Friday, September 22, 2017

BLOG: 2017 Groundwater Guardians Make a Difference

by Sara Brock, Groundwater Foundation Program Manager

The Groundwater Foundation's Groundwater Guardian program has been around since 1994, but this was my first year working with the teams and learning about the various activities that communities across the country do to keep their groundwater safe. Communities earn their Groundwater Guardian designation by implementing Results-Oriented Activities (ROAs) that help educate their community about the their groundwater. These ROAs can take many shapes and forms, so here are my top 5 favorite ROAs that communities have completed in 2017.

5. In North Carolina, Orange County’s team is contributing data for the Orange Well Net (OWN), a national groundwater observation well network. This network is a drought monitoring tool that is equipped with an early warning system for declining groundwater levels.  By detecting drought conditions earlier, water suppliers can enact the necessary steps to prevent a serious water crisis. 

4. Many of our teams are based in water districts and utilities or have roles in some other governing role in regulating their city’s water supplies.  It’s common, and in some cases legally required, that these agencies provide an annual water quality report. While steps like these are routine, they are a crucial and concise way of getting all relevant information out to the public.

3. In Elkhart, Indiana, a high school student aquatic biology program collaborated with community volunteers to remove a whopping 2,280 pounds of trash from their river! This number includes the 17 tires they pulled out, along with more commonly littered items. 

2.  Shrewsbury Borough’s Groundwater Guardian team in Pennsylvania is really friendly with its community, working within businesses and even hospitals to make sure that wellhead protection requirements are met. Developers are provided with GIS maps of Wellhead Protection Areas to ensure that no future contamination threatens the community’s water supply.

1. My favorite ROA is slightly biased in that, in May, I personally got to run an activity at the Grand Island Children’s Groundwater Festival. Over 700 5th grade students participated in a staple event of the area for almost 30 years. The most amazing thing about this festival is that it is replicated in almost every state that has a Groundwater Guardian team!  Besides the Children’s Groundwater Festival in Nebraska that I attended, similar festivals have taken place in Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

Being the manager of the Groundwater Guardian program has been a great learning experience.  It’s sometimes easy to look at the gargantuan issues of depletion and pollution and think there’s no way to save our water.  The Groundwater Guardian’s network of talented and passionate individuals is an inspiring force that educates and supports communities to always do better by protecting and conserving of our most precious resource, water. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It’s Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {DIY Book Covers}

Hopefully by now, you have all of the books and textbooks you need for your classes.  The best way to protect your books and yourself from damage fines is to make sure they’re covered.  Most stores sell inexpensive, colorful elastic cloth covers, but you can create your own customized covers with paper grocery sacks.
You will need a book, brown paper grocery bag, and scissors.
Tape and markers or crayons are optional.
Let's Get Started!

1. Cut down one corner of the paper bag and take away the bottom.  If your bag has handles, cut those away too. You should now have a large, flat piece of brown paper. 
 2. Customize the fit by placing your book on top of the paper bag. Fold the bottom of the paper up against the bottom of the book and make a crease.  Do the same thing with the paper at the top of the book.  Remove the book fold inward along the creases for the whole length of the paper.
3. Center the book on the paper.  You can do this by placing your book roughly in the center of the paper and folding the ends inside the front and back covers. Trim the paper if it’s too long and adjust the ends until they’re evenly situated on the inside cover.

4. You’re almost done!  Feed one end of the folded paper down and around the inside covers so that the top and bottom of the book are hidden behind the paper. Keep pulling the paper down until it fits snugly around the book. If you need to, you can secure your cover by placing tap along the top and bottom edges.

5. Decorate!!!

Show your friends how to customize their own book covers and share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog!

Friday, September 15, 2017

BLOG: Global Connections

By Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

The mission of The Groundwater Foundation is to connect people, businesses and communities through local groundwater education and action. These connections happen every day, everywhere. We recently learned through Twitter about a connection in Kenya.

The Kingwede Water Club in Kwale County, Kenya learned about groundwater, how it can be become contaminated, and more by using our Awesome Aquifer Kits

Photo credit: Kingwede Water Club Blog
"In Kwale County on the coast of Kenya, a research project called Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development (Gro for GooD) is striving to help government and groundwater users find a management approach that balances human health, economic growth, and resource sustainability demands while benefiting the poorest demographic.

Inspired by community demand, Gro for GooD  is developing a programme of engagement to teach young women at Kingwede Secondary about water science, policy and management. The hope if to inspire them to promote better use and protection of water resources in their futures. Student-led activities will promote participation and teamwork and help the members develop their research and communication skills. Furthermore, a major benefit of the club is to showcase career options and pathways in environmental science and management and demonstrate that they are open to women as well as men."

Photo credit: Kingwede Water Club Blog
Read all about their learning experience.

Our Awesome Aquifer Kits are truly awesome – they help connect people across the globe in our effort to protect and conserve groundwater.

Do you want to have some fun learning about groundwater? Starting with our Awesome Aquifer kits is a great way. Find out more about the Awesome Aquifers activity or purchase your own.