Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Groundwater Workshops}

Frannie LOVES when she gets visitors at The Groundwater Foundation offices.
Can you find Frannie in the above photo?
Did you know you can come visit Frannie?
The Groundwater Foundation holds Let's Keep It Clean workshops for Nebraska Girl Scout troops in its Lincoln, NE offices. Check out the flyer below! 

Is Lincoln too far away for your troop 
located in western Nebraska? 
Frannie has not forgotten about you! Contact The Groundwater Foundation to learn about our interactive, online long-distance workshops!

What about me? My troop isn't in Nebraska at all!
Contact The Groundwater Foundation to find out more about how you can participate in Let's Keep It Clean!

*Please note that workshops outside the state of Nebraska may require an additional fee*

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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

Did you know that only 1% of plastic bags are recycled in the United States? That means the rest will end up in our rivers, oceans, landfills, and other places in the environment. It also means we have to use a LOT of water and petroleum to make new bags for people to use. 

That is why Frannie always uses a reusable bag when she goes shopping! Reusable bags help save a lot of water and other natural resources. They are also easy to use and to store. Frannie chose a reusable bag that is so small it can fit in a pocket when folded up!

Reusable bags are easy to find too. They are usually available for purchase at your local grocery store or you can save reusable bags you receive as giveaways for various events. 

Did you forget to bring your reusable bags with you to the store? If you did and have to use the plastic bags, make sure you reuse them as many times as possible. In addition to using them at the store, here is a list of just some of the ways Frannie reuses her plastic bags: 
  • Use them to pick up pet waste on walks.
  • When traveling bring a few along to separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothes.
  • Prevent fragile items from breaking by using plastic bags as packing material. 
  • Use them as makeshift gloves when you don't have rubber gloves available. 
  • Keep a few stashed in the car to clean up messes on the go. 
  • Or you can use them as small trash can liners, like Frannie has done below. 

Do you have ways you reuse plastic bags? Share them with us here

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Updates from Nebraska and Wisconsin

This week The Groundwater Foundation received several emails from Girl Scouts in Nebraska and Wisconsin working on the Let's Keep It Clean program! Check out some of the photos they sent us below:

Girl Scouts in Nebraska had fun making water wheels and learning about hydroelectricity at a Twilight Camp in Fremont!

Melissa is showing off her Frannie the Fish name tag as she gets ready to help run a kick-off Let's Keep It Clean workshop in Wisconsin!

Thank you for sending in your photos! We love to see all the fun! Together we can make a difference. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Soaker Hoses}

Frannie had a lot of fun visiting her friend's garden this week! She was especially happy to see that her friend was using a water-wise watering method: a soaker hose!

Soaker hoses allow water to seep out slowly all along the length of the hose. Soaker hoses:

  • Are an efficient way to water your flower or vegetable garden 
  • Produce no runoff because water from the hose only drips as fast as the ground can absorb it 
  • Greatly reduce evaporation since they are in direct contact with the ground, and the water does not have to travel through the atmosphere before reaching the ground
  • Get the maximum amount of water directly to the roots of the plants!

In addition to saving water, soaker hoses have other benefits. They can save you money since less water is needed. They also reduce the risk of fungal disease because they keep foliage dry.

Frannie has some additional ideas for ways soaker hoses can be used to save water:

  1. Soaker hoses can be covered in mulch to further reduce the loss of water to evaporation.
  2. Watering only in the early morning hours or late evening hours can also further reduce the loss of water to evaporation.
  3. Some soaker hoses are made from recycled materials. Recycled materials help reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills, and they use less water to make than materials made from scratch.
Do you have fun ways you conserve water in your flower or vegetable garden? Share them with Frannie here!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday With Frannie the Fish! {Washing Your Fruits and Veggies}

Frannie knows it’s important to eat her fruits and vegetables, so she eats an apple every day. Before she eats her apple, Frannie always makes sure to wash it so it is safe to eat. Sometimes washing fruits and vegetables can waste a lot of water, so for this week’s Water-Wise Wednesday, Frannie is going to teach you how to wash fruits and vegetables while conserving water!

First, it's always important to have clean hands when handling produce, so wash your hand before grabbing your fruits and vegetables. 

Next, fill a clean bowl or pan with clean potable (that means water that is safe to drink) cold water. 

If your produce has thick skin, you can use a vegetable brush to clean the surface. If you do not have a vegetable brush or if your produce does not have a thick skin, let it soak for 1 to 2 minutes in the cold clean water. There are some fruits and vegetables that are too fragile to soak, like raspberries. Put these types of fruits and vegetables in a colander and spray liberally with clean water. Be sure to collect the residual water with a bowl for use later. 

After washing, wipe the produce down with a very clean cloth or towel. This will help remove leftover dirt and bacteria. 

Now you can use the leftover water for other uses like watering plants. 

Here are some other tips to consider when washing fruits and vegetables:
  • NEVER use soaps or detergents to wash produce.
  • Don't have a sink or bowl to wash your produce in? Fill a spray bottle with clean water and use it to wash apples and other fruits. 
  • Don't forget to wash your homegrown and farmers market fruits and vegetables. 
  • You do not need to rewash packaged products that say "ready-to-eat," "washed" or "triple washed." You will save water by not rewashing these items! 
Do you have any water saving tips you'd like to share with us? Click here

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Upcycling-4th of July Edition}

Frannie is always looking for new ways to upcycle! Upcycling is when you take old, useless things and make them into something new. Upcycling helps protect our water supplies by reducing the amount of waste that gets into our landfills and prevents you from buying new products that take lots of water to make. 

Since this Friday is the 4th of July, Frannie wanted to make some patriotic decorations. Her first stop was the recycling bin to see if she had any unwanted items she could use for her project. She found lots of used paper. She decided this paper would be perfect for making one cut stars! 

She also found a few other things laying around the house to help her make the stars. Here's what you will need to make stars of your own:

*Used paper-Preferably with one clean side. 
*A pen that is out of ink, or a broken mechanical pencil
*Markers (for 4th of July you might want to use red and blue) 
*Optional: Any other craft supplies you might have around the house 
*Optional: Glue to glue the other craft supplies to your star

To start, you will need to make your star. You can trace a star if you have a star stencil, OR you can use the one cut star method. To make a one cut star, use the directions below or checkout this youtube video that gives a great explanation of how to make them! 

1.  Start with an 8.5x11 piece of used paper

 2. Fold it in half horizontally (the short way, not the long way) 

3. Create horizontal and vertical creases by folding it in half again, unfolding it, and then folding it in half the up and down way. Then unfold it again so it is just folded in half once with creases going up and down, and side to side.

   4. Starting at the vertical crease (the up and down one) fold the left top corner to the horizontal crease (the side to side crease).

   5.  Then, fold the same corner back so the top folded edge aligns along the fold you created in the last step.

6.  Take the upper right corner and fold it towards the left corner along the last fold you made.

7. Next, fold the right corner back until the top folded edge aligns with the edge from your last fold.

8. Now it’s time for your one cut. Cut at an angle (as shown) on the side with the smaller triangle. The small piece that falls off is your star! Unfold it and you’re ready to decorate. 

You can decorate your star however you'd like. Frannie decided to do a flag theme. She colored the star and then put a few left over craft supplies on it to make it sparkle!

Finally, Frannie taped the used pen to the back of the star so she can hold it at the 4th of July parade! 

Frannie doesn't want her new decoration to go to waste after the 4th of July, so she plans on using it as a plant decoration! Can you think of any other ways to use your new decoration around the house? 

Do you have any fun upcycling projects you've been working on? Share them with us here