Friday, December 11, 2009

Use of tap-water in Copenhagen

I thought this was an interesting piece of information coming out of the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. On the official website ( for the event it says:

“Water -- Due to the very high quality of groundwater in Denmark, all potable water at the conference venue will be tap-water served in decanters or at self-service automatic dispensers. This implies a considerable energy saving advantage because production, transportation and disposal of water bottles will be avoided.”

Good for them for practicing what they preach and for setting a good example when it comes to water usage! And yeah for groundwater – a great source of drinking water for everyone! It’s also great to see that their quality of groundwater is doing so well. It bodes well for the future generations.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful For...

This Year I'm Thankful For...
by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

I remember back in elementary school around Thanksgiving our teachers always had us go around the room and say what we were thankful for. I remember hearing things like “I’m thankful for my video games” or “I’m thankful for my new bike” or even “I’m thankful that I don’t have to share a room with my new little brother.” Our perspectives have obviously changed since the third grade! I’m thankful for so many things this year – my husband and family, great friends, good health, a job I enjoy, and even the Husker football team winning the Big 12 North title.

But in reflecting a little harder on the holiday this year, my list of thanks got bigger. I’m thankful to live in a country where we have some of the best drinking water in the world. I’m thankful there are people, agencies, and organizations that work to protect drinking water supplies. I’m thankful, of course, for groundwater, which nourishes my husband and family, my friends, my health, and even the Huskers.

When thinking about the big picture, groundwater should be at the top of people’s Thanksgiving lists. It’s so much more than a natural resource. It directly or indirectly enables us to enjoy those other things on our list. Because without clean, safe, sustainable supplies of drinking water, of which groundwater plays a huge part, we’re all in trouble. And I’m certain no one’s thankful for that!

What about you? What are you thankful for this year? Is groundwater high on your list?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Water - An Economic Stimulus

Communities utilizing water as an economic stimulus?! Is this a new trend? If so, is it a wise one? Or does it further devalue this resource that is so vital?

I recently read about a community offering job producing businesses deeply discounted water rates in order to get them to re-locate to their community. Is this a first? Will other communities follow? What impacts will this have on a community’s water system?

I understand the need to draw businesses to communities so that jobs are available, but at what cost?

Share your thoughts, concerns, insights.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ann Bleed Webinar and Twitter

We are looking forward to having Ann Bleed as our presenter at our upcoming webinar: "Challenges and Opportunities of The Integrated Management of Surface Water and Groundwater." The event will take place at 2 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, October 27th. The registration is open for the event at our website: Many people have already registered for the event and we don't want you to miss out.

On another note, Twitter has become a craze in social media. A recent article said that it is projected to reach 18 million users by the end of the year. You can find us at our Twitter account: groundwaterfdn. We like to share news about upcoming events, our thoughts on current issues as well as reposts of others that follow us or that we follow. It's another good source of finding out information or other activities in regards to groundwater. It's a free service to join. We are hoping soon to reach 100 followers and then continue our upward growth from there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Growing Groundwater Awareness

by Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

How appropriate that the first new program launched under new leadership at The Groundwater Foundation is titled "Growing Groundwater Awareness in Nebraska." Thanks to funding provided by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the program is now underway.

As a person who has only recently come to truly appreciate groundwater I recognize the need to provide this critical information to the general public. I, like so many others, have always expected clean, safe drinking water to come out of the tap. I would just turn it on and not think any further about it.

Growing Groundwater Awareness in Nebraska is going to address that very issue. It will generate understanding of the role groundwater plays in our lives and the role we play (both as individuals and as communities) in protecting it for future generations.

Check back on our website for more information about the program and see what's happening in your community!

Let us know what you are already doing to protect groundwater! Or if you live in Nebraska and want us to bring educational activities to your community please contact us at

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drinking Water in the News

Drinking water was in the news again. This time it was an AP story about the quality of drinking water at schools across the U.S. The article found that "contaminants have surfaced at public and private schools in all 50 states — in small towns and inner cities alike." (

It's frustrating to continue to see water's appearance in the news only in a negative way. We see investigations into all sorts of contamination events and occurrences, but there's rarely a mention of the proactive approaches communities across the country are taking to protect their drinking water supplies. It would be refreshing to focus on the positive, which would encourage other communities to adopt practices to preserve drinking water.

What do you think? How can we help publicize the proactive protection efforts communities are undertaking? Is this newsworthy?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Adult Education Webinar

By Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to participate in the webinar entitled “Groundwater Guardian Showcase: Adult Education Programs.” It was both eye-opening and thrilling to know what efforts are going on across the country to educate people about groundwater. Three Groundwater Guardian team representatives presented their efforts to educate adults in their respective communities about groundwater: Janine Reed, Sequim-Dungeness, WA; Gabrielle Belfit, Barnstable County (Cape Cod), MA; and John Paquin, Kalamazoo, MI.

If you didn’t get to participate in the live webinar, you can access the archived version by following this link:

Know that the webinar series is a new service that we are offering in our continued effort to disseminate the information. Your support allows us to continue the work!

We look forward to hearing your comments about the webinars.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Attorney General-Zoo Designation Event

During a ceremony on Friday morning, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo was designated as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site. But the event also served a dual purpose as Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning was on hand to present The Groundwater Foundation with $25,000 towards environmental education programs.

During the course of the event, Attorney General Bruning said, “At the Attorney General’s office, we are big supporters of The Groundwater Foundation. We’re huge fans frankly. We consider part of our mission to protect the environment. Seven years ago when I became Attorney General we created an environment and natural resources unit within the Attorney General’s office. That hadn’t happened before. We are going after polluters….When you go after those folks, and unfortunately they do exist in Nebraska, we have to make it hurt so they won’t do it any again and it’s money. We end up with the money and what is the best thing to do with the money? We think it is to return it to the community through groups like The Groundwater Foundation.”

Lincoln Children’s Zoo President/CEO John Chapo also spoke during the event. He said, “We are a wonderful green space and teaching stewardship to children of all ages is our mission as well. It was important for us to strive for this designation because we do have this beautiful green space in the heart of our community. We appreciate this recognition.”

To hear more of what Attorney General Bruning had to say, some additional remarks from the Zoo’s Chapo as well as some words from Groundwater Foundation President Jane Griffin and Groundwater Foundation Green Site Program Manager Jennifer Wemhoff click on this link:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Upcoming Groundwater Foundation Event at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Attorney General Jon Bruning will present The Groundwater Foundation with $25,000 towards environmental education programs on September 11, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. and we hope you can attend. The ceremony will take place at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in conjunction with the designation of the Zoo as the newest site in The Groundwater Foundation’s Groundwater Guardian Green Site program.

The money awarded to The Groundwater Foundation was made available through the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Fund. The fund is comprised of voluntary payments collected in court-approved settlements from entities that have violated state and federal environmental statues and regulations.

The funding will assist programs for adults and youth, such as the Groundwater Guardian Green Site program, which recognizes locations that implement groundwater-friendly practices on their land. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo, which recently earned official designation as a Green Site, will host the check presentation in conjunction with its designation into the program.

Funding from the Attorney General’s Office will also be used for two youth education programs, Water Ways and Awesome Aquifers for Science Olympiad. Water Ways offers hands-on environmental education to young students and establishes a connection to nature. Awesome Aquifers for Science Olympiad is geared towards middle and high school students and offers them the opportunity to participate in an academic competition through an aquifer building activity.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Celebrate 25 years -- Become a Groundwater Foundation Member

2010 will mark The Groundwater Foundation’s 25th Anniversary! Over these past 25 years through our programs we have reached out across the United States and around the world to inspire and educate people about the importance of groundwater. One of the ways we have accomplished this was the creation of the Children’s Groundwater Festival which educated over 36,000 students about groundwater. Also, the Groundwater Guardian program was implemented to support and recognize over 420 communities for voluntary groundwater protection efforts which in turn reached millions of people with a groundwater protection message. This past year 60 sites participated in The Groundwater Green Site program which recognizes good stewards of groundwater by encouraging managers of highly-managed green spaces (golf courses, ball fields, education campuses, parks, etc.) to implement, measure and document their groundwater-friendly practices related to chemical use, water use, pollution prevention, water quality, and environmental stewardship.

It is our goal to continue to educate people and inspire action to ensure clean, plentiful groundwater for future generations. Your help is needed to reach this goal—become a member of The Groundwater Foundation! Watch your mail this month for a membership letter or go online to and become a member today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Webinar Opportunities

The Groundwater Foundation has begun a series of webinars this fall to help people understand groundwater and the many issues that impact it. As I have been working on topics for these webinars, I realize it would be nice to know what you would like to learn more about.

Topics for this fall include:

September 22, 2009 – Groundwater Guardian Showcase: Adult Groundwater Education

October 27, 2009 – Challenges of Integrated Management of Surface Water and Groundwater

November 24, 2009 – Geology As We Know It…. Or Do We? Discoveries In “Known” Geologic Terrains Using Airborne Geophysics

December 16, 2009 – Communicating the Value of Water

For more information on these webinars, visit The Groundwater Foundation website at

Now, what are the topics that you want to learn more about? Share your ideas with me at We want to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Webinar in review

A special thanks to everyone who took part in our webinar on Tuesday with Karen Griffin O'Connor from Olsson Associates in Lincoln, Nebraska. There were more than 22 states represented as well as different locations in Canada.

Karen spoke about Sustainable Groundwater Development Using GIS and Groundwater Modeling. It was a very educational event. There were many great questions received during the webinar that Karen was able to spend some time on during the Q&A session.

If you didn't get a chance to watch the live webinar, it is now available as an archived event. Just follow this link to our website: There is a cost involved to watch the archived version. If you are a Groundwater Foundation member, be sure to email us at to receive a $5 off coupon code.

The next webinar has been set for Tuesday, September 22. The title is Groundwater Guardian Showcase: Adult Groundwater Education. You will be able to begin registering for the event in early September. More details to come.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Water on the world's mind

A recently released study on global water issues relayed much of the information that we have grown accustomed to hearing -- people care about water issues and they want to help!

Ninety-three percent of the responses from countries around the world said that water pollution is a serious or somewhat serious problem. Ninety-one percent feel that a shortage of fresh water is a serious or somewhat serious problem. But they also added -- at a 76 percent clip -- that they need more information to do more to protect the water. At The Groundwater Foundation ( we are all about educating the public. We hope you come to us as a resource on how to protect groundwater in the state, country and the world.

Here is the online article:
The article also provides a link to the full study.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

End of Summer "to do" List

As we near the end of yet another summer, we need take a look at what's left on our summer “to do” list. For the many people who rely on a private well for drinking water, summer is often the time to have their well tested.

In order to maintain a clean, safe supply of water, testing and other regular maintenance are critical. To help you remember these important tasks you can join the Water Systems Council’s wellcare® Well Owner’s Network. As a member of the Network, which, by the way, is FREE, you will receive important notifications, reminders, updated information and handy tips for maintaining your private well.

To join the Network today, call 1-888-395-1033 or visit

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tap or Bottled Water?

Recently I read an article about the difference and similarities between tap and bottled water. I began thinking more about some of the benefits and disadvantages of both. Bottled water can be convenient, it is sold cold at convenience and grocery stores everywhere; however tap water is a more economical choice. Some bottled water has distinct tastes that some people enjoy; however if you refill a reusable bottle or glass with tap water it reduces waste as well as the environmental impact of the bottling, packaging, and shipping process to get the water to your local stores.

Here are some other facts about tap and bottled water to think about the next time you are deciding between the two options.

- Americans drink more than 1 billion glasses of tap water per day. Water provided to consumers by a public water supply system is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA sets standards for over 90 contaminants that can be found in water. If the water from a public supply becomes contaminated and is a potential health risk, the water supply system is required to notify the public and provide an alternative safe source of water. In addition community water systems send out an annual report sharing with its customers the quality of their water source.

If the water you drink comes from a private well, which includes about 15% of the US population, you as the owner of the well are responsible for having the water tested. This should be done on a regular basis to make sure the water quality is sufficient for drinking. Water from private wells is not regulated by law; however the EPA sets guidelines for private well owners to follow.

- Americans spend over $10 billion dollars on bottled water every year. If you drink bottled water it may come from a public water system or a private source. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water and set standards for contaminants based on the EPA standards. When EPA creates a drinking water standard the FDA must either establish a new standard for bottled water or show proof that the EPA standard is not applicable to bottled water. When an FDA regulated contaminant is found at high levels in bottled water, the FDA will enforce action such as removing the product from stores. To learn more about the quality of bottled water consumers must contact the bottler directly.

When it comes to tap or bottled water, what do you choose? Are there specific reasons that make you decide to drink one or the other? I would like to hear what you think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Series of webinars

Educating people about groundwater is our primary mission. We educate in a multitude of ways, from talking to students at a school or camp, meeting with people at a convention or even using social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

Another way we are beginning to reach out to people is through a series of webinars that will start later this month. The first one is on July 30 at 2 p.m. CDT, called “Sharing the Groundwater Protection Message: Innovative Ideas.” It will focus on some of the projects that we have been working on and give new ideas for communities heading into 2010.

We hope that you can join us. How do you do that? Click on the Webinar button on our home page. That will lead you to the main Webinar page of The Groundwater Foundation website. From there, click on the July 30 link halfway down the page. Here is a direct link as well: The registration process begins by clicking on the online link next to registration. It will take you to the WebEx Groundwater Foundation site. You will find a registration button on the right side of the page. Click on it, enter your contact information, click register and you are ready to attend. You will receive a confirmation email to tell you how to attend the actual session on July 30. It’s just that simple.

We have many ideas for topics and presenters for future webinars, but want to hear from you. What would you like to learn more about? What information would help you in your local efforts to educate people and protect groundwater? Please contact us with any questions or suggestions at 1-800-858-4844 or

Monday, July 6, 2009

Do I Have a Right to Safe Drinking Water?

After celebrating Independence Day this past weekend, a question occurred to me – should access to safe, plentiful drinking water be considered a right or a social responsibility?

Many would say that since water is a basic fundamental human need that it should be an unalienable right. Others believe that it is the responsibility of each of us to do our part to ensure that all humans have ample access to clean water. While yet others believe water is a commodity to be sold and traded as with other commodities to those who can afford it.

Where do you stand on this issue? I’d like to think that we all would choose to provide clean drinking water to all people. However, no matter what country you are in, access to clean water is not available to everyone. What can be done?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Heading to Camp!

I'm so excited - next week is The Groundwater Foundation's "Outdoor Adventures in H2O" Summer Day Camp! It's been a busy preparation time for Foundation staff, but the adventures the students will have will be well worth the time and effort. The camp will get kids out of the classroom and into nature where they will get wet and have fun while learning about water. And I would be remiss if I didn't thank our camp partners and sponsors - Bright Lights, Sam's Club/WalMart State Giving Program, and U.S. EPA Region 7.

The week includes some exciting field trips, including visits to Schramm State Park and Aksarben Aquarium, Holmes Lake, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Branched Oak Organic Farm, and Pfizer Inc. Students will take part in hands-on, brains-on activities to make their camp experience lasting, like designing and installing a rain garden, painting rain barrels, using GPS units in a scavenger hunt, hiking through a tallgrass prairie to a groundwater-fed spring, performing water tests, building water filters, building aquifer models out of sand and gravel as well as ice cream, and fishing.

Granted, I may be a bit biased, but to me, the week sounds like a fun adventure! I think I'm looking foward to it as much as the kids!

Keep up with what's happening during camp (Monday through Friday, June 15-19) by following The Groundwater Foundation on Twitter ( and/or Facebook (

Stay tuned for camp photos and videos!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rain Garden Event

The Groundwater Foundation hosted the first of three Rain Garden Workshops Saturday, May 30 in Hastings. Many members of community attended the event and pitched in to help at the Hastings Museum, where an information session took place and then a demonstration installation of the rain garden was completed.

The Groundwater Foundation will be hosting another workshop Saturday, June 6 at the City Square in Stromsburg beginning at 8:45 a.m. The final workshop will take place June 27 in North Platte at the Cody Park Shelter beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Each workshop has a registration fee of $10. The workshops will be led by members of The Groundwater Foundation staff and by a professional landscape designer. For more information, please contact Cindy Kreifels at 1-800-858-4844 or

The workshops are supported through the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act Section 319 as facilitated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Well Owners Network

42 Million Americans rely on private water wells for their drinking water supply, and of course everyone who relies on this resource wants to protect it! Who wouldn’t?

In order to help you do just that the Water Systems Council has created the wellcare® Well Owners Network. It is free, and as a member of the network, you will have easy access to information and resources that are critical to maintaining a safe supply of drinking water for you and your family. Network members will receive at NO COST:

  • Access to information and tools to help you better understand your drinking water source.
  • A quarterly e-newsletter with information on wells, well water, and practical tips for protecting the nation's groundwater resources.
  • Annual reminders to test your well water.
  • Opportunities for discount well water test kits.

Join the network now! Call 1-888-395-1033 or visit

Monday, May 11, 2009


Now is the perfect time to install a rain garden. A rain garden is a garden planted in a depression that is designed to catch rainwater runoff in your yard, growing plants that don’t mind getting partially flooded on occasion. Rain gardens provide wildlife habitat and an opportunity to create beautiful landscaping. And, by soaking up rain where it falls, rain gardens slow storm water runoff, help prevent erosion, and remove pollutants in the process.

To learn more about rain gardens, visit The Groundwater Foundation website at Workshops are currently planned for Hastings, North Platte, and Stromsburg, Nebraska.

Have you put in a rain garden? Share your success stories and challenges with others who would like to protect water by planting a rain garden.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reactions to "Poisoned Waters"

Tuesday night (04/21/09) PBS’s Frontline presented “Poisoned Waters” - a news investigation on major polluting factors effecting all “life” surrounding and within the Chesapeake Bay on the east coast and Puget Sound on the northwest coast (WA). The viewpoint presented indicated the major watershed polluters to be industrial runoff, large agricultural farm runoff, and storm water runoff. The future vitality of these waters is questionable, the prediction somber …. as could be for the quality of our water resources across the continent. When will our screw ups not be able to be corrected and the environment restored?

One major point expressed on “Poisoned Waters” is worth specific mention: Public engagement is a must if we’re to be successful in our environmental stewardship.

The program can be viewed on-line at selecting Frontline and “Poisoned Waters”. Its well worth the time to view this program whether you agree with the source polluting factors, or not. What’s your reaction?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Earth Day is next week (April 22). Plan to celebrate by taking these simple steps to help care for our planet:

This little light of mine…
Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. CFLs use 70-75% less energy than standard bulbs, and last for several years. You can also help save energy by turning off lights, computers, televisions, etc. when they are not in use. Visit for more information on the advantages of using CFLs.

Green it up!
Add some green to the planet by planting a tree. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen, which is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. Learn more about the benefits of trees here: Or plant a rain garden and help filter out contaminants from roofs and driveways. See how a rain garden can add beauty to your home and help prevent pollution by visiting

Park the car
Leave the car at home! Carpool, take public transportation, walk, or ride your bike to work. Go to for information ways to go green in your daily commute.

Attend an Earth Day celebration
Check local newspapers, television and radio stations for event announcements, or visit to search for an event in your area.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
Try to go the entire day without throwing a single thing away (and don’t just postpone it until the next day). Use a reusable shopping bag for your grocery trip, use a tumbler instead of a disposable cup for your morning coffee, start a compost pile, and recycle plastic, aluminum, tin, steel, glass, paper, etc. Get more information about recycling here:

Get outside and play
Enjoy all that nature has to offer! Take a walk, have a picnic, play a game, go fishing, take a hike – just get outside and interact with nature! Make sure to leave only your footprints behind.

Save a drop
Conserve water around your home. Install water-saving devices such as faucet aerators or low flow showerheads, upgrade to a low-flow toilet and water efficient appliances, and use drought-tolerant plants in your landscaping. Check out these easy water conservation tips:, or find out more about EPA’s WaterSense program at

Clean green
Switch to natural cleaning products. Skip the harsh chemical cleaners and opt for plant-based, natural cleansers. Visit for a cleanser buying guide. Or make your own. Check out for an article about how to make your own cleaning products with simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.

Tell a friend
Tell someone how they can help protect the planet! Share the tips above and get involved in local environmental protection efforts.

Support The Groundwater Foundation
Help support The Groundwater Foundation’s mission of educating the public to care about and for groundwater by:

How do you plan to celebrate Earth Day? What steps have you taken in your daily life to help protect the planet?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Groundwater Foundation has Job Opening!

National nonprofit environmental organization seeks part-time program assistant. Will provide assistance to community and youth outreach programs. Must possess strong communication and organizational skills, knowledge of Microsoft Office, ability to perform multiple tasks, and reliable transportation. Prefer a degree in environmental studies or natural resources. Work schedule must remain flexible, occasional evenings or weekends. Send resume to: Program Assistant, P O Box 22558, Lincoln, NE 68542 or to

Spring Is Here!

Robins are once again out hopping across lawns, the green tips of tulip leaves have pushed through the thawed earth, and gardens and fields are being prepped for planting. In Nebraska these are signs of spring.

At The Groundwater Foundation (TGF) a full calendar of events and outreach opportunities is our sign spring has arrived. Every spring far more invitations to share our message and teach others about groundwater are presented to us then we can accept. It is great so many opportunities are available for youth and adults to learn more about nature, natural resources, and build an appreciation for our Earth.

This year TGF will be participating in the following events:

  • Earth Wellness Festival, Lincoln, NE, March 30th and 31st
  • High School Career Fair, Lincoln, NE – Be a Hydrogeologist for a Day, April 7th
  • National Environmental Education Week – Be Water Wise in School: Science that Impacts Your Campus, April 12th – 18th. For more information visit, and
  • Science Olympiad Nebraska State Tournament, Lincoln, NE, April 18th
  • Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Expo, Platte River State Park, April 22nd and 23rd
  • Gifford Farm’s Nature Day, Bellevue, NE, April 25th. Learn more about this public event at
  • Family Nature Night, Lincoln, NE, April 30th
  • Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival, Grand Island, NE, May 12th
  • Adventure’s in H2O! Bright Lights Camp, Lincoln, NE, June 15th – 19th. Learn more about this camp and how to register at

What are you planning to do to this spring to celebrate nature, water, and our Earth? Are there special events planned for your community? Remember Earth Day is April 22nd and National Arbor Day in on April 24th.

Happy spring to all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

GROUNDWATER "Sweet 16 Bracket"

In the spirit of March Madness, let’s fill the top “sweet 16” brackets of ways to protect and conserve our precious natural resource—GROUNDWATER! Here are four to get you started…

1) Take shorter showers
2) Check for leaky faucets/toilets and have them fixed
3) Shut water off while brushing your teeth
4) Dispose of chemicals properly

Monday, March 16, 2009

Economic Challenges for Environmental Education

Environmental education is endorsed by 95% of adult Americans according to a 2001 Roper Report, yet that same report says that most Americans are largely uninformed or misinformed about environmental issues. For example, the survey found that 45 million Americans think the ocean is a source of fresh water; another 120 million people think disposable diapers are the leading problem with landfills when they actually represent about 1% of the problem.

Obviously, continued environmental education is needed, to face the current and new challenges regarding water quality and quantity. Yet, where do the dollars come from to support environmental education especially in the current economic situation?

It is clear the American public understands the importance of protecting our environment but to do so effectively people need to truly understand the issues and their role in protection. The question is: how will environmental education be supported in the future?

Please share your thoughts and ideas by responding to this blog.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Roll out the barrel, spring is right around the corner

by Carla Otredosky, The Groundwater Foundation

Out my window, the grass is beginning to peer from beneath the melting snow, a flock of birds gather and cheerfully chat. I note on my calendar to adjust my clock for daylight savings time this weekend and know that spring is just around the corner.
This got me thinking.

What is one simple thing that I can do in my own yard to become a groundwater-friendly gardener in 2009?

Use a rain barrel! A rain barrel is a large drum (50-60 gallon capacity) placed beneath the downspout of a home. This barrel collects rain water as it runs off the roof where it is stored for later use to water gardens and lawns.

The idea of capturing rain water has been around for thousands of years. While rain seems like an infinite resource, it is desperatley missed during a time of drought. If your water supply comes from a well or a stressed aquifer, then you are even more at risk during a dry spell of not having water available to irrigate your garden or lawn. Using a rain barrel is a great way to lower your water bill and become less dependent on your city’s water supply.

Rain barrels are an easy solution to becoming a groundwater-friendly gardener because they are easy to install and require very little maintenance.

Rain barrels are often available in shades of brown, black or green. But they can be painted in a color to match your house. Consider decorating your rain barrel with painted images (choose exterior grade paints) to add artistic interest to your yard.

Let's show our neighbors that we really do care about conserving water and install rain barrels this spring!

NOTE: The City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division and the Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center invite you to view/bid on 25 rain barrels painted by local artists. Learn more about the "Artistic Rain Barrel Program" at

Friday, February 20, 2009

"For Love of Water"

By Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

I recently saw the documentary “FLOW” (For Love of Water). The film is an “award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis. Director Irena Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question "CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?" (taken from

While the film does help viewers understand the fragility and finite nature of our world’s water resources, I would have liked more of a focus on the importance of protecting that resource, rather than pointing fingers at the “governmental and corporate culprits.” I imagine this is because The Groundwater Foundation advocates protection of water resources as paramount to ensure a safe supply for generations to come.

Parts of FLOW left me feeling downhearted and pessimistic about the future of water, while other parts made me grateful for the infrastructure that grants me access to clean water in my home. The film quotes Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I think this message of individual and collective impact is empowering, and the part of the film that touched me the most were the stories of individuals and groups who have taken action and helped make access to drinking water a reality in many poor parts of the world.

The film concludes by discussing establishing access to clean water a fundamental human right with the United Nations (see for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). A petition is being circulated to add this as Article 31 to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.” (

What do you think – Is access to water a fundamental human right? Can anyone really own the water? If you’ve seen FLOW, what were your reactions?

Friday, February 13, 2009

February 15th Deadline Nears, Are You Ready?

February 15th marks the re-entry Deadline for Continuing Groundwater Guardian Communities and Affiliates.

Renewing Groundwater Guardian Communities and Affiliates seeking designation for 2009 need to submit the following three forms by February 15:

1. Team List
2. Annual Entry Form
3. Result Oriented Activity/Service Plan(s)

All forms are available for free online at Note: New communities may enter the program at any time by completing the same three forms.

For more information on the Groundwater Guardian recognition program, visit

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Work for The Groundwater Foundation

I Work for The Groundwater Foundation
by Jamie Oltman, Program Manager

While in college I was often asked, “What’s your major?” I would respond “Environmental Studies.” Then I would proudly add, “I want to help save the world!”

Nine years later… The question has changed, from, “What’s your major?” to “What do you do?” Today my response is, “I work for The Groundwater Foundation.” Then I pause.

I pause to see if this person who has inquired about my work might know about The Groundwater Foundation or at least groundwater. Too often groundwater seems to be a foreign word in most vocabularies and I can imagine what they may be thinking… “An organization founded for the sake of ground…what?” I then explain, “We are a non-profit, environmental education organization.” This seems to bring some clarity to whoever asked the question.

When I Google searched “groundwater” I found two of the top three links, were pages from The Groundwater Foundation’s website! The first was a Wikipedia page on groundwater which list The Groundwater Foundation first on the External Links. The Groundwater Foundation also came up before the United State Geological Survey and The Environmental Protection Agency on the Google search. One would think based on the Google search and Wikipedia ranking, “I work for The Groundwater Foundation” should not cause quite the confusion it does. I don’t know how many people spend time Google searching “groundwater,” but if they did, I’m sure they would become more familiar with The Groundwater Foundation.

Most people are simply unfamiliar with the term groundwater. They don’t realize the role groundwater plays in our lives. Many people don’t realize the water they drink is most likely groundwater. They do not know that the majority of fresh water available for drinking is stored beneath our feet as groundwater. They have no idea that the food they eat was likely grown with groundwater. Regardless of how familiar we are with the term groundwater one thing is for certain we all depend on it. We may not realize where our water is coming from or how much of it we use but we all need to know we cannot live without it. To most it is just simply water. Whether it comes from the ground, stream, lake, or river it is the resource that we need to survive, the resource that connects us all.

“I work for The Groundwater Foundation. A nonprofit, environmental education organization.” I pause. I silently remind myself of that goal I use to so proudly proclaim, “I want to help save the world…I work for The Groundwater Foundation.”

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Is groundwater a term you use a lot? How much do you know about groundwater? Perform your own “groundwater” internet search and share your new knowledge and discoveries with me on our blog!
Remember if you search through Goodsearch,, and enter The Groundwater Foundation as the organization you wish to support each search will raise one cent for The Groundwater Foundation!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google is out, GoodSearch is in.

Give to The Groundwater Foundation Just by Searching the Internet!

Here's a new easy way to raise money for The Groundwater Foundation – just start using Yahoo! powered as your search engine and they'll donate a penny to The Groundwater Foundation every time you do a search! In addition, do your shopping through their online shopping mall,, where you can shop at more than 900 top online retailers and a percentage of your purchases will go to The Groundwater Foundation. You pay the same price as you normally would, but a donation goes to help support The Groundwater Foundation!

GoodSearch for The Groundwater Foundation here: and GoodShop here: Be sure to enter The Groundwater Foundation as your charity of choice.

You can also read about GoodSearch in the NY Times, Oprah Magazine, CNN, ABC News and the Wall Street Journal at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As Obama Takes Office, What Changes Are Ahead?

As our nation begins a new chapter today with the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, we all can’t help but look toward the future of our nation. We know that taking action to address the economic crisis will take center stage in the new administration, as well as Middle East peace talks and the war in Iraq.

But what about the future of our environment? What do you expect from the Obama administration in terms of environmental protection?

Monday, January 12, 2009