Wednesday, May 27, 2015

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

This is the first post of a six-week series in which Frannie will explore each level of The Groundwater Foundation's "Let's Keep It Clean" patch program.  Frannie will show you the booklets, patches and some of the fun activities and resources available for each level.  This first week is all about the Daisy level!

There are two patches available for every level.  Do two activities from the booklet to earn your Ask Me About Groundwater patch.  Then you can do more activities to earn your Let's Keep It Clean patch!

The Daisy booklets are aimed to teach kindergarten through first grade girls the basics of water, including why water is important, the water cycle, water conservation, and pollution prevention through a fun story.  The girls or troop leader will then choose an activity from a series of options to earn their patches.  Frannie chose the "Coloring Daisies" option.

For this activity, you will need a white flower, scissors, a vase, water, and food coloring:

There weren't any daisies at the store, so Frannie is using a carnation in her activity.  Frannie will change the color of a flower by adding food coloring to the water (about 25 drops for every half cup of water).  Here's a tip: cute the stem at an angle so it doesn't sit flat on the bottom of the vase.  Use warm water for better results.

Frannie waited overnight and then observed what happened.

The white flower had turned the color of the food coloring - blue!  Frannie observed that this was a great way to see how plants use water and to see where the water went in the flower - the edges of the petals.

This is just one activity option in the Daisy booklet.  To find more activities to do with your troop, order your booklets and patches here.  Do you live in Nebraska?  Check with your area's Juliette's Boutique!

Have you done a Daisy activity and would like to share?  Click here.

Stay tuned!  Next week Frannie will explore the Brownie "Let's Keep It Clean" booklet, patches and an activity!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Farmers' Market Fun}

Frannie is so excited that it is Farmers' Market season!  Farmers' Markets are a fun way to support local business while buying food and other products that are grown and made in your area.  Buying these local goods means you are not only helping conserve water but also protecting air quality and supporting a strong local economy!

The locally produced food sold at Farmers' Markets does not have to travel as far as many of the same items sold in grocery stores, so there is less fuel and water involved in getting them from the farm to your kitchen!  So, you are not only using less water but also helping protect air quality because there are fewer car emissions during a shorter trip.

Another great part of buying food at the Farmers' Market is that you are eating seasonally!  This means the food you are eating is growing during a period of time it grows best.  Trying to grow food out of season requires a lot more effort to produce.

Plan a Farmers' Market outing with your troop and talk to the farmers and vendors about where they are from and how they made what they are selling.  Share your story and pictures here!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Children's Groundwater Festival}

This week, Frannie had a blast attending a local Groundwater Festival for students across her state.  Frannie had so much fun learning about groundwater with the students!  Frannie and her friends used the Awesome Aquifer kits to learn groundwater vocabulary, how wells work, and how pollution can contaminate our groundwater resources.

Check out the image below:

An aquifer is an underground geological formation of sand, soil, gravel, and rock that can store and yield water – we call this water groundwater.  Frannie learned the unsaturated zone is the area immediately below the land surface where the pores contain both water and air but are not totally saturated with water.  Plant roots can use the water passing through this area. The water table indicates where the top of the saturated zone is in an aquifer.  The saturated zone is the area where the rock and soil are completely full of water – think of it like a sponge completely soaked with water. 

Then, Frannie and her friends made a lake in their models to show how surface water, the water we can see (ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, etc.) and groundwater are connected.  Groundwater can become surface water by discharging, this is when groundwater emerges from an aquifer into surface water.  You may have felt discharge when you are swimming in a lake and felt a cold spot!  Brrr!


Frannie and her friends used syringes with attached hoses as “wells,” they drilled their wells and pumped the groundwater and observed what happened.  They noticed as they were withdrawing water from their aquifer that the water table was dropping.  They recharged, or added water, to their groundwater by “making it rain.”

Lastly, Frannie learned about contamination.  Contaminants can make their way into groundwater and make it unfit for human use and can harm the environment.  Contaminants can be naturally-occurring or manmade, some examples that Frannie learned throughout the day include: pesticides, fertilizers, and oil.  Can you think of more examples?  Frannie and the students added a “contaminant” (water with food coloring added to it) and watched how it seeped into the ground and moved through the aquifer and discharged into the surface water they created.  The students then discussed ways we can protect both groundwater quality and quantity, here are a few ideas:

  • Take shorter showers to use less groundwater
  • Make sure that chemicals are properly disposed of to protect groundwater quality (check for a household hazardous waste take-back event in your community) 
  • Only apply the recommended amount of fertilizer to your lawn to protect groundwater quality

Frannie had such a fantastic day learning groundwater vocabulary and using a model aquifer kit to learn about groundwater and surface water’s connection, pollution and pollution prevention.  Find out if your community hosts a groundwater or water festival that you can attend to participate in hands-on learning!
Would you like to do this activity with your troop?  E-mail to learn how to make this happen.