Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Upcycled Conservation Flowers}

Upcycling is a fun way to help protect the environment by reusing items that may have been thrown away instead.  Reusing an item keeps it from ending up in a landfill where it may take millions of years to decompose.  This week Frannie is going to show you how to make upcycled conservation flowersUpcycled conservation flowers are made out of plastic water bottles and each petal represents an easy way to help conserve and protect groundwater!

Here's what you'll need:
  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • 8 different colored acrylic paints
  • Paint brush
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Glue
  • Sequins, beads, paper, glitter, or gems 
  • String or wood stick

Here's what you do:

1.  Clean your plastic water bottle.  Remove any plastic labeling from the outside.

2.  Cut your water bottle in half.  You may need an adult's help with this step. 
Recycle the bottom half of your bottle. 

3.  Cut eight petals by cutting from the middle of the bottle towards the cap, make sure to cut all the way to the edge of the cap.  Round the edges.

4.  Press the petals out and flatten them to make your bottle look like a flower.

5.  Cover the cap with sequins, beads, paper, gems or paint to represent the pistil/stamen.

6.  Paint each petal a different color to represent a different way to protect and conserve groundwater.  Add glitter for fun!  Below is an example of paint colors and their corresponding conservation activity: 

7.  Use a paper hole punch and string to make your flower an ornament or use a wooden stick and glue to create a decorative flower for potted plants.

8.  Use the permanent marker to write down what each color stands for on the unpainted side of each petal.

Display your upcycled conservation flower in your home so you and your family will remember to conserve groundwater!  Share pictures of your projects!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Runoff vs. Recharge}

Frannie is looking forward to the warm spring days that are just around the corner.  As the snow begins to melt, Frannie can't help but wonder...  Where does it go?

Frannie is going to show you how to do a fun hands-on activity, Runoff vs. Recharge, that will help you learn where melted snow goes and how different land surfaces can influence the movement of water.

Here's what you'll need:
  • A container of water

Here's what you do:

Find different kinds of surfaces outside.  Pour some of the water on each surface and observe where the water travels.

1.  Grass

The grass (and soil beneath it) Frannie poured the water on is permeable, the material is porous and water freely passes through it.  The water seeps into the ground, some of the water recharges groundwater supplies.  Recharge is water added to a groundwater aquifer.

2.  Pavement

Pavement is an impermeable material, water cannot move through it.  The water Frannie poured on the pavement ran off into the gutter at the end of her driveway.  This water will flow down the gutter and into a storm drain.  

Many storm drains lead to bodies of surface water where fish like Frannie live.  This means that other things that flow into storm drains will also end up in Frannie's water, like pollutants.  For example, if a homeowner applies too much fertilizer to their lawn and some of it washes off when they water it, the fertilizers can end up in Frannie's pond.  Fertilizer is food for plants to help them grow bigger and faster.  Fertilizer will also make plants and algae in Frannie's pond grow.  Too many plants in the water can be bad for fish like Frannie.

What can you do to ensure that pollutants don't runoff into storm drains and into surface water?  
  • Talk to your parents/guardians about applying the correct amount of fertilizer.
  • Be sure to recycle and throw trash away in proper receptacles.
  • Clean up pet waste.

For more fun: find different kinds of surfaces and write down or illustrate your observations!  Where does the water travel?  Does it recharge groundwater or does it runoff?  Share your experience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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

Have you ever considered how much unused water goes down the drain while you are taking a shower?  Frannie is going to share with you a quick and easy way to find out how many gallons of water per minute come out of your showerhead.

Here's what you'll need:
  • A bucket
  • A measuring cup
  • A stopwatch
  • A calculator

Here's what you do:
1.  Hold the bucket under the showerhead and turn the water on full blast. 

2.  Let the water run for 15 seconds.
3.  Measure the amount of water in the bucket using the measuring cup. 

4.  Multiply this number by 4 for the amount of cups per minute.
5.  Divide this number by 16 (there are 16 cups in a gallon) to get the number of gallons per minute. 

6.  Be sure to use the water from your investigation to water house plants or refill a pet's water dish. 

For example: Frannie's bucket had 10 cups of water in it after 15 seconds.

10 cups x 4 = 40 cups/minute

40 cups/minute ÷ 16 cups/gallon = 2.5 gallons per minute.

So if Frannie took a 10 minute shower, she would have used 25 gallons of water.  That's a lot of water!  Some older showerheads use more water than this, if you find that your showerhead uses significantly more water, talk to your parent/guardian about switching it out for a water-efficient showerhead!

Use The Groundwater Foundation's free app for Android and Apple, 30 by 30 to find out how much water you are using in your other daily activities and learn ways to conserve water!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater - Learn and Do More}

It's the last week in Frannie's series of The Groundwater Foundation's Top 10 List of Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater at Home.  Frannie has had so much fun making environmentally-friendly cleaners, learning about household hazardous waste, how to wash wiser, and much more!  But there is also more that can be done when it comes to being a water steward.

Frannie challenges you to get involved in water education!  The Groundwater Foundation has a number of ways that you can do more:

  • For high schoolers, take the Hydrogeology Challenge and learn about groundwater through a computer simulation.  Take it a step further and participate in Science Olympiad where the Hydrogeology Challenge is an official event!

  • Use The Groundwater Foundation's free apps - Water1der, to learn more about water through 10 fun quizzes and learn how to reduce your daily water use with 30 by 30.

There are endless ways for you to do more when it comes to groundwater protection and conservation.  Share some of the ways you will learn and do more!