• Is November World Sponge Month?

     

    Elephant Ear Sponge for World Sponge Month

    Is World Sponge Month in November?
    Probably not, but celebrate anyway!
    Elephant ear sponge photo by Florida Keys National Maritime Sanctuary; Public Domain

     

    So… Lots of holiday sites and blogs tell us November is World Sponge Month.

    But is it really?

    These sites list the month, but they don’t tell us anything about it. A few offer opinions on things like germy sponges, SpongeBob, and even the Today sponge.

    But nothing about how the month started or why it exists. A few sites include links that lead nowhere.

    But many of those links do have one thing in common. They were linking to some kind of sponge conference from past years.

    So that’s apparently where World Sponge Month came from.

    From the World Sponge Conference.

     

    What The Heck is a World Sponge Conference?

     
    I’ll bet that’s what you’re asking. It’s certainly the first question that popped into my mind.

    Well, it’s apparently a conference for scientists to talk about sponge science.

    Yes. Sponge science.

    It’s a real science. And a real conference.

    Scientists from around the world gather approximately every 3 to 4 years to talk about sponges.

    In 2013 the theme for the ninth World Sponge Conference was ‘New Frontiers in Sponge Science’. It took place in western Australia, where apparently a lot of different sponges grow. The conference’s mission was to “highlight this diversity and inspire research within these habitats…”
     

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    Why November?

     

    Well, apparently it’s because the 2013 conference was held in November.

    But the 8th conference in 2010 was in September (in Girona, Spain). And the 10th conference is scheduled for June 2017 (in Galway, Ireland).

    As far as we can tell, earlier conferences were no more likely to be held in November, either. We found a reference to the 7th International Sponge Conference in Rio de Janeiro, held in May 2006.

    So no. We suspect there’s no worldwide celebration of sponges in November.
    But if you happen to think living sponges are fascinating—and who wouldn’t—there’s certainly no reason you can’t celebrate anyway.

    Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this unofficial holiday.
     

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    Ideas for Celebrating World Sponge Month

     
    So having a sponge themed party and/or dressing as a sponge are probably not great options for celebrating the sponge.

    Although if you like those ideas go for it!

    Or if your kid likes SpongeBob (or you do… No judgment!) A SpongeBob themed party could certainly work.

    But if you just find living sponges interesting, consider learning some more about them.

     

    Take a look at the huge sponge here:
     

     

    If you’d like to read about sponges, consider one of these books:

     

    These books are a bit old, but basic sponge anatomy hasn’t changed! There are also some more recent academic books, but unless you’re really interested in sponges, you may not want to pay the $100+ those books cost.

    Your kids might like:

    • Sponges, by Meryl Magby: Suggested for readers aged 7-10 years, this book explains how sponges eat, reproduce, and more.
    • Sponges (Creatures of the Sea), by Kris Hirschmann: Recommended for ages 8 and up.
    • Sea Sponges (Underwater World), by Deborah Coldiron: Suggested age range is 6-9years.

     

    Explore the biology of sponges (after a brief talk about harvesting sponges) in this 10-minute video from Jonathan Bird’s Blue World:
     


     

    So, have you been inspired to celebrate World Sponge Month this year?
     

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