Wednesday, May 27, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Safety First!}

Summer is almost here! Parks, pools, lakes, and beaches are starting to open up again as lockdown restrictions ease and Frannie can't wait to get out there and play in them.
It's important to remember how to be safe around open waters so that we can have good, safe fun all summer long. With these few tips, you can join Frannie and her friends in the water!

  1. Use the buddy system. Stay near your buddy and be sure to let someone know if you or your buddy is lost or needs help. 
  2. In the same track as using the buddy system, make sure you stick together and stay close to the beach or shore where family, friends, or other adults can help you if you need it.
  3. Never drink the water from a stream, lake, river, or other water body you are playing in or investigating.  Even if it looks clean, it might not be healthy to drink.
  4. When playing on the banks of rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes, make sure the ground is sturdy and won’t give way. Look for signs of erosion that might indicate loose ground.
  5. Pay attention to your surroundings. Is the ground or the bottom of the lake or river rocky?  Is the current strong?  Is the water level high or low?  What is the forecast supposed to be today?  Are there any fast moving boats nearby? These are very important questions that only take a few minutes to think about but can make all the difference.
  6. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Wear socks, long sleeves, and pants for hiking out to your favorite river or lake spot. Hats can protect you from the sun and bugs. Closed toed shoes can prevent rocks from cutting your feet. Flip flops are okay for the pool, but leave them at home for outdoor adventures.
  7. Know which plants are poisonous. Poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettles can all make you feel uncomfortable or make you really sick. Poison sumac and hemlock are not as common, but can also be a threat.
  8. Certain insects, such as ticks, mosquitoes, flies, bees, and hornets, can also ruin your nature experience.  Dress properly and wear insect repellent.
  9. Respect the environment. Remember that you are a guest. Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
Have fun and stay safe!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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

Hooray! It's finally May! That means we've finally reached the time of year where the flowers, bushes, and trees are coming to life in beautiful and vibrant colors. This year, try planting some Upcycled Conservation Flowers to remind you of all the ways you can conserve water.
But wait a minute, Frannie: what in the world are Upcycled Conservation Flowers?
Upcycling is a fun trend that helps protect the environment by reusing items that may have previously been thrown away. Reusing an item keeps it from ending up in a landfill where it may take millions of years to decompose. Upcycled Conservation Flowers are made out of plastic water bottles and each petal represents an easy way to help conserve and protect groundwater! 
Find out how to make them below!
Students showing off their Upcycled Conservation Flowers!

Materials:

  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • 8 different colored acrylic paints
  • Paint brush
  • Hole punch
  • String
  • Wood stick (optional)
  • Glue
  • Sequins, beads, paper, glitter, or gems


Instructions:

  1. Clean your plastic water bottle. Remove any plastic labeling from the outside.
  2. Cut your water bottle in half. 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. Paint each petal a different color to represent the different ways to protect and conserve groundwater. Add glitter for fun!
  6. Cover the cap with beads, gems, sequins, paper, or paint to represent the pistil/stamen.
  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.


Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater:

Go Native
Use native plants in your landscape. They look great, and don't need much water or fertilizer.
Reduce Chemical Use
Use fewer chemicals around your home and yard, and make sure to dispose of them properly - don't dump them on the ground!
Don't Let It Run
Shut off the water when brushing your teeth, and don't let it run while waiting for it to get cold. Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge instead!
Fix the Drips
Check all the faucets, fixtures, toilets, and taps for leaks and fix them right away.
Shower Smarter
Limit yourself to just a five minute shower, and challenge your family members to do the same!
Water Wisely
Water plants during the coolest parts of the day and only when they truly need it. Make sure you, your family and neighbors obey any watering restrictions.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Reduce the amount of "stuff" you use and reuse what you can. Recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum, and other materials.
Learn More!
Get involved in water education! Learn more about groundwater by checking out The Groundwater Foundation's website www.groundwater.org/get-informed/.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Make Your Own Rain Gauge!}

April showers bring May flowers and it's certainly been sprinkling around Frannie's pond! Rain gauges are an excellent way to measure how much precipitation your outdoor plants are receiving and help save you money so you only water your lawn and garden when needed.

Here's how you can make your own. To start, you'll need:
  • A plastic bottle with a flat bottom
  • Scissors 
  • A ruler
  • A permanent marker
  • Stickers (optional)

Here's what you do:
1. Begin by removing all the labeling and cleaning the plastic bottle.



2. Take the scissors and the cut off approximately the top third of the bottle.


3. Flip the top third of the bottle upside down and insert it into the plastic bottle.


4. Using the ruler, mark 1/4", 1/2", and 1" increments starting from the bottom of the plastic bottle. For more fun, use stickers and markers to decorate your rain gauge.


5. Place your rain gauge outside. You can use twine to tie it to a post, bury it, or use another method to ensure it stays upright.



6. Check your rain gauge after a storm to see how much rain has fallen.

Take a picture of your rain gauge and share it with Frannie at hydro@groundwater.org!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {At Home Learning: You Be The Judge}

Water is an essential part of our everyday life. Water resource managers, city utility personnel, water well professionals, and more go to work every day to make sure we all maintain access to our clean water, even in uncertain circumstances.

Sometimes they are faced with hard decisions: Should water use be restricted? Should a certain amount of water be allocated to certain people or to everyone? In the following activity, you will be provided scenarios and you get to decide who should get the water. You be the judge!

Here's what you need:
  • Pitcher filled with water
  • Cups for each participant
  • Water use cards - you can copy or print the cards found in the activity instructions or make posters representing different water uses
  • Scissors 
  • Poster board (optional)
  • Markers (optional)  

Here's what you do:  
1. Fill a pitcher with water. Make sure there is a limited amount of water so that not all cups can be filled.

2. Give each participant a cup.

3. Pass around the pitcher so each participant can fill their cup. A full cup represents enough water for the participants to meet their water needs.


4. Sometimes there is not enough water available for everyone's needs - in times of drought for example. Ask the participants to express how they feel.

5. Ask what they could do to make sure they all get water.

6. Repeat steps 1-5, this time with water allocations. Choose one or combine both of the following options:
  • First in time, first in right. Have the participants arrange themselves in order by their birth date.   
  • Use the water use cards found in the activity instructions to determine how the water is distributed. Randomly pass out the cards. Participants can use the information on the cards to discuss and campaign for more water or why others should get more and some should get less.



7. Discuss the resultsother ways the water could be allocated, and what the participants learned about water use
  • Those with more important uses get more. Who decides what's more important?
  • Equal shares: everyone gets some, but some will get less than what they need.
  • Apply water restrictions and use water conservation practices to reduce the amount needed/used.
Share what you learned with the Groundwater Foundation!