Google Meet With a Marine Biologist

On Monday the 7th, we had a google meet with a marine biologist called Saana and we learnt about all of the things you have to do to be one.

The first thing we learnt about was the engineering involved with it like boats. She told us all about what boats she uses at which time. One of the boats was a wooden yacht that has everything you need to do her job.

The second thing that we learnt was the communication of sea mammals. We learnt that seals clap there flippers to make a “clap” noise and that dolphins jump out of the water to play and sometimes to communicate.

The third thing that we learnt was her career. We asked questions about stuff like ” How long does it take to get a career on marine biology?”  We found out that you need a degree to learn all about it.    We found out she needs to ask good questions and then do research to find the answers.  She works with the navy to check they are not damaging animals with sonar under the water.  Tracking sea mammals is tricky and they have long poles they use to get trackers on the whales.  It sounds like being a marine biologist is really interesting.



Rock Pooling

On the second of June the class went rock pooling and we went with Fiona. She brought nets and buckets we found jellyfish, sea snails, crabs, shrimp and sea slugs.

We found most of the stuff in seaweed so we had to swish the nets in the sea weed or we had to pick the sea weed up and move it to a different place and quickly had to get the animals in the net quick so they would not swim away or crawl away.

We found the crabs, sea slugs and sea slugs in the sea weed and we found the shrimp and the jellyfish in the the open area.  It was very interesting.  The sea hares let out a bright pink ink and they were all laying eggs.  We even found a pink sea spider.


On the 2nd of June we went over the Ard to learn about peatlands with Fiona from the INHT. Every year peat grows 1 millimeter. If it reached 1000 centimeters it would have of been  like the beginning of Stonehenge. There is a special type of moss to help it grow which is called sphagnum moss and they used to use that moss for bandages and nappies because it is like a sponge and it can absorb liquids.

We also looked at all different types of animals, mosses and plants that live in  peat over the Ard.  There was stonewort, lizards, snakes, bog cotton, cuckoo flowers and rashes.


The school went for a beach clean on 30th April at our local beach the Co-op beach. The most plastic the school found was plastic bags, but we also found crisp packets, a tire, shoes and glass.  Re-jig came along to help us clear the beach.  After when we had a lovely clean beach we held a competition to do some sand sculptures.  I built a fairy kingdom.  I think it is important to keep our beaches clean because it stops animals dying.


End of term Eco Committee.

The Eco Committee in Port Ellen primary have been looking at saving animals from dying by eating plastic and cleaning the Coop beach following on from our plastic topic that we had been doing as a whole school. Katie Harrison is in the global group and they have wrote a letter to the Ileach.  Mara who is in the litter group they had got everyone in the school to do a litter pick the total amount of litter we collected was 3245g.  When we were down cleaning the beach we found the following amount:

Plastic: 2000g


Aluminium: 75g

Wood: 50g

Plastic Box: 900g

Total: 3245g.

Katie Harrison wrote a letter to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust to ask them to come over to visit us. A couple of weeks ago Katie got a letter back from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin trust and we got lots of different facts about sharks and dolphins and they might becoming through out the next year or so.



Maldives Scientist Glow Meet

Recently we had a Glow meet with two scientist that are working about Whalesharks mainly around the Maldives. Their names where Alina Wieczorek, and Giulia. They were also telling us about; Plastic  turns into miniature microplastics, and then when whalesharks eat their food, they can be possibly eating tiny microplastics which can damadge their bodies, and it can lead to death sometimes. Whalesharks eat plankton.

The scientists also said that when the Whalesharks eat plankton, the plankton may already have plastic inside of it, so when they eat it they are eating plankton but also some plastic/or microplastics.

There was also something about a Whaleshark and its baby, and the mother was staying with its baby, even though the baby just recently died because of the milk from the mother.The milk was poisoned from the ammount of plastic the mother had recently eaten.

The two scientists  were  from Ireland, and Switzerland. There were also some facts we were given that we already


As a whole school our topic is Pollinating. We will be learning all about the different species of bees and flowers that are around the school grounds and all over the island and maybe the whole world. Every Monday we have been having visits from Fiona MacGillivray who is part of the Islay Pollinators project and is from the Islay Natural History Trust.  Yesterday Mrs MacGillivray came into the school to do the project. When Mrs MacGillivray came in yesterday we were looking at all the different types flowers up the back of the school. Yesterday we also looked at all the different flowers that were in the Quadrants on the hill behind the school.  We found the following plants up the back of the school:

  1.  Sorrel
  2. Bluebells
  3. Pignuts
  4. Ribwort
  5. Billberry
  6. Tormentil
  7. Meadow Buttercup.
  8. Scapius Leave.

We drew Botanical drawings of the flowers that we found. Here are some facts about pollinators/ pollinating;

  1. There are 24 different species of bumble bees in britain.
  2.  Ivy is a very good food source for pollinators at the end of the summer.
  3.  There are around 220 species of solitary bees in britain and they don’t sting.




Maldives Whale Shark Community

On Tuesday 14th May we had a glow meet with Alina Wieczorek and Giulia Donati. Who are part of the Maldives Whale Shark Conservation. There are 200 islands in total and 100 are used for tourists and the other hundred are just normal islands for the people who grew up in the Maldives. They answered a lot of our questions and we also found out a lot of new facts. We learned that whale sharks can live for up to a century and in rare cases over a century, we also learned that the reason they are protecting this fascinating creature is because it is endangered and if it were to become extinct its loss in the ocean would have repercussions on many of the other marine animals. In the end we thoroughly enjoyed learning many interesting facts from this experience and we all will be sure to watch our use of plastics and will also help contribute to saving these magnificent creatures and all the others who share the ocean.

By Holly and Scott

Plastics in the ocean.

We used storyline during our turning the tide on plastic topic. Claire Bryden visited us while we were writing an imaginative story about an incident in Hawaii. And I enjoyed it this is my story.

The Disaster
Such an ordinary day the sun shining and everyone having a jolly time. I was sitting down getting my flippers and tank on to go diving. The sea was as sparkly as my diamond ring.
I was just about to jump in but suddenly a crowd of tourists flooded in saying “There’s a dead dolphin on the beach…” I stopped what I was doing threw my tank on the black velvet sofa and sprinted as fast as Usain Bolt. I crossed the road to Kailua beach and saw a baby dolphin washed up on the beach. I got some cones and rope to put around the baby. I done the check list around the dolphin. I carefully flipped the dolphin on to its tummy and dug little holes for its flippers because they aren’t used to be on land also holding below the blow hole for 20 minutes because they can hold their breath for ages. As soon as 20 minutes were finished the dolphin was breathing!!! I put wet towels over its back and a giant beach umbrella to keep it damp and not to dry out. When I finished I ran back to the happy hump back centre to get the others. I came back with the vet and the waitress to help me lift it to the centre.
When we finally got the dolphin to the centre the vet did a check up on it. She said the dolphin was ok but needed injections to help it breathe and get stronger. I put it in a tank and named it Rosa. 7 days later the dolphin was great but still needed a few more doses to be able to defend its self in the wild. Finally 1 week later I let her free. “After all that I finally got to go diving” I said and I saw her having the time of her life dancing flipping and playing !!! 

by Harmoni



Dear Fishermen,

I am 12 years old and have been learning about plastic pollution in class. I know that this problem is speedily growing and can become worse than it already is. We did a beach clean and made surveys beforehand to see what one to use. When we went and did the beach clean we found out after that nets and rope was the most common amount of plastic found on the beach we cleaned.

The amount of rope we found was in-between three hundred and fifty to four hundred pieces. This means that fishermen have been dumping rope overboard and a lot of it as well. Rope can easily choke fish, choke seals and starve and choke literally all sea creatures. Rope and all plastics can be dangerous to animals and even turn and kill us. As a fisherman you rely on fish to catch. If we don’t sort the problem there will be no fish that are clear of plastic or in a long time no fish there. Would you like the food chain to be corrupt with plastics? Would you like to get poisoned by plastic waste? Would you like innocent creatures to die because of it?

As a fisherman that catches fish you want your fish to be somewhat edible and so it won’t poison your buyers or yourself if you decide to eat some of your catch. What you need to do is have a bag, a box or something like that to store your ropes so there’s no need to toss them overboard and so that they can be either re- used or dumped. Which is better than floating in the sea for animals to eat.

By Ciaran


Dear Reader,

My name is Rhys Gairns and I am 11 years old. I am writing this letter to inform you/the community why people should stop using plastic bottles. In school I am doing a topic of how harmful plastic is to the ocean and the environment. Every day over 60 million plastic bottles are thrown in the ocean, and over 2 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year. We found 14 plastic bottles in the beach outside the co-op alone, which could be washed into the ocean, harming the underwater wildlife. I feel that writing this letter might persuade some people to try to stop using plastic bottles, which would help the environment.

Over 100 thousand aquatic animals are killed every year because of plastic, and lots of those could have died because of plastic water bottles. Plastic never decomposes, which means every bit of plastic ever made is still here to this day. When a plastic bottle is thrown away, it breaks down into micro-plastics after around 10 years. As a micro-plastic fish can eat it, and when they do they think they are not hungry, when they are actually starving. Whenever an aquatic animal eats a bit of micro-plastic, when we eat the animal, we also get the plastic in our bodies. The plastic is not as dangerous for humans as it is animals, but would you like to get plastic in your body?

What I would like you, the reader, to do is stop using plastic bottles. You could use tin or metal water bottles, or a flask. After all, even one person stopping using plastic bottles could make a major good impact on the environment.

Yours Sincerely,

Rhys Gairns


Dear Reader,

My name is Holly, I go to Port Ellen Primary and I am writing to you about the large amount of plastics found on beaches around Islay. We have been learning about the impact of plastic on the sea and how it affects it. This letter is about trying to make everybody aware of the damage that is being caused to the sea and help prevent it.

Plastic can be devastating towards our seas. Marine mammals can get plastic bags stuck around their heads and suffocate, plastic bags can get stuck in some of the animal’s bodies and so much more. Do you think it’s fair for the animals to suffer because of us? Here are some sad but true facts about plastic.

  • Did you know that more than 1 trillion pieces of plastics are already floating in our oceans.
  • Worldwide more than 73% of beach litter is plastic.
  • World plastic production has increased exponentially from 2.1 million tonnes in 1950 to 147 million in 1993 to 406 million by 2015.
  • As of 2015, more than 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9 percent of that was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent put in landfills or the environment. 

It’s horrible to think that this is what plastic does to the environment and even worse to think that things will just get worse, but that won’t happen if everybody comes together and makes a stand against plastic. Just little changes could help save our environment and the animals that live in it. If you want to start making a difference start small like only using reusable bottles and bags. These little things will make a big difference and help save our planet.

Yours truly,

Holly Mckechnie.

Takeaway the Plastic!

Dear Editor, 

I am an 11 year old boy called Aaron Clarke from Port Ellen Primary school and I am very concerned about the use of plastics from around the Island, and I would really like if I could change your mind about your plastic use and make the world a better place. 

I am talking about Plastic Takeaway Boxes; this is a big problem because everybody loves a takeaway but the sea doesn’t. I know I love a takeaway and all the rubbish ends in the bin which end in a dump; did you know that 40% of the plastic that is used for packaging gets used once? If you think that’s the worse, a fifth of plastic doesn’t get recycled at all! Sea animals are accidently eating your plastic and dying because of it, and then it’s not just them consuming plastic because then their babies are eating it, then us as well so please stop. Would you like to choke and die on plastic takeaway boxes? Plastic doesn’t just disintegrate, as it takes over hundreds of years to break down; just break down not disappear. 

So I beg please stop using plastic. You can still have your takeaways, just please try not to get ones with plastic food packaging or at least reuse it. Or perhaps local business could find biodegradable takeaway boxes and cups rather than plastic ones.  So that’s all I ask for, ask for non-plastic packaging for your food; look up if they have a website and find out about their packaging before you buy. Thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope you can try this out. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Aaron Clarke 

Plastics; Friend or Foe?

Through a course of hundreds of years we have had a glorious yet destructive item, known as plastic. It is a durable material which is made from oil. It can be made into almost anything, from cups to cars. It is extremely common, and we even think that we could dump it anywhere with almost no consequences, but is that true?

Plastic is everywhere, which proves how reliable, cheap and popular it is. It could be used for packing, making anything inside a cardboard box safe from scratches or marks. And although people do say that oil is running out quickly, and it will be scarce sooner than we think, plastic doesn’t have much to do with that. Plastic only uses about 5% of oil in the world every year. It can’t hold anything, of course. A plastic bridge or a plastic skyscraper just couldn’t work, but as these things take years to make, and their materials are very expensive, it’s understandable why something as cheap as plastic wouldn’t be able to hold the weight. Plastic could also be used for transport. Plastic is lightweight, but strong with the right manufacturing. With it being light but strong, it is a perfect recipe for cars, to make them fast, durable and resistant to weak blows. Relating to its packing form, it can easily carry your shopping for only 5p most the time. You may complain that plastic bags break too often, but what do you expect for something that is 5p? Plastic is also extremely useful for power cords, as electricity cannot travel through plastic.

But, of course it has its disadvantages. Plastic probably has the biggest effect on the ocean out of everything it may damage. Plastic litters the street, the beach and most importantly the ocean. Plastics never break. The may decompose, but they only become micro-plastics, which is still dangerous to the environment and the sea life. If a sea creature eats a bit of plastic, it could harm its organs, and if it has children, its children would also have plastic in its body. Micro-plastics have this same effect. Plastic that is too big for an animal could either choke the animal if it tries to eat the plastic, or the plastic could get stuck around the animal, which could prevent it from eating, moving or it could tangle around the animal’s throat and choke it. If we eat something that has eaten plastic we would also be eating plastic, as fish can’t digest it. It’s not as dangerous for humans as it is for fish, but would you like to eat plastic?

In the end, plastic does have lots of benefits, and to stop using it altogether doesn’t seem like a good idea due to the amount of it we use and somethings would be impossible without it. But we should be wary on how much we use and what we do with our plastic and only use it where it is really necessary. Throwing it away is not a good idea and we should recycle as much as possible, and if people try to do things such as beach cleans to try to get rid of as much plastic as possible, I think we can live with plastic sustainably.

Beach Clean 2019

On Thursday 21st March the whole of Port Ellen Primary School went down to the co-op beach for a beach clean.  There was also people from high school to help, they where the John Muir group, and also ReJIG.  Before everyone went we got put into groups of 5. There was 10 groups. I got paired with Chloe, Katy, Christopher and Phoenix.  P67 had created a survey so we could find out what the different types of plastic were that we foundon the beach.  There were lots of small bits of plastic between 2.5 and 50cm long, but the biggest plastic pollutant was ropes and nets from fishing boats.  You can see the results in the graph below.  We collected 2 bags full of rubbish, lots of it was plastic. Altogether the school got 900 bits of plastic rubbish off the shore. When we left all the beach had was sand and seaweed.




Aloha Hawaii!

On Wednesday 13th of March Port Ellen Primary school met and chatted with 2 marine conservation scientists- streamed live from Hawaii!  Port Ellen is currently doing a whole school project on Marine Plastics and primary 4-6 have been designing their own Marine Rescue and Education Centres, and wanted to find out more about them from real life experts. The aim is to make links with lots of islands around the world who are also affected by the impacts of plastics in the seas, so their teacher Kate Brown emailed contacts in Hawaii.  Dr Gregg Levine is a veterinarian who works on Oahua with marine animals and lectures at the university, while Cameron Dabney is an education officer on Big Island and works for Dolphin Quest and they both joined up to answer lots of well researched questions from the children about their jobs and the impact of marine plastics on the environment-even though it was midnight in Hawaii!  The whole school were so engaged and really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss issues they care about deeply with others who are affected.  Thanks to Gregg and Cameron for taking time out to talk with us.

Transient Art

At their Joint Sessions, the Pre-5 unit and P1/2 have been learning about the 3rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  They enjoyed making fabulous pictures using their unusual art materials – straws, pompoms, beads, lolly sticks….but no glue!  This means that the material is not wasted but reused each time.  Children took pictures of their art instead.

Eco minutes 9.10.14

This was our first eco meeting with the new committee.

1. Welcome

2. We met everyone and found out about our roles.

3. Action Plan – We went over the action plan.  For the next meeting we have to decide what we want to start with.  We will start with 3 action points.

4. Green Flag – Our assessment is on 24.11.14.  We will decide what we need to do at the next meeting.

5. Getting the whole school involved – we talked about ways to get everyone involved.  New noticeboard.  Eco-assembly. New eco-code in all classes.

6. Action to be taken

Eco-committee to decide action points.

Anwen to come up with fundraising ideas.

Mrs Harrison to arrange date of eco assembly.

Media group to make eco code posters.

Secretary to arrange photos of everyone for the wall.

7. Next meeting 23.10.14

Learning about recycling

At the Pre-5 and P1/2 joint session the children were learning about recycling.  They sorted materials and decided which could be recycled.  They looked for the triangular recycling marks on the plastics and discovered lots of different numbers – because there are lots of different types of plastics.  These can all go in our pink recycling bags at home!

Eco Assembly

The new eco committee held their first eco assembly.  Eco monitors from each class reported to the school what had been happening in their classes – even our Pre-5 eco monitor who closes the door, switches off the light and helps take the fruit peelings to the worms!  The committee shared their ideas for the coming year with the school.

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