Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Environmental Protection's Agency "How's My Waterway" Tool}

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a government agency with the mission to protect human health and the environment. The EPA created a fun tool called "How's My Waterway?" that you can use on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. This tool allows you to look up the condition of local streams, lakes, rivers, and other waters in the United States. The program uses the GPS location of your phone or a city or zip code to find waterways within five miles. See if your waterway was checked for pollution, what was found, and what is being done. The tool provides descriptions of each type of pollutant, likely sources and potential health risks. You can also find information on local drinking water sources and watersheds. 

Frannie is going to use this tool to:
  • find out more about her local water 
  • share what she has learned with her family, friends, and classmates
  • get involved with local water protection efforts
There are so many ways Frannie (and you!) can take action to protect water resources! Here are just a few ideas:

1. Get a Groundwater Guardian team started in your community or join an existing team! Groundwater Guardian is a nationwide network of teams of committed individuals that lead groundwater education and protection activities like labeling storm drains, organizing river clean-ups, holding groundwater festivals, distributing water testing kits, and more in their local communities!

2. Establish a Groundwater Guardian Green Site. A Green Site can be any green space (a park, ball field, zoo, educational campus, etc.). The program helps site managers learn more about groundwater-friendly maintenance practices.

3. Install a rain garden in your community. Building a rain garden is a fun project that will not only look great, but will help improve water quality.

4. Get involved in local wellhead protection efforts to help your community protect its drinking water. 

5. Organize a stream, river, or lake clean-up. Make an immediate difference in protecting water quality by picking up litter and debris from a water body in your community.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Stream, River, or Lake Clean-Up}

Hi Friends! Are you looking for a fun activity you can do with your class, extracurricular group, family, or friends that will benefit the whole community? Consider holding a clean-up of a local stream, river, or lake! Debris and trash can sometimes end up in places where it doesn't belong. The shore and banks of many water bodies tend to collect a lot of unwanted items. Get a group of people together to clean up a stream, river, or lake to improve local water quality.

Frannie is going to get her local Groundwater Guardian team involved in her clean-up efforts!

Here's what you need:
  • Plastic gloves
  • Wading boots
  • Trash bags
  • Sun protection - sun screen, hats, sunglasses, etc.

Here's what you do:
1. Be sure to read through and follow The Groundwater Foundation's Safety First rules.
2. Make sure everyone has on proper attire (appropriate shoes and gloves for collecting debris and trash, sunscreen, etc.).
3. Pair up participants in teams of two or more.
4. Provide each team with gloves and trash bags.

5. Divide up into adult-supervised groups and start collecting trash from the banks and shoreline.

For more fun:
  • Separate the items collected into recyclable and garbage piles. 
  • Weigh the items collected!
  • Make the activity a friendly competition. Who can find the oddest or most surprising item? Who can find the biggest or smallest item?

Send photos of your clean up activity to The Groundwater Foundation

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!