Friday, August 11, 2017

BLOG: 8 Ways to Protect Water During National Water Quality Month

Water covers most of the Earth, exists in the cracks and crevices beneath the earth's surface, makes up most of the human body, and is vital for all living things. Needless to say, clean water is important. During a month when everyone is out enjoying lakes, rivers, oceans and having tall glasses of ice-cold water, it becomes even more apparent how important quality water is. August is National Water Quality Month. How can you have an impact on water quality? Here are some ways you can be part of the solution:

1. Don't flush medications.
Never flush old or unused medications down your toilet or the sink. Pipes can lead back into a general water source which then gets contaminated with your medication. Find a local take-back location (Nebraskans - you can take medications back to a participating pharmacy any time!), or utilize the DEA's take-back days in October and April. 

2. Don’t hose off the driveway.
Always sweep your driveway to keep it clean, rather than using the hose. When washing your car, use a commercial car wash whenever possible rather than doing it yourself at home. When chemicals run down your driveway into the storm drain they flow directly into lakes and streams.

3. Pick up the poop. 
Yep, it may be gross, but when it rains, that water picks up poop particles from your pet and it may be deposited into lakes, rivers, or streams. Nobody wants that - pick up your pet's poop.

4. Watch out for litter.
We all know to avoid littering, but go a step further and keep an eye out for any litter wherever you go. Whenever possible, pick it up and put it in the proper disposable bin.

5. Follow instructions when using any chemicals.
Pesticides and fertilizers can have a proper use, but avoid overusing them whenever possible. The chemicals can travel through runoff water and soil, thus contaminating ground water. Follow label instructions carefully!

6. Stay phosphate-free.
Help save our lakes and rivers by choosing nontoxic household products, and using phosphate-free items like detergent.

7. Join a cleanup project.
If you want to go a step beyond preventative care, be proactive by joining a local or national clean up project that works on water. This is a great project for a Groundwater Guardian team! No team in your area? Get one started!

8. Educate yourself.
Finally, take some time this month to educate yourself on what’s actually in your water, the quality of your water and how it can further be improved. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledgeable you are, the more you can make a difference.

Water sustains life - it’s vitally important to all of us. This August, celebrate National Water Quality Month by being aware of your water habits and taking steps to ensure clean water for everyone. When we have clean water, we can lead satisfying lives.

Want more ideas? See what else you can do.

Adapted from Firespring.org

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It’s Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Food Waste Part 2: Save and Reuse}

This is the second part of Frannie’s dive into reducing food waste at home.  To read the first part, click here.
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Do you like to cook? Frannie does!

There are ways to reduce food waste and save water even when you’re preparing food and cooking food.

To make sure our food is clean, we should wash our fruits and vegetables even if they come in a bag.  Before turning on the tap, put a bowl in sink to catch the dirty water.  When you are done washing your food, you can use the water on your houseplants or garden instead of letting it run down the sink.  You can also do this with the water you have used to boil fruits, vegetables, and eggs after, of course, you let it cool.

As pointed out last week, you can easily use vegetable peelings to start your own compost pile, but did you know you can also some vegetable food waste to make soup?  Save your carrot and celery ends and freeze them for up to six months and boil them in water to make a delicious vegetable broth.  You can also do this with vegetables that are beginning to get old by simply cutting away any bad parts and chopping them into large chunks.

Want a meat broth instead? Save bones and scraps leftover from your pork chops or chicken and add them to boiling water or the veggie broth.

When your bread goes stale, you can break it into pieces and make homemade croutons or breadcrumbs using recipes like this one.  If you want to try something a bit different, try these cornbread croutons!

Even cheese can be reused.  After cutting away the Parmesan rind, turn it into a nice cheesy broth for a Wisconsin Cheese soup or a creamy pasta sauce for your next Italian night.


Share with us some of your ways to reduce food and water waste while cooking on our Facebook, Twitter, or E-mail.  Bon appetite!

Friday, August 4, 2017

BLOG: Recharging Groundwater Education

Recharging Groundwater Education trains teachers to
further engage students in groundwater education.
The Groundwater Foundation is thrilled to begin work on a new project funded by EPA Region 7.

The Environmental Education grant was awarded in conjunction with EPA’s Office of External Affairs and the Environmental Education Program in Washington, D.C.

The grant project, “Recharging Groundwater Education,” will train teachers to engage students in problem-solving and critical thinking around local environmental threats to the groundwater supply in Nebraska; mentor high school students through outdoor internships and stewardship projects; and promote student exploration and awareness of career opportunities in water-related science and engineering fields.

“This grant helps teach Nebraska students about how to protect their Nebraska groundwater through hands-on experience with nature, and explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career paths,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President said, “We are excited about the opportunity to equip educators to teach about groundwater and to complement the lessons learned in the classroom with mentoring opportunities for students to learn about careers and to get involved in local protection efforts.  With over 30 years of experience our organization has witnessed how education is a catalyst to action. We look forward to working with our partners across the state to foster a new generation of environmental stewards and are grateful EPA makes these efforts possible.” 

The Groundwater Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate the public about the need to conserve and protect groundwater. Surface water or ground water can serve as sources of drinking water. Protecting source water from contamination can reduce treatment costs, and risks to public health from exposures to contaminated water.

For more information about the Recharging Groundwater Education project, contact us at info@groundwater.org or 402-434-2740.