Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Holiday Upcycling: Bottle Cap Olaf Ornaments}

Why Upcycling?

Want to learn why Frannie is doing an upcycling project this week? Check out the Upcycled Clothing Pin Snowflake Ornament blog here.

This Week's Project:
Bottle Cap Olaf Ornament
Frannie found some old bottle caps sitting in her desk, and she decided to upcycle them into her favorite Frozen snowman: Olaf!


Materials:
  • 3 bottle caps
  • scissors
  • white paint
  • white, black, and orange construction paper or foam sheets
  • hot glue gun
  • string or ribbon
  • sticks (can be collected for free outside!)
  • small, white pom poms

Instructions:

  1. Collect 3 bottle caps. 
  2. Paint the bottle caps white. This may take several layers of paint.
     
  3. Glue the three bottle caps together using a hot glue gun. It's helpful to ask for the assistance of an adult when doing this part of the activity. For extra support, glue a piece of string across the back of all three bottle caps. 
  4. Add the stick arms, buttons, and pom pom feet using the glue gun. If you don't have black buttons, you can use black construction paper.
  5. Using the scissors, cut out the elements of Olaf's face: mouth (with large front tooth), carrot nose, eyes, and eyebrows. Glue these elements to the top bottle cap. You can add a small pom pom to add a cheek to your Olaf if you wish. 
  6. Finish your Olaf ornament by gluing a looped piece of string to the back of the top bottle cap. Congratulations! You have just made an Upcycled Bottle Cap Olaf Ornament! 
For More Fun:

Make a snowman family! Using different items you find around the house (buttons, scraps of yarn or fabric, craft supplies such as glitter, etc.) make some friends for Olaf. Get creative and have fun!

Share: 

Share photos of you or your troop with your Upcycled Bottle Cap Olaf Ornaments here!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Holiday Upcycling: Toilet Paper Roll Wreaths}

Why Upcycling?

Want to learn why Frannie is doing an upcycling project this week? Check out last week's blog here.

This Week's Project:
Toilet Paper Roll Wreaths
Frannie loves holiday wreaths! She thinks they are a neat way to add a festive touch to a room. Frannie loves that she can use her old toilet paper rolls to create beautiful wreaths for her home!

Materials:
  • 9 toilet paper rolls
  • scissors
  • green paint
  • small red circles (think buttons, construction paper, etc. Frannie used scraps of red foam)
  • glue
  • string or ribbon

Instructions:
  1. Collect 9 toilet paper rolls. You can also use 4 paper towel rolls or 1 wrapping paper roll. 
  2. Cut the toilet paper rolls into smaller pieces - about 3/4" wide. You'll need 5 smaller pieces to make one flower, and you'll need a total of 45 pieces to make 9 flowers. 
  3. Paint each piece green. 
  4. Arrange the pieces the way you would like them to look. You can use the photo as an example. Then, glue your pieces together. 
  5. Adorn your green wreath with red "berry" accents. You can use red buttons, red circles cut out from construction paper, or anything else you can think of! Place them around the wreath according to taste and glue them in place.
  6. Congratulations! You have just made an Upcycled Toilet Paper Roll Wreath! Hang it somewhere special to add a lovely holiday touch to a room.
For More Fun:

Add layers to your wreath! If you have extra toilet paper rolls, you can create more flowers to add more layers and dimension to your wreath. Get creative and have fun!

Share: 

Share photos of you or your troop with your Upcycled Toilet Paper Roll Wreath here!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Holiday Upcycling: Clothing Pin Snowflake Ornament}

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 

This month, Frannie wants to focus on the second R - Reuse. One way we can reuse things is by repurposing them or upcycling them. Upcycling is the process of taking something that would normally be thrown away and making it new and usable again. Upcycling is a great way to reduce our waste and conserve water! 

How does upcycling reduce waste and conserve water? 

Upcycling reduces the need to use new, raw materials when making a new product. By using old materials instead of new materials, less energy and water is used. Furthermore, air pollution and water pollution are reduced!

Over the next four weeks, Frannie is going to share some of her favorite holiday upcycling projects! All of these projects are made from common items you may find around your home.

This week's project: 
Upcycled Clothing Pin Snowflake Ornament



Frannie was looking through her home for fun items to upcycle when she came across some broken clothing pins. With some creativity (and the help of Pinterest), Frannie decided to make a snowflake ornament out of her broken clothing pins!

Materials:

  • 8 clothing pins (or 16 halves of clothing pins)
  • white paint
  • paint brush
  • glue
  • string
Instructions:
  1. Gather together your 8 clothing pins. You'll need both halves of each clothing pin for a total of 16 pieces. 
  2. Paint each clothing pin white. 
  3. Glue the clothing pin halves together as shown in the photo. You should end up with 8 snowflake pieces. Thread a string through the hole in one piece. 
  4. Glue four snowflake pieces together into a "+" shape as shown in the photo. 
  5. Glue the final four snowflake pieces into the corners of the already glued pieces, making sure the snowflake piece with the string is located where you would like the "top" of your snowflake to be. 
  6. Congratulations! You have just made an Upcycled Clothing Pin Snowflake Ornament! Hang it up as a winter decoration or wrap it up to give as a gift.
For More Fun:

Get creative! Add color to your snowflake or a touch of glitter. Write a special message on it or have all the girls from your troop sign their names on it. Have fun!

Share:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 6}

This week is our last week in our Saving Energy, Saving Water series on Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! To end our series and kick-off the holiday season, Frannie wanted to share ways you can save energy and save water by how you use (or don't use) holiday lights!

1. Use LED holiday lights. 
As Frannie shared in part 4 of the Saving Energy, Saving Water series, LED lights are more efficient than standard incandescent lights and use less energy!
Frannie loves hanging LED icicle lights from her fence.

2. Limit the light you use. 
Only turn your outdoor lights on when it gets dark outside and remember to turn them off when you head to bed. If you have trouble remembering to turn your lights on or off, you can use a timer to automatically turn your lights on and off during certain hours every evening. Also remember to unplug any indoor holiday lights (such as tree lights) when you leave a room! 

3. Utilize fire instead of electric lights. 
If you have a fireplace, you can use the fireplace to help heat your home while providing light for a room, helping to save energy in two different ways! Even if you don't have a fireplace, using candles instead of electric lights can help save energy as well. Remember to never leave a burning candle unattended and always ask an adult for assistance when lighting a fire in a fireplace. Fire safety is very important!
Frannie enjoys lighting candles during the holidays to decorate and add light to a room.

4. Don't throw away those old, burned-out lights. 
You can upcycle them into beautiful ornaments, centerpieces, or wreaths and re-purpose them. Upcycling is a great way to reduce waste and reduce the amount of water we use in the creation of new materials. It is also a lot of fun! Frannie enjoys upcycling so much that she plans to devote the next four weeks to holiday upcycling projects. So, stay tuned for fun activities you can do with your family, friends, and troop that will help reduce waste and conserve water!

How are you saving energy and saving water this holiday season? Do you have more ideas other than the ones we discussed the past six weeks in Frannie's blog series? Share them here!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 5}

"If all U.S. households installed water-efficient appliances, the country would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion dollars per year!" 
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The types of appliances we use as well as how we use them can play a large role in our energy consumption and water use. This week, Frannie wanted to share a simple way you can help save energy and save water in your household:


Always run full loads of clothing in your washing machine and full loads of dishes in your dishwasher.


This dishwasher is not full enough for Frannie!
She knows she can save energy and water by waiting to run
the dishwasher until it is completely full.
This simple tip can:
  1. Reduce the number of times you need to run the dishwasher and washing machine,
  2. Reduce the amount of water you use, and
  3. Reduce the amount of energy you use!

How will you cut back on energy use this week? Share your thoughts with us here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 4}

In the first week of the Saving Energy, Saving Water series, Frannie briefly mentioned that using energy efficient light bulbs is a good way to save energy and save water. This week, Frannie wants to share more about what she has learned on this topic!
Frannie with a LED, CFL, and incandescent light bulb.
Traditional light bulbs are called incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs are generally affordable upfront, but they have a short bulb life, and they consume much more energy than their energy-efficient counterparts. This can make them a more expensive option in the long-run.

There are two main types of energy-efficient light bulbs: CFL and LED. CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp and LED stands for light emitting diode. CFLs and LEDs typically use between 25-80% less energy than incandescents, and they last from 3-25 times as long (DOE, energy.gov).
Frannie replaced all of her old incandescent light bulbs
with LED bulbs in order to save energy and save water!
It is important to note that CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury and thus require proper disposal. You can find a place to properly recycle your CFL bulbs at http://search.earth911.com/.

Check out this chart from the Department of Energy (energy.gov) for more information comparing incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs!
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Have you replaced incandescent lights in your home with energy-saving CFL or LED lights? Share your photos and stories with us here!






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 3}

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE, energy.gov), "Heating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes." Furthermore, the DOE estimates that reducing air leaks in your home can save 10% on heating and cooling costs!

For this reason, Frannie wanted to spend this week focusing on saving energy and saving water by reducing air leaks in her home. To do this, Frannie researched easy ways she could insulate areas of her house that were a bit drafty.
First, Frannie noticed a draft coming through the bottom of one of her doors. To fix this draft, she installed a rubber door sweep. Frannie required the help of an adult to install a door sweep. If you don't have an adult to help you install a door sweep, you can achieve the same effect by rolling up a towel or blanket and placing it against the drafty area of the door.
Second, Frannie noticed another draft coming from her electrical outlets! Frannie was surprised to find a draft coming from her outlets, but after some quick research she discovered that this is a common problem in many older homes. She also found that the solution to this problem was quite simple! All she had to do was place a foam outlet insulator within the outlet. You can purchase these foam insulators at your local hardware store.
Finally, Frannie noticed that some of the windows in her home were also a bit drafty. To reduce the draft, she decided to place a plastic seal on them for the winter. To do this, she purchased a kit from her local hardware store and sealed the plastic with a hair dryer!

All three of these projects were quick and easy fixes for Frannie, and she is excited to see how much energy and water she will save! Now, she wants to challenge all of her Girl Scout friends to search for drafts in their own homes, and to save energy and save water by fixing the drafts! You can share how you have fixed drafts in your own home here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water: Part 2}

This week, Frannie is saving energy and saving water by unplugging appliances and electronics that are not being used.

Did you know that a typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power? Together, these 40 products draw almost 10% of total residential energy use! (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, http://standby.lbl.gov/standby.html)

You can help save energy and save water by unplugging appliances and electronics that are not being used too! For example, Frannie makes sure to power down her laptop and unplug it when she is not using it.



Another way to reduce energy consumption from idle appliances and electronics is by plugging them into a power strip. A power strip can be easily shut off or unplugged and can make unplugging multiple products at once (such as a TV, VCR, and entertainment system) an easy task.

Frannie wants to hear about how you are saving energy by unplugging appliances and electronics! What products will you unplug this week to help save energy and save water? Tell Frannie here. 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday With Frannie the Fish! {Saving Energy, Saving Water}

Did you know that the water used during electric power generation makes up 48 percent of our total water usage in the United States? That is because almost every time you use electricity, water is used to turn turbines, produce steam, or to cool equipment used to produce the electricity. Over the next few weeks, Frannie is going to share some tips that will help you save energy to save water!

This week's energy saving tips are about how to save energy with your lighting. 
  

Tip 1: Turn off the lights when you leave a room! Artificial lighting uses about 15% of the electricity in your home. If you're not using a light, turn it off! 

Tip 2: Open the blinds or curtains in your house during the day. This will allow you to use the natural light of the sun!
Tip 3: Use a lamp at night when reading or doing school work and turn off the main light in the room. Lamps usually use one light bulb when the main light often uses multiple light bulbs. One light bulb will use less energy than multiple light bulbs! 
Tip 4: Talk to your parents about using energy efficient light bulbs. For more information about which light bulbs will work best in your home, visit the US Energy Department's website by clicking here.

Do you have energy saving methods you use at home? Share them with us here!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {For the Leaders}

This Wednesday, Frannie wants to share a fantastic resource that is currently available on The Groundwater Foundation's website with all Girl Scout Troop Leaders and any other adults interested in doing groundwater activities with youth:





The Leader Resources webpage contains many different types of resources to assist adults in running groundwater activities with Girl Scouts or other youth groups. These resources currently include:

  • Groundwater 101 Webinar
  • How-To Videos for Nine, Fun Groundwater Activities
  • Links to the Let's Keep It Clean Pinterest Page
  • And much more!

Furthermore, Frannie and her friends at The Groundwater Foundation are always looking for ways to improve these resources and keep them current! If you have any ideas or suggestions for resources you would find useful, simply fill out this form here! We look forward to hearing from you! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Water Travel Scavenger Hunt}

Frannie loves when it rains, but sometimes she wonders where does the rain go after it falls from the clouds? Frannie decided she could find out where the rain goes by doing a water travel scavenger hunt to find places where the water might travel. Below are instructions to help you do the scavenger hunt too!

What you will need:
  • Writing utensil, markers, or crayons
  • Paper 
What to do:
  • Think of places around your home, school, or neighborhood where water might travel.
  • Create your own list or use the Water Travel Check List below to help identify water's path.
        Water Travel Check List:
    • Falls on the roof and down the gutters
    • Runs into the street
    • Soaks into the ground
    • Drains down the storm sewer
    • Hits the top of an umbrella
    • Flows to a nearby stream
    • Waters the garden
    • Filters to the roots for use by a plant
    • Falls in a bird bath
    • Drank by an animal
  •  (Optional) Do this on a rainy day. Follow a rain drop and check off the locations the rain drop goes on your checklist. If it's not a rainy day, follow the water coming from a sprinkler, a garden hose, a watering can, or imagine where a raindrop might go!

Frannie following the path of some raindrops.

  •  After you have found places water could go, make a map of the journey water might take starting from falling from a cloud. See the example below:
 Click here to share your findings with us!



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {There's No New Water}

Did you know there is no new water? The water we drink today is the water the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago! That is why we all have a responsibility to protect and conserve water in all its forms!
One of Frannie's favorite activities demonstrating the amount of drinkable freshwater on the planet is called There's No New Water. For instructions on how to run the activity yourself, Frannie recommends watching this video:


In There's No New Water, a 5-gallon bucket is used to represent all of the water on Earth including the water that is contained in the atmosphere, glaciers, ice caps, lakes, rivers, oceans, groundwater, and streams. Check out the photo of some Girl Scouts doing the activity below!
Have you participated in There's No New Water? Share your story and photos here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {5 Minute Challenge}

Frannie knows how important it is to save water every day, so she limits herself to a 5 minute shower. A quick shower uses 20-30 fewer gallons of water than taking a bath or a 10 minute shower! 

Frannie wants YOU to take the 5 minute shower challenge. It's easy! Just follow these directions:


  • Take a timer and set it for 5 minutes. 
  • Make sure you are finished with your shower when the timer goes off. 
  • You can start a journal and track how much water you have saved!
  • Challenge your family members to do the same. Use your journal to track how much water your entire family has saved!
Share the results of your 5 minute challenge with us here. We'd love to see how much water you've saved! 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Water Leak Detectives}

Did you know that 10% of homes in the United States have water leaks that waste more than 90 gallons of water a day? (www.epa.gov) 

In order to find and diagnose common household leaks, Frannie invented a fun, new game called Water Leak Detectives! You and your troop can play this game together, or you can play it at home by yourself with the help of a parent or guardian.

In Water Leak Detectives, you will play the role of the detective on search for water leaks! A successful detective will need the following items:
  • Notepad
  • Writing Utensil
  • Food Coloring
  • Flashlight
Frannie is ready to be a Water Leak Detective!
The first place to start when playing Water Leak Detectives is at the water meter. A water meter is a device used to measure the amount of water a household uses. You will have to use your detective skills to locate the water meter in your house! Common locations include an outside wall, under the sink, or in the basement. 
Frannie's water meter is in her basement by the water heater.
It's dark down there, so she needed a flashlight
to read the numbers on the meter.
Once you find your water meter, record the number on the dial. This number tells you how much water a household has used. If this number increases when no water is being used, that means there is a leak! Frannie recommends waiting at least an hour without using any water before checking to see if the number has changed.

If your water meter didn't change during that hour - congratulations! Your household is leak-free. However, if the number changed even a small amount, you have a leak somewhere in the house that needs to be repaired. Now you need to continue using your detective skills to find that leak!

Toilets are often the culprit of unseen leaks. To check to see if a toilet has a leak, Frannie recommends placing one drop of food coloring in the toilet tank and waiting 15 minutes to see if any of the color shows up in the toilet bowl. If color shows up in the bowl - you have found a leak! Make sure to flush the toilet right away after this experiment to prevent any staining to the toilet.
Frannie used green food coloring to check for a toilet leak.
Thankfully, there was no leak!
Water faucets are also common locations of water leaks. These leaks can sometimes be easily diagnosed by dripping from the faucet head. However, sometimes the leak can occur under the sink. Frannie recommends using your flashlight to explore all around a faucet and sink, including underneath the sink, to search for any signs of a water leak.
Frannie checked under all of her sinks for a sign of a leak.
If your toilets and faucets are in good condition, and you still haven't found the leak, here are some other places Frannie recommends checking for leaks:
  • Showerheads
  • Water Heater Tanks
  • Washing Machines
  • Dishwashers
  • All Outdoor Faucets/Garden Hoses

If you still haven't found the leak, not to worry! Even good detectives need help sometimes. Frannie recommends having an adult call an expert plumber to help you diagnose the leak.

And, of course, once you find the leak it is important to tell an adult about the leak so that they can fix it or bring in an expert to fix the leak!

Happy sleuthing, Water Leak Detectives!

Want to share your detective experience? Tell Frannie about it here.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday With Frannie the Fish {Edible Aquifers}

Frannie likes to learn about groundwater by using hands on activities, so this week she is going to help you learn all about aquifers by creating your own yummy treats! 


Edible aquifers are a fun and easy way to understand the geology of an aquifer. Your edible aquifer will help you learn about confining layers, contamination, groundwater recharge and water tables!

Here is what you will need to make your edible aquifer: 
Clear plastic cups
• Ice cream scoop
• Spoons
• Drinking straws
• Blue/red food coloring
• Vanilla ice cream or fruity sorbet
• Clear soda pop
• Small gummy bears, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, breakfast cereal, or crushed ice
• Variety of colored cake decoration sprinkles and sugars


What you will need to do: 
1. Begin to make your edible aquifer by filling the clear plastic cup 1/3 full with gummy bears,
chocolate chips, or crushed ice (This represents sand and gravel).
2. Add enough soda (this represents the water) to just cover the candy/ice.
3. Add a layer of ice cream to make a “confining layer” over the water-filled aquifer.
4. Then add more “sand/gravel” on top of the confining layer.
5. Colored sugars and sprinkles will represent soils and should be sprinkled over the top to create the
porous top layer. 

6. Now add the food coloring to the soda. The food coloring represents contamination. Pour the colored soda over the top of the aquifer.
7. Watch what happens when it is poured on the top of the aquifer. This is what happens when contaminants are spilled on the earth’s surface.
8. Using a drinking straw, drill a well into the center of your aquifer by poking the straw through the aquifer.
9. Slowly begin to pump the well by sucking on the straw. Watch the water go down in the water table.
10. Notice how the contaminants can get sucked into the well area and end up in the groundwater by
leaking through the confining layer.

11. Now recharge your aquifer by adding more soda which represents a rain shower.
12. Review what you have learned as you enjoy eating your edible aquifer.


Here is a video that shows you step by step how to make your edible aquifer!

If you would like more hands on activities that can help you learn about groundwater, visit the Kid's Corner on The Groundwater Foundation website!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Dual Flush Toilets}

Did you know that a family of four uses 400 gallons of water a day on average in the United States (US EPA)? That's a lot of water! Furthermore, the top consumer of that water is the toilet!



In order to conserve water in her home, Frannie decided to upgrade her toilets to dual flush!



Dual flush toilets have two flushing options: a full flush for solids and a reduced flush for liquids only. Studies show that dual flush toilets use an average of 1.3 gallons per flush (US EPA). By upgrading her toilets to dual flush, Frannie will use about 20% less water!


Frannie's dual flush toilet handle. She presses the single droplet for liquids only and the double droplet for solids.

One of Frannie's favorite things about dual flush toilets (other than how much water they save, of course) is how easy they are to install. Upgrading her toilet only took Frannie about 30 minutes with the help of an adult!



How do you conserve water in your household? Share your story with Frannie here! It might even be featured on the blog!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday With Frannie the Fish! {Water1der}

Frannie’s favorite way to learn about groundwater is to play fun and educational games. That's why Frannie loves Water1der! 

Water1der is The Groundwater Foundation’s mobile app that helps teach you all about groundwater! It’s fun and easy to play and you can download it to your Apple device for free from the Apple Store!


Frannie loves quizzing her friends and learning more about groundwater by using Water1der. Click here to download Water1der so you can start quizzing your friends and learning more about groundwater too!


Don’t have an Apple device, but you still want to learn more about groundwater through fun games and activities? Check out The Groundwater Foundation’s kids' corner for games, puzzles, and hands on activities you can do at home!