been identified and the ones that have been documented but await classification – has increased as a direct result of the Census efforts, and is now around 250,000. (This total does not include some microbial life forms such as marine viruses.) In its final report, the Census team suggested it could be at least a million. Some think the figure could be twice as high.

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity
Along the Coast
The Continental Shelf
The Open Ocean
The Deep
Great Migrations
The Human Impact
Causes of Decline
A Warmer Ocean
A More Acidic Ocean
The Problem of Over-Fishing
Why We Should Care
Blue Carbon
The Value of Marine Reserves
CBD and the Jakarta Mandate


East Lothian’s Biodiversity

East Lothian Council Biodiversity Officer – can give presentations to schools or classes on biodiversity or related topics. The Biodiversity Officer will also help to develop school grounds, particularly through the Grounds for Awareness award. This award is launched annually in September and can offer up to £1000 for a wildlife, gardening or landscaping project within school grounds.  Tel: 01620 827242

East Lothian Countryside Ranger Service – can visit schools or help with longer term studies such as rivers or rock pooling. They can also work closely with related initiatives such as the John Muir Award and Forest Schools.   ranger at
East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service – often working closely with the Ranger Service. They can provide environmental education, linking this with adventurous activities such as canoeing, gorge walking or coasteering.  0131 653 5217

East Lothian Council have produced a teachers guide about wildlife and the natural world. The 16 page download includes classroom projects,useful websites, pictures and ideas. The Guide suggests good locations close to schools and how to prepare for a visit.  Download your Biodiversity Education Guide here

The theme of this year’s National Science & Engineering Week is “our world in motion” and it runs from 9 – 18 March 2012

National Science & Engineering Week shines the spotlight each March on how the sciences and engineering relate to our everyday lives and helps to inspire the next generation of scientists with fun and participative activities.

With over 4,500 events and activities attended by 1.7 million people in 2011, this is the UK’s widest grassroots celebration of all things science and engineering.   Each year, the British Science Association produces a series of new free resources and activities for event organisers and schools to help them run a science, engineering or technology event..

Dunbar Science Festival

Following last year’s successful inaugural event, Dunbar’s second Science Festival will be held on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th March. The venue will be packed with a diverse mix of exciting science activities – shows, drop-in sessions, workshops, storytelling and talks. See website nearer the time for more info.

Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from 30 March – 15 April 2012

East Lothian’s forgotten engineer:

James Howden, Marine Engineer and Inventor, was one of Prestonpans most illustrious sons, yet no monument or memorial exists in his home town.

He was born on 29th February(!), 1832 and lived with his parents James and Catherine and his four younger siblings in a property in the town’s High Street.

By 1851, James had moved to Glasgow to begin his apprenticeship and where he was later to perfect the forced-draught system for boilers.

He went on to found Howden – now a worldwide engineering organisation.