Fresh Air Kids – Term 2 | Week 1

The Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature.

A community partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Fresh Air Kids aims to encourage local coastal kids to grow up observing the environment in more detail than even most adults do.

Date | 18.04.2017

Participants | Claudia, Noah, Dharma, Darcy, Molly, Hugh and Ollie.

Pete shows off his new Sea-velvet dreads, next to Noah who has the real deal, and the girls!

It was the first session back after a beautiful Easter holiday. Many of the kids had been on amazing adventures out of town, some hiking the wilds of Wilson’s Prom, and others even travelling out of Australia for adventures in Thailand! Today we welcomed Molly to our small group of Fresh Air Kids.

There was no doubt everyone was pleased to be back at home and exploring what has been happening at Anglesea over the holidays. It was a classic autumn evening, sunny cool and still. Small waves were crashing on a high tide Point Roadknight shoreline. Lots of bull kelp and other large brown, green and red seaweed species had washed up. Pieces of Moonah tree were scattered around our meeting spot at the BBQ’s, left over from the nearly cyclonic storm a week before which left many trees knocked over and moved a lot of sand around our beaches.

The Fresh Air Kids look through the beach treasures box

We started the activity looking through the beach treasure box at the interesting collection of artefacts that have been found on our local beaches over the years. The kids were fascinated to find out what some of the familiar beach objects were – like the shark egg cases. There were some that they had never seen before like the knotted up ball of fishing line, hooks and lures which was found under Lorne pier.

We had our own treasure hunt and just like the collection in the box, there were things we found that belonged on the beach and some that didn’t.

Red algae and red fungi –similar yet so different!

One of the most interesting finds was a piece of red seaweed that was completely flattened out, as if it was squashed. We were just talking about how it looks like a fungus you would find growing out of a tree in the forest when someone ran up and said “like this one!?” and there it was, a perfect example of how two completely different things can look so similar. I would never have believed we would find a fungi like that growing on a dead branch at the beach. Someone had grabbed the cut down piece of tea tree and tried to use it as firewood, however fungi grows on wet, rotting wood – so it is no doubt the branch did not burned!

Similar, yet very different! One is a marine algae (bottom), and the other a forest fungus.

The kids took their clipboards and lists and made drawings of everything they found. We looked for small, large, young and old things. We found some things that had been left behind by holiday makers like a pair of thongs, but mostly the beach was really very clean!

Noah’s clipboard of activities

Of course we found a lot of the most littered item in the world – cigarette butts. These contain a mixture of toxic chemicals that will leach out into the environment after they are discarded. It is such a disrespectful thing to throw away these little toxic filters without even thinking. People can do better!

Until next time,

Possum Pete.

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