Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Nebraska MEDS Coalition - Drug Take Back Program}

Attention Nebraska friends:

Did you know that 85% of Nebraskans rely on groundwater for their drinking water? Groundwater is also an important source for irrigation (the water used to grow our food). It's not only important that we conserve groundwater, it is also important that we protect it from contamination. Groundwater contamination occurs when substances in the groundwater make it unfit for an intended purpose and can cause harm to people, animals and the environment. Contaminants can be naturally-occurring or manmade- like gasoline, oil, road salts, or other chemicals. Frannie wants to talk about another group of manmade contaminants today- pharmaceuticals and personal care products, including:
  • Cleaning and laundry products
  • Make-up products
  • Sunscreen and other moisturizers
  • Vitamins and dietary supplements
  • Medicines (prescription, over-the-counter, veterinary, etc.)
Find out more about these products here.

These products help keep us healthy and clean, but if they are disposed of improperly, they can end up in surface and groundwater. Improperly disposing of medications includes: flushing down toilets and drains or tossing in the trash.

Instead, be a leader and talk with your parent/guardian about making sure these products are properly disposed of with the Nebraska MEDS drug take-back program! Remember: never handle these products. Let your parent/guardian handle all medicines and personal care products.

The Nebraska MEDS Coalition is a group of state and community partners that educate Nebraskans about proper drug disposal and provide safe, convenient disposal opportunities! There are over 290 pharmacies across Nebraska that participate in the Nebraska MEDS drug take-back program and will take back leftover, unused, or expired medications all year round. Since 2012 when the program began, 33,176 pounds of medications have been collected and safely disposed of! Help be part of the solution and find a pharmacy near you!  

It is important that we all play a part in protecting this precious resource! Talk with your parent/guardian about protecting groundwater by taking back unused or expired medications today. Show them this fun infographic with more information.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish {Water Use Collage}

This week Frannie wants to share a fun art project you can do at home to explore how you use water every day and how you can conserve it - by making a water use collage!

Here's what you'll need:
  • A writing utensil
  • A piece of paper
  • Poster board
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Magazines, newspapers, etc. that you can cut up

Here's what you do:

1. Every day we use water - for drinking, bathing, cooking, washing our clothes, etc. Water is also "hidden" in the items we use every day - for example, it takes water to grow the cotton in our t-shirts! 

Start by making a list on the piece of paper of all the ways you use water every day, include water activities as well as items that contain "hidden" water. Check out The Groundwater Foundation's 30by30 app to help you create your list.

2. Now that you have your list, look through magazines and newspapers for images of those activities and items.

3. Glue the images to the poster board. Feel free to draw the activities if you can't find a picture. Leave enough space to write a sentence or two by each of the images you glue or draw.

4. Next to each activity or item, write easy ways you can reduce water while doing the activities featured on your collage. For example, next to the image of a toothbrush or toothpaste, you could write "Turn the water off when brush your teeth." Or next to the image of a t-shirt, you could write "Shop at a thrift or consignment store for clothes." According to the Water Footprint Network it takes over 2,000 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans. That's a lot of water that can be saved by simply buying used! (A friendly tip: 30by30 has lots of fun, easy suggestions for reducing your water use!)

5. Teach others the importance of conserving water by sharing your masterpiece, either by hanging it in a public place, like a library or a school, or sharing it at a public meeting, like a city council or village board meeting. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Searchable Resource Library}

Hi friends! Frannie is so excited to share a great, new tool developed by The Groundwater Foundation you can use to find fun, educational activities! The searchable resource library features over 60 easy-to-use, hands-on activity instructions, curriculum guides, how-to videos, crosswords, word searches, coloring sheets, and more! Search by:
  • Age
  • Duration
  • Key topic (i.e. - irrigation, water quality, climate/weather, etc.)
  • Category (i.e.-outdoor, messy, arts and crafts, etc.)

You can also search for activities directly by name, such as "Aquifer in a Cup." Results display an image of the activity, the activity name, a description and a link to a how-to video (if available), and a link to additional details and to download the instructions.

Check out this awesome tool and let us know what you think by completing a brief survey!

Support for the development and launch of the online resource library is provided by the National Academy of Sciences and Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Make Your Own Rain Gauge}

It's been raining a lot in Frannie the Fish's neighborhood recently and she wanted to know exactly how much rain has fallen. So Frannie decided to create her own rain gauge to keep track. Follow Frannie's instruction to make your own rain gauge!

Here's what you'll need:
  • A plastic bottle with a flat bottom
  • Scissors 
  • A ruler
  • A permanent marker
  • Stickers (optional)

Here's what you do:
1. Begin by removing all the labeling and cleaning the plastic bottle.

2. Take the scissors and the cut off approximately the top third of the bottle.

3. Flip the top third of the bottle upside down and insert it into the plastic bottle.

4. Using the ruler, mark 1/4", 1/2", and 1" increments starting from the bottom of the plastic bottle. For more fun, use stickers and markers to decorate your rain gauge.

5. Place your rain gauge outside. You can use twine to tie it to a post, bury it, or use another method to ensure it stays upright.

6. Check your rain gauge after a storm to see how much rain has fallen.

Remember friends Frannie's blog is now bi-weekly, she will back July 27th with another fun activity!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {"Let's Keep It Clean!" Patch Program Updates}

Hello friends! Frannie the Fish has a few announcements to make. The Groundwater Foundation's Girl Scout patch program is undergoing some changes, but don't worry the "Let's Keep It Clean!" patches and booklets will still be available. The Groundwater Foundation's staff will also continue to be available for assistance.
Mark your calendars! Starting next week, Frannie's blog will be bi-weekly, instead of weekly. 

    We want to hear about your experience with the "Let's Keep It Clean!" patch program. Let us know how the program has worked for you! Reach out to The Groundwater Foundation at with your experience or if you have any questions.
    See you next week with a fun water-wise activity!

    Wednesday, June 29, 2016

    It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Water Cycle In A Bag}

    Frannie wants to share a fun and easy activity you can do to see the water cycle, or hydrologic cycle, in action! Water is always on the move. From the time the earth was formed, it has been endlessly circulating through the water cycle. Groundwater is an important part of this continuous cycle where a majority of the usable freshwater on earth is stored. Find out more about the water cycle!

    Here's what you need:
    •  A large Ziploc bag
    • Gravel
    • Water
    • Food dye
    • Cup
    • A permanent marker
    • Tape

    Here's what you do:
    1. Begin by reviewing the water cycle diagram below. Remember that Frannie is making a simplified version of the water cycle. In reality, water can take many different paths and it can stay in one form for a very long time (did you know water can be stored in glaciers for thousands of years?)
    Image courtesy of the United States Geological Survey

     2. Next, use the large Ziploc bag and permanent marker to label parts of your bag with the steps of the water cycle.

    3. Mix the food dye and water together in the cup. This will make it easier to see the water as it moves!

    4. Add gravel to your bag, then slowly pour the dyed water over the gravel. You can think of this as rainwater that falls on the ground (the gravel) and seeps into the spaces between the rocks and becomes groundwater. You have created an aquifer in your bag! An aquifer is an underground geological formation of sand, soil, gravel and rock able to store and yield water.

    5. Seal your Ziploc bag and tape it to a window that gets a lot of sun. Over the next few days, watch as the water in your bag moves!

    The sun will shine, warming the water until it turns into a vapor in the air (evaporation). When the water gathers and cools it will turn from a vapor make into a liquid (condensation). When there is enough condensation, the water will fall back onto the gravel (precipitation). This water will soak back into the aquifer (recharge) and become groundwater.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Giant Bubbles}

    Its summertime and that means swimming, riding bikes, and playing outside! Frannie wants to share a fun, outdoor activity that you can do with your Girl Scout troop:

    Giant Bubbles!

    Here's what you'll need:
    • Small child's plastic swimming pool
    • Cement block
    • Hoola-hoop
    There are two recipes you can use to make the soap for your giant bubbles:

    Recipe A
    2 bottles of white Karo syrup (32 ounces)
    3 bottles of Lemon Joy dish-washing liquid (32 ounces)


    Recipe B
    2 cups Dawn dish-washing liquid
    1/4 cup glycerine

    Recipe A
    1. Pour the ingredients in a five gallon container, fill the rest of the container with water.
    2. Stir and let set overnight.

    Recipe B
    1. Mix the ingredients, add enough water to make a gallon.
    2. Gently stir.

    Here's what you do:
    1. Pour the bubble solution into the plastic swimming pool. A cement block placed in the middle of the pool will provide a safe place for the Girl Scouts to stand.
    2. A plastic hoola-hoop acts as the bubble wand. Simply place the hoop in the bubbles and lift out of the pool and up over the Girl Scout's head.

    Safety First: 
    This activity is very messy and very slippery. Several volunteers need to be on hand to help the Girl Scouts in and out of the bubble pool.  

    Share pictures of you and your troop inside Giant Bubbles!