Yesterday we were out in the early morning cutting a small supply of fresh dulce from the north facing rocks. We are fortunate to have an ambudance of dulce though we would have to remove about 6 tons before we begin to disturb the natural eco-balance. From time to time we therefore cut small amounts for personal use and yesterday was a good example of the many uses we find for seaweed in the Haen. Firstly we used some to make our own cleaning products, then cooked some and also made a small dulce flavoured drink. Having spent the morning hard at work some of us decided to relax and bathe in it whilst others kept going and dug the remainder into the garden. Dulce is heavily concentrated with minerals and other health giving properties and has multiple uses. Apparently, it has unique anti-ageing properties too so if we can find the right formula we might just be on to something!
Today we were at Woodlands Primary school in Carnoustie to talk to children about work carried out to identify, record and protect wildlife in Angus. Children from the school participated in the East Haven BioBlitz in 2016 when they learned about various marine species and took part in a rock pooling session. Today we were able to up-date them on the number and type of species now recorded in East Haven which includes over 170 species of moth and 120 bird species. Of course there was great interest in the dolphin population and the baby seals which are sometimes found stranded on the beach. It is always enjoyable (if not exhausting!) to spend time with the children who are so engaged and interested in the natrual environment. We hope that what they learn at this young age will remain with them into adulthood and that they will continue to show concern for wildlife.
Today we met to discuss plans for the new season at the 'Wee Gallery'. As in previous years, we will open prior to the Easter holidays as the village is always busy at Easter Weekend. Before then, we intend to give the floor three coats of paint to provide a firm base to withstand the vigorous cleaning which it is subjected to during the year. Our new challenge will be the reduction of plastic waste in our management of the facility. We will use less plastic bags but those we do use will be biodegradeable. Importantly, we intend to start making our own cleaning products which will not only reduce the number of plastic bottles we discard but also the amount of harmful chemicals discharged into our village septic tank. Finally, we have been busy with a different kind of painting over the last few months creating pictures which will hang on the toilets walls in 2018.
East Haven is working towards becoming a plastic free village in an effort to raise awareness about the damage plastic is causing the environment and to reduce waste. It is no easy feat because plastic is so much a part of our daily lives to the extent that we don't always know we are even using it. Tea bags, being a case in point as they contain polypropylene which helps them keep their shape. As the Co-op is the first retailer to start making a fully biodegradable paper tea bag in it’s 99 tea range we will encourage people to switch brands and avoid brands such as PG tips which have no plans to make any change. It is estimated that nine tonnes of plastic waste from tea bags is created every year in the UK. In addition, we will stop using any non-recyclable cups and have purchased compostable cups for refreshments on the cycle path at Mary’s Meals corner. We are also exploring the possibility of installing a fresh water drinking tap somewhere near the heritage point to enable people to fill their own reusable cups and bottles whilst on the go. Our Thursday morning gardening group which recommences in March is the ideal forum to share tips and new ideas. For example, where to purchase those elusive bamboo toothbrushes and how to make some of our own cleaning products. Acting locally - thinking globally!
What a thrill to see the dolphins return so early in the year. Yesterday we spotted a couple but today a pod of around 10 were seen jumping and cavorting in the waters not far from the shore. Our next job is to report our sightings on the Marine Life Angus web-site. http://www.marinelifeangus.co.uk/submit-a-sighting/ Sharing any sightings helps us learn more about the whales and dolphins in our waters. A project called the Angus Cetacean Survey and Data Collection Project collects information about cetaceans (whales and dolphins) along the coast. The purpose of the project is to learn more about cetacean presence in Angus waters aiding future conservation. We will also upload our sightings to irecord the national wildlife recording data-base.