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.