Behind the Blog

Initially, I called this blog the "Build With Me Blog" because "build with me" was the request that I heard the most often from my two year old daughter. While the blog and my own DUPLO builds started out as something that I could do with my daughter, it has evolved into something more for me. While we most definitely still build together, we also now build in parallel.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Under the Duplo Sea - Seahorse and Seagrass

Duplo Seahorse in Seagrass

     I was about ten years old when I first saw a live seahorse. I was sitting on top of an old tire inner tube half dreaming, half staring into the soft yellow green Gulf waters when a patch of brown seaweed came into focus. I noticed a tiny brown seahorse, no longer than an inch or two, clinging to the seaweed. Almost perfectly camouflaged, the seahorse looked as if it had grown from the plant itself. I scooped him up with some water to show my mom and sister who were just as excited as I was about the tiny creature. After we released him back into the water, we began to examine every piece of seaweed that we encountered. And there was a lot of it that day. It was one of those days when every wave wrapped scratchy pieces of it around your arms and legs. Every piece we found had a least one seahorse attached to its branches. There had to have been hundreds of seahorses in the water, so many that even my sofa loving, water avoiding brother waded into the surf to see the creatures.
Duplo Seahorse
     After that day, we never saw the seahorses again. Our neighbor, Mrs. Weatherford, was our local expert on the Gulf. A direct descendant of the Creek Indian warrior William Weatherford, Mrs. Weatherford was in her sixties at the time of our seahorse encounter and lived at the beach all year around. She had grown up on the beach and knew it well. We told her about the hundreds of seahorses that we saw drifting along with the seaweed and that had seemingly just disappeared. She told us that when she was little, you could find seahorses in the water close to shore all of the time. Some were so large that you could see them swimming in the wall of water that builds up to the wave's crest. She said that their numbers dropped over the years, and she just didn't see them anymore.
    I am in my 30's now, and I have seen that the number of sea creatures in the Gulf along the shoreline is a lot smaller than what it was when I was little. It is almost as if the Gulf is dying. I am hoping that the attention that the BP oil spill has brought to the Gulf Coast will make people as passionate as I am about saving these waters! I hope that Bella will one day encounter a seahorse in the wild as I once did.
Side View      

    In the meantime, we build Duplo seahorses. I am including a side view to show how to wrap the seahorse's tail around the seagrass. We made a simpler seahorse first (shown below). While we were building this first version, my memories of seeing the Gulf seahorses bubbled up in my mind, and they made me wonder if we could make a seahorse that wrapped around something. For our second seahorse, we added the seagrass.

Simplified Seahorse

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