Wednesday, December 26, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Christmas Trees Everywhere}

Christmas is past and it’s time to start thinking about putting away the decorations. There are boxes and bags for all of Frannie’s ornaments and strings of lights, but what about the Christmas tree?

Don’t worry Frannie! Real Christmas Trees are biodegradable, which means they can be re-purposed into other natural products very easily.  Christmas trees can add a lot to our environment in ways you might not expect. Check out these unique ways you can re-purpose your Christmas tree!

1) Mulch. Ok, this is an easy one. Many communities and businesses may have a drop off site where you can take your Christmas tree or some kind of tree pick-up service.  Mulching your garden with your old tree will help you save water and money in the summer months ahead.  If your city or county Parks departments have a drop off site for trees, then they might be using the mulch as a natural, renewable trail-lining material that works well for the environment and hikers.

2) Bird Feeders. String up popcorn and fresh orange slices and prop up your old Christmas tree outside. Winter is an especially hard time for birds to find food, so take this opportunity to turn your backyard into a bird sanctuary.

3) Fish Feeders and Refuge. Does a local lake have a drop off site for old Christmas trees? You might not realize it, but they could be throwing your old tree into the lake.  The densely needled branches provide shelter, a safe feeding area, and even food for the fish.

4) Soil Erosion Barriers. The heavy logs are a natural and renewable material that make an excellent foundation for deteriorating lake and river shores.

5) Zoo Animal Enrichment. Re-gift your Christmas tree to your local zoo! Zookeepers are always looking for new ways to make the animal enclosures more interesting for their occupants. The animals can climb, hide in, feed from, or destroy the trees, providing them with physical and mental exercise.

To learn more about how Christmas trees are reused or recycled in your community, reach out to your local zoo, parks department, or arboretum. Share what you find with us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

BLOG: Save Energy, Money, and Water this Winter

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

Water and energy are inextricably connected. A huge amount of water is used to generate electricity.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey
This winter, look for ways to save energy around your home, and you'll be saving water, too. Here are a few ways to get started:

1. Use the sun's energy to warm your home. Open curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during the day to let the sunlight stream in. Once the sun goes down, close those window coverings to reduce the chill from cold windows.

2. Cover drafty windows with clear plastic. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to keep more cold air out. You can also invest in energy-efficient window coverings.

3. Put on a sweater. When you're home and awake, set your thermostat as low as you can and still feel comfortable. When you're gone or asleep, turn your thermostat down 10-15 degrees. This will save energy and up to 10% per year on your energy bills! You may want to invest in a programmable thermostat to make the temperature adjustment automatic.

4. Seal any air leaks throughout your home. Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal up leaks around windows and doors.

5. Keep your heating system well-maintained. Have your heating systems serviced regularly and replace your furnace filter as recommended.

6. If you have a fireplace, reduce heat loss by keeping the damper closed unless you have a fire burning. You can also check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as tight as possible.

7. Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Save energy and prevent scalding!

8. Use LED lights to add holiday cheer to reduce the energy costs of decorating your home.

It's a win-win-win - save energy, save water, save money!

Adapted from Nebraska Department of Energy.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

BLOG: What a Groundwater Week!

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

Last week, all three Groundwater Foundation staffers traveled to Las Vegas for our first Groundwater Week as part of the National Ground Water Association family. It was an awesome week - meeting NGWA staff members, board members, and members, and introducing them to the work we do at the Groundwater Foundation. Check out our website for some photos and highlights from the week. Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to be there for Groundwater Week 2019 - December 2-5, 2019 in Las Vegas.

Perhaps the most exciting part of Groundwater Week for us was the debut of a video about the work of the Groundwater Foundation. It was a lot of fun to collaborate with the team from NGWA to develop this video and tell the Foundation's story:

We're proud of the work we do at the Groundwater Foundation - and we're proud to have you be a part of it.

Show your support - donate today!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Hot, Hot, Hot Springs!}

Brrr! It’s definitely cold now. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a free, natural hot tub where we could soak our winter blues away?

All over the world, including here in the United States, such magical, natural “hot tubs” exist and are known as hot springs! They are a favorite vacation destination for Frannie and her friends.
But what is a hot spring?

We know that groundwater naturally discharges in some locations called springs and that, many times, these springs feed creeks, rivers, and even lakes. In some cases, groundwater is warmed through the heat produced from the Earth’s mantle, known as geothermal energy, to temperatures hotter than 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Generally, a hot spring refers to water discharged at temperatures hotter than the average human body.

Hot springs, like the ones Frannie has been to, are a unique destination for a vacation or getaway. These pools fall within a much more comfortable temperature range of 93 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes, fancy hotels and resorts will make you pay an expensive entry fee to soak in their pools.  They may offer more temperature options and provide perks like a storage locker, towel, and shower. Many hot springs resorts in Asia also boast of pools scented with jasmine and eucalyptus or feature natural mud masks!

If don’t want to pay an expensive resort fee, don’t worry because there are other options! Hot springs are often located in geographically large basins that are known for high geothermal activity, so there are usually cheaper resorts or free public pools nearby. In Saratoga, Wyoming, a hot springs resort lies less than a mile away from the “Hobo Hot Springs”, a public pool where all are welcome to soak for a while before dashing into the freezing North Platte River to cool off.

The exploding geysers that are so famous in Yellowstone National Park are an example of beautiful, yet dangerous, hot springs.  The boiling water that shoots high into the air can sometimes run as hot as 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Colorful pools can be lethally acidic or contain dangerous bacteria.  Unless a hot springs pool is specifically designed for people to play in, it’s best to enjoy its beauty from a safe distance.

If you happen to live near or visit one of these amazing geological phenomena, let Frannie know! Take pictures and share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Stay toasty!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

BLOG: Showing, Not Telling

by Michelle Dry, Education and Outreach Director for the Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering Research (CAESER) at the University of Memphis

For those of us who are out in the trenches educating our communities about the sources of their drinking water when it is groundwater, the question “Where does your water come from?” is often met with puzzled looks, especially from some of the youngest members of our communities – school-aged children. They may reply the faucet or the sky, but when pressed to guess, they often reply with some creative responses, such as the ocean, despite an ocean being hundreds of miles away. In the past year or so, another response has been, “the sewer,” which is mostly likely the result of the 2014 movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Sometimes the guess given is a body of water people are familiar with, such as a nearby lake or a river.

In the city where I work, Memphis, Tennessee, another response I sometimes hear is the Mississippi River. Because Memphis is one of the largest cities in the U.S. that solely uses groundwater for its tap water, it is crucial that its residents know and understand the source of their tap water so that it can be managed sustainably.

Part of my job is to educate the public about the source of its drinking water as well as why it is important to preserve and protect it. Memphis drinking water is highly praised by locals and visitors. Because it is abundant and of high quality, it is inexpensive, compared to areas where it may be scarcer and of lower quality. For many, it is easy to take Memphis water for granted. However, the biggest cheerleaders for Memphis groundwater are typically those who have lived elsewhere and those who have traveled widely. The cheerleaders know just how lucky Memphis is to have what is known as the Memphis Sand aquifer.

Although I work with engineers and geologists in my role at CAESER, I am not one. It is my job to translate their research efforts and results into meaningful information for the Memphis area community.

Because groundwater is not visible on the surface of the Earth, the way a river or lake is, even people who know water cycle concepts may not always know that the source of drinking water for our area is water from an aquifer. For those who do know that it comes from an aquifer, they may not know what an aquifer is, and they imagine it as an underground cave or lake.

When it comes to educating people about groundwater, whether they are adults or children, there are challenges to overcome because groundwater is a something people cannot see. We may be able to explain the concept in a way that some people can understand. However, if we can show that same concept by using visuals, it is more likely to be understood and remembered.

An ideal time to educate students about local water sources is when they are introduced to the water cycle. In Tennessee, state science standards require that the hydrologic cycle to be taught in the 5th grade.

As a former classroom teacher, I know that the teaching profession is demanding and busy. Teachers often have limited resources. Since leaving the classroom, I have continued to work with teachers through outreach positions. When I reach out to teachers, my philosophy is that if I can make their job easier, I am more likely to have success in reaching their students. I build on what teachers are required to teach and try to supplement their efforts while extending student learning. They want their students to understand the hydrologic cycle and do well on state standardized tests. My goals are that students learn about their water resources and become good stewards of water, and that they understand how water connects to our daily lives.

In trying to reach a maximum number of students, the idea of a traveling museum on wheels, or a mobile learning lab, seemed to be an efficient way connect with students from all over the city and to nearby areas, since they all use the same aquifer system. I wanted this museum on wheels to have the fun and excitement of a field trip, without the issues that sometimes accompany field trips, such as lost learning time, liability, cost, finding chaperones, and arranging for transportation. This mobile museum would be a fun experience as well as an educational one.
Fortunately, the International Paper Foundation helped to make this dream a reality. In addition to the $60K grant from the IP Foundation, my university based research center was able to utilize other campus resources to create the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile. The WOW mobile now exists as a 24’ trailer housing interactive and colorful exhibits that educate visitors about the Memphis aquifer and other water related topics. In creating the exhibits, I wanted visitors to have a comprehensive experience so that they could understand different aspects of water, yet understand that these aspects are connected. Visitors would be able to enter the trailer from either of the two doors and go to any exhibit as part of a self-guided learning experience prompted by their own curiosity and interests. The final product accomplishes this.

However, in a school setting, we typically start with a bit more structure. Once in the trailer, a WOW educator will typically focus a group’s attention on one display and move to another display, guided by a group’s questions and interests. Some teachers prefer a more structured learning experience and the students will have a sheet of questions that encourage them to read the exhibits’ text panels in order to find the answers. Free time is a part of the learning experience, too.

Free online lesson plans that complement the WOW exhibits are available, and some teachers will use these with their students prior to the WOW arriving at their school. A select group of teachers created these lesson plans, incorporating Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards into them. Since most students are introduced to the hydrologic cycle in the 5th grade, the lessons are designed for students in grades 4th through 6th.

Although the WOW was designed primarily for students in 4th-6th grades, it is also appealing to adults. Text for the exhibits was crafted in a way that it would be appropriate for students in upper elementary grades, but adults will find the information informative, too. Both the interior and the exterior are bright, colorful and inviting, which was intentional.
Since its debut in the fall of 2014, the WOW has been a tremendous success. Approximately 5,000 people a year experience the WOW, and if funding and staffing were available, it would reach even more people of all ages.

When visitors experience the WOW, one might hear, “Oh, wow!” because it is colorful and engaging. When former WOW visitors makes a repeat visit, they often share what they remembered and learned, especially if they are a schoolage visitor.

Follow-up evaluations done with teachers after a school visit are universally positive. “In 4th grade, the students are expected to recognize the components of the water cycle and describe their important to life on Earth,” said Logan Caldwell, a former teacher at Campus School, who now works at the University of Memphis. “The Water on Wheels experience seamlessly fit into our unit of study. My students were able to learn so much in such a short amount of time because of the hands on experience and the incredible visuals that the WOW possesses.”

The WOW is the most popular education and outreach program for the Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering Research (CAESER) at the University of Memphis. Although CAESER offers traditional classroom talks, career day visits, and hands-on activities such as building an aquifer in a cup, the uniqueness of the WOW makes it a sought after learning component for classroom teachers in Memphis and nearby areas, as well as a festival attraction. The WOW makes it easier for people of all ages to understand where their water comes from, where it is stored, and where it goes.
As we continue to expand and develop our water education and outreach activities, we are looking at how to expand the WOW experience so that it continues to provide useful information to teachers and students in the K-12 community as well as the community at large. We know the WOW gives us access to our diverse city and community and we want to make it more accessible. We want everyone in our area to know where their water comes from and why it is so special. The WOW allows us to do that.

For more information about the WOW, go to or contact Michelle Dry directly at For more information about CAESER, go to

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {#TBT: Let's Keep Winter Clean!}

It looks like winter is finally here to stay! Have fun, stay warm, and enjoy this post from last year on how to be a good steward of the earth while staying safe on the slippery sidewalks.

With so much snow and ice on the ground, it’s important that we stay safe on our way to work or school.  Many cities use big trucks carry loads of salt and sand to spread on the roads and sidewalks.  This mixture melts ice and prevents it from forming again so that we can travel around without slipping.

Once the ice is melted, though, the water mixes with the salt and the runoff can cause the groundwater and surface water to become contaminated.  Here’s some ways you can help limit contamination from your home this winter.

1. Shovel early and shovel often. Frannie thinks its fun to shovel snow when it's not too thick and heavy.

2. To limit salt pollution, don't use too much salt or ice-melt. You only need about a handful for each square yard of concrete and using more doesn't actually work better.

3. Sand and kitty litter can stop you from slipping, but they don't melt snow.  Too much of it can even clog sewers, so remember to sweep up and throw away any extra that is left after the ice is gone.

4. Try an eco-friendly alternative to ice-melt and sand such as cracked corn, alfalfa meal, or beet juice.  While you should still be careful not to over-use them, these ingredients are shown to be less harmful than traditional ice treatments.

We can have fun, stay safe, AND keep winter clean together!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BLOG: We're Thankful!

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

My family and I started a new tradition this year - a Thankful Pumpkin. For the past couple weeks after dinner, we take turns sharing things we're thankful for and we write them on the pumpkin. It's a great visual reminder of how blessed we are, and it's been fun to hear from my kids the things they're thankful for. Our pumpkin has everything from Grandma, books, spinach, and fuzzy socks to our house, bacon, school, and water.

On social media this month, we've been sharing what we're thankful for here at the Groundwater Foundation on Thankful Thursdays. Here are a few of what we've shared:

We hope you have a Thanksgiving full of blessings. We're thankful for you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

BLOG: Our First Groundwater Week!

For the 22nd time, the National Ground Water Association’s Groundwater Week will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Scheduled for December 3-6, 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Groundwater Week is the groundwater industry’s biggest show, featuring educational opportunities, a packed exhibit hall with the latest from the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers, and opportunities to meet and network with groundwater professionals from around the world.

The Groundwater Foundation merged with NGWA's Foundation over the summer, and we are really looking forward to participating in our first Groundwater Week - which is rapidly approaching.

Some highlights from Groundwater Week 2018 include:

  • Early/New Career Meet Up 
  • First Timer/New Member Orientation
  • Master Groundwater Contractors Luncheon 
  • NGWA Welcome Party 
  • Keynote Presentation by actor, author, motivational speaker and retired U.S. Army soldier J.R. Martinez 
  • Awards of Excellence 
  • Exhibit Hall 
  • 2018 NGWA Darcy Lecture Farewell Presentation 
  • 2018 William A. McEllhiney Distinguished Lecture Series in Water Well Technology 
  • Coffee with NGWA Directors and CEO 
  • New Products Showcase 
  • NGWA Bookstore 
  • The Great Groundwater Foundation Scavenger Hunt 

Groundwater Week also offers a full slate of educational offerings. Workshops, panels and more will offer professional development opportunities about business management, drilling operations and well construction, safety and compliance, groundwater monitoring, sustainable and available groundwater, water quality, water systems, and well maintenance and rehabilitation. The Groundwater Foundation will be offering a workshop on Tuesday, December 4 about getting involved with its various programs and outreach efforts, including Groundwater Guardian and Groundwater Guardian Green Sites.

A reception with a live and silent auction will be held on Wednesday, December 5 to benefit the Groundwater Foundation’s programs. If you’re interested in donating to the auction or to see current auction items (there's some cool stuff available), go to If you’d like to donate an auction item, such as autographed memorabilia, gift baskets, professional services, unique experiences, etc., please contact Groundwater Foundation Executive Director Jane Griffin at To find out more about Groundwater Week, see a full schedule and description of events, or to register, visit

We're excited to be in Vegas this year to meet and network with fellow groundwater protectors. Won't you join us?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Happy Thanksgiving!}

It’s almost Thanksgiving! Frannie is hosting a huge Thanksgiving meal for her friends and family to show how thankful she is for their presence. Even though there will be a lot of cooking and cleaning, here are some tricks Frannie loves to use to stay water-smart during this time of year.

1)  Give yourself enough time to defrost your turkey. A popular method to quickly defrost turkey and other meats on the big day is to soak them in cold water. Instead, try planning ahead and place your turkey in the refrigerator a few days before. Just remember: the bigger the turkey, the more time it needs to thaw.
Bonus Tip: Put the turkey in a pan or plastic bag to catch any leaking juices. 

2)  Wash your veggies and fruits in a large bowl of water. Instead of using running water to rinse all the veggies, use a bowl to cut down the amount of water that goes down the drain. Then, give that grey water cleaning duty and soak the roasting pan, dirty utensils, or other dishes before washing them.

3)  Steaming your vegetables instead of boiling them not only conserves water, but also preserves more nutrients and vitamins. If you don’t have a special steamer, you can place your veggies and a few tablespoons of water in a microwave safe container with a lid and microwave them for a few minutes. No microwave? Place inexpensive metal forks on the bottom of a pot, fill with a few tablespoons of water, and then let veggies steam in a heat-safe plate on top of forks.

4)  When cleaning dishes, carefully and completely load up your dishwasher and only run full loads.  Did you know that an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher can use as little as three gallons? If you wash dishes by hand, fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.  And remember, put that grey water you used to wash veggies to work by soaking dirty pans and dishes to make the whole process easier.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2018

BLOG: 5 Ways Green Sites Protect Groundwater

By Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Groundwater Guardian Green Sites is a program of the Groundwater Foundation that recognizes the groundwater stewardship of green spaces. Green Sites like golf courses, parks, educational and office campuses, nature centers, and more implement groundwater-friendly practices as part of their regular site maintenance. To participate, site managers fill out an application that documents their site’s practices related to water use, chemical use, potential contaminant management, and more, earning points for each practice. Here are 5 ways the protect groundwater:

1. Green Sites manage their site with groundwater in mind. The Green Site program prompts site managers to look internally at their practices and examine them through the lens of groundwater protection. The application makes them think and ask questions about how they operate, and look at ways they can improve their practices to protect groundwater and related natural resources. 

2. Green Sites look for ways to reduce their chemical use. Site managers earn points for finding ways to reduce their site’s chemical use – from implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to soil testing to determine nutrient needs. Green Sites have reduced fertilizer use by nearly 1 million pounds by analyzing the soil’s nutrient needs and using lower input plants, and reduced pesticide use by about 35% by using label recommended application rates and IPM.

3. Green Sites save water whenever they can. By utilizing precision watering and irrigation techniques, along with common sense practices, Green Sites use less water and still maintain healthy turf. In fact, participating Green Sites have saved nearly 500 million gallons of water by tracking their site’s water usage, modifying irrigation practices when necessary, and choosing plants and turf species that are adapted to the region’s climate. Some sites even use recycled wastewater for watering landscapes.

4. Green Sites are environmental stewards. Site managers that participate in the Green Site program actively look for ways to protect the environment beyond water resources. They implement recycling programs, install energy-efficient lighting, expand wildlife habitat, use native plants in landscaping, and more.

5. Green Sites educate site staff and the community. As an organization that focuses on education, it was imperative to the Groundwater Foundation to build continuing education into the Green Site program. Site managers document their internal education efforts for site staff, as well as public outreach efforts such as tours, work with students, and community events.

To find out more about the Green Site program and how you can get involved, visit, email, or call 402-434-2740.

Friday, November 2, 2018

BLOG: "Flushable" Wipes Aren't Flushable After All

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

What does "flushable" truly mean? If you define it as being capable of being flushed down a toilet as "flushable" then yes, flushable wipes are indeed flushable.

Flushable wipes going through the sewer system without causing a problem? Inconceivable! I'm reminded of a scene from one of my very favorite movies:

However, just because you conceivably can flush wipes, does it mean you should flush them?

The answer is a resounding "NO."

According to wastewater experts, the only things that should get flushed are human waste and toilet paper. The rest - wipes, feminine hygiene products, tissues, paper towels, cotton swabs, dental floss - all belong in the trash can for disposal. Medications should also never be flushed. Wastewater treatment facilities aren't typically able to remove these compounds. Seek out local take-back options instead (like the Nebraska MEDS Initiative) or utilize DEA's National Drug Take-Back Days.

What can happen if too much other stuff is flushed down drains or toilets? A whole lotta yuck, that's what. Take this example in Charleston, South Carolina. A series of clogs from wipes required employees to work 24 hours a day for five days to clear them, and even worse, divers to go down 80-90 feet into their system through raw sewage to find the clog.

If you have a septic system, flushing these items is also a terrible idea, filling the tank faster and affecting the system's ability to effectively treat wastewater.

The City of Spokane did a series of experiments showing what happens when common items are flushed down the toilet:

So do your local wastewater utility or septic system a favor - unless it's #1, #2, or toilet paper, keep it out of the toilet!

The Carmel, Indiana (a Groundwater Guardian team) Utility also has a great educational video about improperly flushing items.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Have a Green Halloween!}

Happy Halloween, friends!

Whether you’re going to a costume party or staying at home watching scary movies, here are 5 tricks to make this Halloween a treat for the Earth.

1) Use the whole pumpkin. Jack-o-Lanterns are a favorite part of many people’s Halloween.  By buying from a local pumpkin patch, you are reducing the amount of time and effort it takes to transport the pumpkin to the store. That saves water!  Try roasting the seeds for a salty snack or using the innards to make pumpkin pie. And once Halloween is all over, you can put your pumpkin in the compost.

2) Instead of regular candy, hand out treasures!  Treasures can be little trinkets like seed packets or items made from recycled materials that will last longer than one night and can help reduce packaging waste. Can’t give up your sweet tooth? Instead of buying your Halloween candy at a store, buy it from a group that is raising money to support an amazing cause.

3) DIY your Halloween decorations! Frannie has shown you in previous blogs some ways to make cool Halloween decorations out of materials you can easily find in your house. Even better, you can recycle or reuse them after you’re done!

4) Help your candy wrappers rise from the dead! If you’re really crafty, you can take your used candy wrappers and make cute barrettes, hair bows, and broaches. For a simpler option, send your candy wrappers to Terracycle’s Candy Wrapper Zero Waste Box. There, candy wrappers are repurposed and used to make notebooks, tote bags, and much more.

5) Costume-swap with your friends! Did you know that it takes 713 gallons of water to make a single cotton t-shirt? Many Halloween costumes are made up of multiple pieces and most costumes will only be worn once and then thrown away. Save water (and time and money shopping for costumes) this year by swapping costumes with your friends or jazz up last year’s costume with some new accessories!

Have a Green Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

BLOG: Groundwater Has Its Own Voice

by Jane Griffin, The Groundwater Foundation

At the Groundwater Foundation, we always say that we are the voice of groundwater. Little did we know - groundwater has its own voice! Most of us don’t ever hear it, because most of us do not spend time thousands of feet under the earth’s surface.

I was recently driving home from a tennis tournament, listening to a program on the radio and I heard the sound of groundwater, thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. I could hardly believe it! It was fascinating, especially because I never expected to hear the sound of groundwater!

If you want to hear the sound of groundwater, and a very interesting story about Elements, then tune into this podcast (the story begins about about 56:15).  Enjoy listening and envisioning the magic of groundwater as it moves through the water cycle, thousands of feet below the earth’s surface!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Top 5 Reasons to Carry a Reusable Water Bottle}

Frannie knows how important it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but she also knows that using a reusable water bottle is better for the environment and our health than purchasing bottled water! For this Water-Wise Wednesday, Frannie is going to go through her top 5 reasons for using a reusable water bottle.

Top 5 Reasons for using a reusable water bottle:

1. It's EASY to use! Most places you go have water fountains where you can fill up your water bottle. And if you don't want to drink water? You can still ask your server, cashier, or barista to fill up your reusable bottle with coffee, pop, tea, or one of your other favorite beverages!

2.  It is healthier to use bottles that are free from chemicals like bisphenol A, often referred to as BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that can have possible negative health effects on your brain.  Plastics marked with recycle codes 3 and 7 may be made with BPA. Almost all reusable water bottles are BPA-free.

3. Getting water from the tap is cheaper than buying bottled water.  Bottled water can cost up to 500 times more than tap water!

4. It saves water! Making new plastic bottles takes a LOT of water.  In fact, it takes more water to produce one plastic bottle than the water put into the bottle for drinking!

5. It's better for the environment.  Using reusable water bottles is better for the environment because it reduces your carbon footprint.  Producing new, disposable water bottles uses many fossil fuels and releases toxins into the air during production.

Frannie also likes to make her tap water yummier! Sometimes she will let her water bottle chill in the fridge so it’s nice and cold.  It saves water since you don’t have to run the tap and wait for the water to get cold!

She also likes to add fruits or veggies to her water to give it a little extra taste.  One of Frannie’s favorite summer drinks is chilled water with cucumber slices.  It’s a healthy refreshing drink to treat your brain to after taking those hard midterm exams!

Where do you take your water bottle? What's your favorite drink to put inside it?  Share with us by email or by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

BLOG: Earth Science Week and Groundwater

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

October 14-20 is Earth Science Week. Organized by the American Geosciences Institute annually, the week helps the public better understand and appreciate Earth sciences and encourages stewardship of the earth.

Groundwater should be an important component and focus of the Earth sciences, and learning about it can be a fun way to celebrate Earth Science Week. Here are a few fun activities to help you discover more about groundwater and how it fits with Earth science.

1. "See" groundwater with an Awesome Aquifer Kit.
Build your own working aquifer model and "see" groundwater. The kit includes six advanced groundwater demonstrations - groundwater terminology, its role in the water cycle, the makeup of an aquifer, contamination, and clean up.

2. Growing with Groundwater.
Create a mini terrarium that demonstrates the different phases of the water cycle, and learn about the four basic elements needed for plant, animal, and human survival (soil, water, sunlight, air).

3. Aquifer in a Cup
Create a mini aquifer model with just some gravel and/or sand, a clear cup, and water. Learn cool groundwater terminology - water table, saturated zone, unsaturated zone.

4. Water Cycle Bangles
Water is constantly moving around, through and above the earth as a gas (water vapor), a liquid, and
as a solid (ice). This never ending process is called the hydrologic cycle. Make a bracelet and learn how water moves.

5. There's No New Water
Learn how much water is on the planet and where it's stored. You may be surprised to learn that groundwater and fresh water make up a very small percentage of the Earth's total water supply!

Want to find more hands-on activities? Check out of online activity library and search by age, topic, duration, and more. Earth Science Week also has an online toolkit with a variety of resources - posters, data, lab activities, and other science-focused tools.