Friday, March 30, 2012

Give to Lincoln Day

Every day many of us think -- what more can I do to give back in my community? Maybe you’ve always want to be a mentor, donate to a non-profit or coach a little league baseball team, but you have a hard time finding the time in your busy schedule to just do it!

The Lincoln Community Foundation is making it very easy to give back. Give to Lincoln Day will take place on Thursday, May 17. The day is designed to give a 24-hour period for everyone to make a donation to a Lincoln, Nebraska non-profit and, of course, we hope that you choose the work and mission of The Groundwater Foundation. Every donation to The Groundwater Foundation on that day will also get a proportional share of the $200,000 challenge match pool too, so the dollars of support will increase.

We ask for your help to support the work of The Groundwater Foundation as we educate people and inspire action to ensure sustainable, clean groundwater for future generations. Here is a link to The Groundwater Foundation’s giving page: Be sure to bookmark it for easy access on May 17. Spread the word about Give to Lincoln Day to your friends, family and co-workers. It will be an amazing day of philanthropy in the City of Lincoln. Everyone will be able to watch in real time on that day to see the current dollars raised and the number of donors for each non-profit.

Visit the Lincoln Community Foundation at or the main Give to Lincoln Day page at

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Groundwater Foundation Reaches for the Cloud

The Groundwater Foundation decided that 2012 would be a good time to review all of our technology based work and determine how we can utilize newer technology to better suit the needs of our constituents – or in other words, you.  This conversation became much like a snowball rolling down hill.

It started with the idea that the Groundwater Foundation should look into creating a mobile app for smart phones.  As we explored the world of mobile apps it became apparent that if we were to go into that realm, we would really need to update our website to be more mobile friendly as well.  And, that conversation led to information about moving our business to the Cloud.  Wow!  Where to start? 

Well in true Groundwater Foundation fashion we jumped in with both feet and determined that we could and should do it all.  After all, why let grass grow under your feet?  So over this past weekend the Groundwater Foundation began our migration to the Cloud by moving our email to cyberspace.  The challenge being we are no longer using the Microsoft Outlook platform that we were all use to.  We now are using Google Mail which I think will be wonderful someday, but today as we are learning all the ins and outs of how to use it can be a bit challenging.  At any rate, if you are emailing anyone at the Groundwater Foundation and not getting a response, please pick up the phone and give us a call – I realize phoning someone is becoming an outdated mode of communication very quickly – but at this point it is one that is working for us during this transition.

As for the website and the mobile app, we are beginning the process of making each of those a reality as well.  Stay tuned as we move forward – once again catching up with the world of technology. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Lorax

Last week was Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2) and not coincidentally, the movie The Lorax came out.  From the official website of the movie (, The Lorax is a “classic tale of a forest guardian who shares the enduring power of hope.  The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for a real Truffula Tree, the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams.  To get it he must find the story of the Lorax, the acerbic yet charming character who fights to protect his world.”

I have yet to see the movie, but the previews and buzz surrounding The Lorax brought to mind a poem that was written and read by Groundwater Guardian team leader Cathy Lotzer of Marshfield, Wisconsin at the 2011 Groundwater Guardian National Designation Ceremony on October 5, 2011.  Cathy uses the lesson and message of Dr. Seuss’ tale of The Lorax to urge us all to action.

1985 was the year it all began,
The Groundwater Foundation,
A dream with a plan.

Susan at her kitchen table
Volunteers all around,
learning all about water in the ground.

The Aquifer newsletter and Groundwater Week they would start,
also working with children who proved to be quite smart!

The Water Festival was born, and little did they know,
how that simple idea would spread and grow.

Next came Groundwater Guardian, only eight groups that first year.
Eighteen years later, Their same message is still clear.

Supporting, recognizing, and connecting us all,
join, be proactive, and volunteer was their call.

They taught us to educate, motivate, and care for the waters,
protect it for all of our sons and our daughters.

So under their wing we took to the streets,
Cathy Lotzer poses with Foundation
President Jane Griffin at the
2011 National Designation Ceremony.
spreading the word to all those we’d meet.
Then we’d gather together each year at this time.
We would learn, we would share, and of course we would dine.

So here’s the part I need to impress,
or never be asked to speak again, I guess!

Inspiration can come from within so I’m told,
but also from others and their actions so bold.

At this conference it’s easy to get recharged and inspired.
Just steal ideas from others, it’s ok – it’s almost required.

Stand up, use your voice, share your ideas and your dreams,
take action, inspire others, help start a new Guardian team.

Look around your own town and all the places you go,
the Green Sites program is calling don’t you know?

Take the Guardian message that you hear today,
and no matter how small try to make a difference some way.

I’d like to end with a few more lines, but no these aren’t mine,
Dr. Seuss said it best and boy he could rhyme!

(Excerpted from ‘The Lorax’)
"You're glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!
No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed.
So I'm sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary.
They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary
in search of some water that isn't so smeary.
I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie.

I am the Lorax, and I speak for the trees,
which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.

I am the Lorax, and I'll yell and I'll shout
for the fine things on earth that are on their way out!

And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack!
From outside in the Fields came a sickening smack
of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall.
The very last Truffula Tree of them all!

‘But now,' says the Once-ler, 'Now that you're here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
NOTHING is going to get better. It's not.'

‘SO...catch!’ calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall.
It's a Truffula Seed. It's the last one of all!
You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.

So plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back."

So my call to action for all of you is this - you are in charge of the last Truffula seed!
Or translating into our words, you are in charge of the only water we have!

Will you accept this challenge I’m offering to you?
Will you leave here tomorrow and in all that you do?

Will you work to protect it? This is your CHOICE!
Will you speak for the water? For the water has no voice!

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's All About Cooperating, Communicating, and Educating...

Recently I attended the most recent EN Thompson Forum lecture of the 2011-2012 series which focuses on Water and Global Security.  The lecture series is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the University of Nebraska.  This specific lecture featured two speakers, Mogens Bay, CEO of Valmont Industries, and E. Robert Meaney, Senior Vice President at Valmont Industries.  Bay’s opening remarks set the stage for a fascinating presentation, he stated: more than a question of water scarcity we are faced with the question of developing and implementing proper management practices and sound policy on a global level. 

He and Meaney followed the remark by highlighting issues across the globe and noting the complexity of the issue does not remain only in the increased efficiency of agricultural production, but in the infrastructure and global policies that need to be in place to transport and distribute the food produced. 

They highlighted success efforts in different regions of the world and challenges that lay ahead.  They outlined the approaches needed to successfully face these challenges, and the most prominent ones struck a strong chord with me included: cross border cooperation, communication, education. 

These are the fundamental components of our Groundwater Guardian program!  Over 3,000 volunteers across North America are utilizing the approach of cooperation, communication and education to face the challenges their local community is facing in sustaining their groundwater resources.

Yet more, much more needs to be done, so I also came away from the lecture with a strong call to action.  What are we doing to increase and enhance the actions of our Groundwater Guardians?  What are we doing to build upon the work of all of our program participants?  Are we effectively reaching out to tomorrow’s leaders with the learning opportunities that will prepare them to face the challenges ahead? 

Looking at our plans for projects and programs I believe we are.  We have some remarkable opportunities to work with youth, adults and communities as a whole.  We are developing new resources that will enhance these efforts…stay tuned for more details! Come back to our blog, visit our website or our facebook page, follow us on Twitter and find out what is happening.  Let us know what you are doing, post your thoughts and comments too!