Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Introducing Fuse duck: coming to a university near you to save Albert Park’s pond

Posted by Avril Rhodes and Peter van der Graaf

Remember when there was a brief outbreak of blog posts on knitting? Remember branded goods and the debut of the Fuse gloves? The gloves flopped spectacularly, strangely no one wanted them, at all. I have the world’s only pair. That was not terribly good news as I still had a wool mountain at home and a one pair of Fuse gloves didn’t make so much as a small dent in the mountain.

Undeterred and still working my way through the mountain, three years on, the latest product is the Easter Fuse duck. Easter Fuse duck is inspired by the brave ducks of Albert Park, who live just across the road from AskFuse HQ, Parkside, Teesside University.  These outstanding ducks co-exist with a number of environmental challenges. These include, without any trace of exaggeration, fishermen with their trailing lines (and a nice line in swearing), large quantities of unsuitable food thrown at them by passers-by, rubbish of all kinds floating around (humans are behind this too), unruly groups on outsize fowl shaped pedalos, and noise pollution from many sources including a café, play park, a roller skating track, and seasonally, a full size funfair. Otherwise it’s a rural idyll.

Albert Park duck pond, Middlesbrough
It’s a tribute to the persistence of nature that despite everything so-called sophisticated humans do to disrupt duck life they continue, and even flourish. Pollution might be one thing somewhat out of our hands (although  not entirely), but why do we keep dropping litter, paying others to tidy it all up, and making it difficult for wildlife? It’s such a commonplace public health hazard (especially in urban areas) spoiling everyone’s enjoyment and consuming resources in the clean-up.

Fuse duck decided it was high tide (boom-tish!) for action; luckily, Fuse duck recognises the value of collaboration wearing the life-belt featuring our combined University colours. He is appealing to all Fuse researchers for help in finding a new home for him after all the public health dangers he faced and to learn more about how to combat these dangers for his fellow feathery friends in Albert Park. With all the expertise in Fuse on tangled-up fishing lines (complex systems), unruly groups (behaviour change), healthy eating in the face of austerity (health inequalities), play parks and roller skating tracks (early life and adolescence), hearing aids (healthy ageing) and knowledge of duck language (translational research), Fuse duck is keen to meet the researchers that can save his pond!

Fuse duck hard at work
So our environmental warrior would like to go on a road trip to visit all the Fuse Universities and public health researchers within them: to sit in on their fascinating meetings, experience their randomised controlled trials (RCTs) first hand, join their physical activities, share coffee mornings and indulge in the latest evidence review with long and incomprehensible titles. If you would like Fuse duck to visit you for a week, please let us know and he could be winging his way in your direction. All we ask is that you let us know how he is getting on in your public health wonderland by writing about his adventures and posting photos on the blog.

After his tour de force, Fuse duck has plans to fly further afield to see our friends in practice and policy land, so watch this space!

Can you give Fuse duck a good home?  If so then email Avril Rhodes on Avril.Rhodes@tees.ac.uk

1 comment:

  1. Avril and Peter, this is wonderful! Please give the Fuse Duck the flight co-ordinates for the Durham University Queen's Campus in time for the Complex Systems Research Programme inaugural event! A lecture by Prof Simon Murphy from Cardiff University and DECIPHer, next Tuesday, 29 April: http://www.fuse.ac.uk/event.php?eid=2498

    Fuse Duck can't miss us on the river Tees--a fine example of the persistence of nature (and nature-loving humans!). He can meet all sorts, from mute swan cygnets to grey seals....