Showing posts with label ocean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ocean. Show all posts

Learning About Salt Marshes


I have spent much of my life visiting a house on Cape Cod that is on a salt marsh. I never really looked into what a salt marsh is or its value as an ecosystem, but lately have been thinking about it. Today I am delving into a salt marsh, and we will start with what it is and why they are important.

What Is a Salt Marsh?

A salt marsh is a wetlands ecosystem that is flooded and drained by the ocean's tides. They are formed where rivers or creeks meet the ocean. They are composed of deep mud and peat. Peat is a spongy, root-filled material composed of decomposing plant material. They can be low on oxygen which allows certain bacteria to grow, and this bacteria can give off the smell of rotten eggs often associated with salt marshes. I found this interesting since I have early memories of coming to visit my grandparents at night and the awful smell of the marsh always made me hate arriving. Then in the morning the smell was usually gone. 

The marsh has creeks that run through it, but they can change over time depending on tides and more. The marsh also filters out pollutants and provides places for oyster reefs as well as mussels to live. The salt marsh can take the carbon dioxide and sunlight and create carbon and new life. It cleanse our world and provides essential places for fish, shellfish and birds to begin their lives and live. There are also salt-tolerant plants that grow in the marsh. There are two parts of salt marsh: low marsh and high marsh. The low marsh gets flooded every day whereas the high marsh only a couple of times during a month. 

Low Marsh

In the low marsh there is cordgrass or Spartina alterniflora. This grass grows in deep mud that has low oxygen levels. It has strong roots and is flooded and drained of salt water twice a day. The cordgrass does many things important to the ecosystem as well as the surrounding environment. It actually protects the mainland from storms. Yep!! That salt marsh actually helps protect our house. It also helps collect more sediment (from the ocean) and build more marsh. It is also food for some of the wildlife and provides habitats. 

In the summer the marsh is nice and green. However, cordgrass is a perennial and dies off in the fall and winter.

The low marsh is where the creek is and provides a home for crabs as well as a nursery for some fish. 

High Marsh

In the high marsh there is more diverse life. It is only flooded about twice a month. Saltmeadow cordgrass or Spartina patens (commonly called salt marsh hay) and salt grass or Distichlis spicata grow in the high marsh. Many of the plants can store the salt and help with the habitat. 

There is not as much about the high marsh available as it has more dry plants that can handle the salt but not as often as the low marsh plants. More plants can grow here.

Our marsh is surrounded by phragmites. Phragmites also called common reeds are an invasive species. Phragmites can grow up to 14 feet tall by summers end. They can grow thick and take over some of the marsh. I have also seen they can have positive effects on the marsh. There are actually laws about cutting them here. 

Our phragmites serve as a landing place for many of the birds and especially the red-winged blackbirds. 

When I was young my grandfather took me into the marsh. It is hard to walk in and you really need boots on as the mud is messy. Now we tend to stay out of it since it is a breeding ground for deer ticks and yes, there is Lyme disease out there. My parents and I have all been treated after finding ticks on us. In fact at one point my parents' doctors would put them on the antibiotics right away when they found a tick on them because Lyme disease was so prevalent. 

Climate Change and Threats to Salt Marshes

Salt marshes are found around the world. They are on every coast of the United States. There are threats to them due to climate change and how people have interfered with them in the past. In Massachusetts as well as elsewhere there are groups trying to protect these important ecosystems. People's desire for land, farming, and more is slowly destroying them. When my grandparents built this house, they were told they had to build it along the edge of the marsh. Today the town realizes that is a mistake and tries to protect the marsh more and would not permit the house to be built as close as it previously demanded. As we worry about the eroding coastline we worry about our closeness to the marsh. Our house is in a flood plan and had it been built farther back it would not be. But we love the views and watching the changing marsh. And of course we love the sunsets!

To learn more about marshes check out this video.

To learn more about the wildlife check out this video as well. And to learn about the high marsh you can check out this video


Books & Other Resources:

I found a few books about salt marshes at the library if you would like to go that route.

1) 24 Hours in a Salt Marsh by Christy Peterson shares about a day at a salt marsh on the Oregon Coast.

2) Marvels in the Muck: Life in the Salt Marshes by Doug Wechsler shares about the life found in northern salt marshes (New Jersey is mentioned). Some of the wildlife shared I do not see (or know about at least) at Cape Cod.

3) A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz takes the reader hour by hour naming various wildlife found in a marsh. It has some activities and more information at the end including why salt marshes are important and information about spartina and its adaptations.

4) Salt Marsh by Paul Fleisher shares about a salt marsh in Chesapeake Bay. 

Activities, Crafts & Lessons

Teach your kids more about salt marshes with these lessons, activities and crafts.

Kawaii Origami for Kids -- Crafty Sundays


Disclosure: I was sent this kit in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I have shared several origami kits as well as origami paper packs and projects with you over the years. Today I am sharing a wonderful origami kit for kids. I think this is my favorite one ever!! It is Kawaii Origami for Kids by Naoko Ishibashi. Kawaii is a huge Japanese culture of cuteness. I am sure you have seen the word previously. These origami projects are just so cute!! So it makes sense that it is called the Kawaii Origami for Kids.

Timely New Picture Books Released This Week


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Every Tuesday new books get released. Today I am sharing three new picture books released today. These books timely for current events and Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as one about inclusion with information about lifeboats too. The first book is Daniel and Ismail by Juan Pablo Iglesias Yacher and illustrated by Alex Peris. It was translated into English by Ilan Stavans; translated into Hebrew by Eliezer Nowodworski and Frieda Press-Danieli; and into Arabic by Randa Sayegh. It is being released into paperback today and is recommended for ages 3 to 6.

Else B. in the Sea -- Book Review & Giveaway with Under the Sea Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Jeanne Walker Harvey to bring you this post and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

I love books that share about people you may not have heard of. Today I get to share a nonfiction picture book about a woman who explored colors and paints of under water to share what a scientist saw on his underwater exploration. The woman is Else Bostelmann. The book is Else B. in the Sea The Woman Who Painted the Wonders of the Deep by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Melodie Stacey.

New Board Books that Will Inspire, Teach & Put to Bed


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Spring has sprung! That means weddings, baby showers and more! Today I get to share with you three fun new board books that each will teach as well as inspire and one is perfect for the good night story! So if you have a baby shower coming up or know someone who is having a baby or has young children and wants great books to read them, check these books out!! The first one is Hey Now, Little Man by Dori Elys and illustrated by Chris Park. 

Bark Ship Bonnie -- Picture Book Review & Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How are you spending your summer? Do you go boating? Today I am sharing a new picture book that introduces ship language and slang. Plus I am sharing a boat/ship craft round-up. The book is Bark Ship Bonnie by Stephanie Staib and illustrated by Fiona Lee. It is recommended for ages 5 to 7. And don't worry if you are not knowledgeable about ship language--there is a glossary!!

Famous Seaweed Soup -- Book Review & Giveaway


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I will receive a small stipend for participating in The Children's Book Review & Purple Butterfly Press's Virtual Book Tour with this post. All opinions are my own.

Spring is popping up all around me and that means summer is around the corner. Today I get to share with you a fun book that is perfect for those summer beach trips and more! It is Famous Seaweed Soup by Antoinette Truglio Martin and illustrated by Penny Weber. And there is a giveaway including the grand prize of an entire classroom set of this fun book!!

Odder -- New Middel Grades Novel in Verse about Sea Otters


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My life has gotten a bit crazy. My reading time is definitely cut down, but I found time to read today's book and loved it. We can start with the adorable picture on the cover. This book is a new middle grades novel written completely in verse. It is Odder by Katherine Applegate. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

Northwind -- a Middle School/YA novel taking a look at life in the Northern Ocean


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I am going to share a new middle school/young adult novel that takes a look at a different life than I am used to. It has been sitting on my shelf for awhile. When my life changed in April, I got behind reading my middle grades and young adult (as well as adult) books. This book is perfect for an Earth Day theme as well as just an adventure lover or explorer. It is Northwind by Gary Paulsen. It is recommended for ages 10 to 14.

At the Sea -- New Picture Book with Flaps to Teach All About the Ocean


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Spring is here. That means summer is almost here and that means the beach! With Earth Day last week, we need to talk about the ocean. Today I am sharing a beautiful, oversized picture book about a trip to the sea that even goes into the Earth Day topics! The book is At the Sea by Emma Giuliani. It has a reading age of 8 to 12.

The Atlas of Migrating Plants and Animals --#STEM Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you know an animal and/or plant lover? Are you a teacher? Today I get to share with you a new book that is absolutely beautiful!! This is a must have when teaching about animals and plants and especially ones that migrate or perhaps just teaching about migrating. It is The Atlas of Migrating Plants and Animals by Megan Lee and illustrated by Matt Sewell. It is recommended for ages 5 to 10. 

Fun & Facts Coloring Books Review & Giveaway


Disclosure: I was sent digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Daniel Gershkovitz and am receiving a small stipend for this review. All opinions are my own.

Today we get to share eleven fun coloring books that aren't just for coloring. They have fun facts about each of the pictures featured in the coloring page. The topics of these books range from animals to vehicles and space. There is literally something for every interest!! The books are We Can Color! Fun & Facts Coloring Books created by Daniel Gershkovitz. They each have 70 pages and are for all ages! Plus there is a giveaway at the end!

Beach Art -- Crafty Sundays


Every summer we spend at least one week at Cape Cod. My parents live there and my family has a house that we rent out but we get a week at the house every year. We always try to have at least one beach day and sometimes walk on the beach in the evening. My favorite thing about walking the beach is picking up shells and rocks. I love finding the pieces of quahog shells which is what wampum is made from. We have a rock and shell collection. Some are found, some gifts and some bought. I took a combination of our collection from this year and past years and made some crafts. I started with one I was inspired by the Coastal Seashell Wreath over at Amy Latta Creations. I saw her creation last week on Facebook and fell in love with it. I headed over to Michaels and found the grapevine wreath and a wooden plaque for about $6 total. I also picked up some wooden framed shapes for my other project. They were 99 cents each. So I took our collection and created these fun pieces of beach art.

Learning about Sea Turtles


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Yesterday we talked about a book full of fun facts about the ocean. Today let's focus on one of the creatures in the ocean waters--sea turtles. I am going to share a book recommended for ages 4 to 8 as well as some fun facts from the book and a turtle craft round-up! The book is from National Geographic Kids and is Go Wild! Sea Turtles by Jill Esbaum. 

Weird But True! Ocean Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Fourth of July always seems like the start of beach season to me. I tend to spend it at Cape Cod where the crowds come for the beach. Today to kick off beach season I am sharing a National Geographic Kids book full of fun facts about the ocean. It is Weird but True! Ocean

Stingers -- 2nd book in the Middle Grade Sharks Inc Series


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Last year I introduced you to Sharks Inc. with the middle grade novel Fins. This summer the Sharks Inc. threesome is back and are still tagging sharks and solving mysteries. Dr. Ford has brought the team to the Bahamas where Captain Hannah will oversee their work. While there they explore Katt Island with a local girl whose mother owns the hotel they are staying in and find all sorts of mysteries and trouble. The second book is Stingers by Randy Wayne White. 

My First Science Book Series Review & Giveaway


Disclosure: I am working with The Children's Book Review & Dover Publications by participating in this virtual book tour. I was sent copies of these four books in exchange for an honest review and a small stipend. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe it is June. Summer is basically here. For many this school year was a mess. I know many parents are worried about how much their kids learned with all the remote learning the past two years. Every summer kids lose some of what they have learned. This summer it will be more important to keep our kids reading and learning. I am going to be sharing books that will give you extra resources to keep the kids learning all summer long in fun ways starting today. Today I am sharing part of Dover Publication's My First Science Book Series and at the end there will be a giveaway!! 

Books that will help Celebrate Earth Day from National Geographic Kids


Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Earth Day is in two weeks! There are so many ways you can celebrate with kids. One of my favorite though is sharing books. The range of books can be about the reason for Earth Day, Earth, wildlife, recycling, reusing, etc. This year I have gathered some great ones including some craft books which I will share on Crafty Sundays in the next couple of weeks. I was trying to decide how to share the various books I have gathered and decided to go with publishers. Today's books are both from National Geographic Kids. We will start with one of the most interesting books ever, Beneath the Waves: Celebrating the Ocean Through Pictures, Poems and Stories by Stephanie Warren Drimmer. 

Zendoodle Colorscapes -- Secrets of the Sea -- Perfect Summer Coloring Book

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe today is the first day of summer? Our spring was very strange with the pandemic. I expect our summer to be strange too. I know I found myself needing things to help me relax. I turned to coloring. You may remember I use to do a weekly coloring book review on Fridays called Relaxing Friday. I stopped due to the number of coloring books I had and I wasn't getting any. However that changes today. Since I was scheduled to participate with the MKB Read Around the World Summer Series yesterday this is a relaxing Saturday post. Today I get to share with you a perfect summertime coloring book and it is brand new!! It was released this week!! It is Zendoodle Colorscapes: Secrets of the Sea artwork by Deborah Muller. 

Middle Grades Summer Reading with Environmental Themes

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Is school out where you live? Hazel finished last week. Of course it wasn't a big celebration with the state just starting to re-open. But we have started to think about summer. Although I don't see too many trips to the beach this year even when we are at Cape Cod. But reading about them is always fun. Today I am sharing two books about life near water--a lake and the ocean. Do you go to any body of water every summer? Are you going this year?