Wednesday, December 25, 2019

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Upcycled Reindeer}

Happy holidays to one and all!

Frannie loves making holiday crafts with her friends and this year, they decorated their homes with upcycled toilet paper roll reindeer. It's so simple that all you need is a toilet paper roll (or a paper towel roll cut in half), a pencil or pen, and a pair of scissors.

To make your reindeer extra fancy, you can also get a red button or cotton ball to be glued on as a nose, sticker or googly eyes, and crayons or markers. Be creative!

Start by squishing the toilet paper tube flat. Lightly draw lines, as seen below, that you will then cut along to form the antler and legs of the reindeer.

Cut out the legs completely, making sure you cut through both sides of the roll. Next, cut along the top line, making sure you cut through both sides of the roll. Separate your antlers by cutting the top of the tube along the crease, as shown below.

Now it's time to shape the antlers. First, take one of the antlers and make a twist inward so that the antler points forward. While holding the first twist in place, make a second twist so that the antler is now pointing towards the tail of the reindeer. Repeat with the second antler.

Fold the cut edges below the antlers down so that one side covers the other. Now that you've finished the body of the reindeer, you can decorate it any way you'd like! Frannie wanted to make Rudolph so she colored him in with brown crayons, drew on eyes, and gave him a nose with a bright red cotton ball.

Have a great holiday, everyone! See you in the new year!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

BLOG: Groundwater Education in Hawaii

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

Earlier this year, in the middle of one of the snowiest winters on record in the Groundwater Foundation’s hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, we received an order from the Groundwater Catalog for 10 Awesome Aquifer Kits and JUG (Just Understanding Groundwater) kits. I was instantly jealous of the kits, as they were headed off to say “Aloha” and help people understand groundwater in their new home of Hawaii.

For the last 33 years, Daniel Chang has been involved in environmental education and outreach, in one form or another, while working on drinking water and groundwater quality with the Hawaii Department of Health. Chang has been instrumental in getting groundwater education tools into the hands of educators. He understands the value of groundwater as a natural resource and its finite nature.

“If we contaminate or waste this resource, we cannot go out and get more, so we need to be good stewards, use it wisely, and protect it from contamination,” he said. “Education and outreach is one way to get the message out. Knowledgeable citizens and students are important in ensuring good quality water now and into the future.”

Although it’s surrounded by water as an island state, Hawaii relies on groundwater as its main source of water for drinking and irrigation. Over 500 million gallons per day of groundwater is used in the state to fulfill domestic, commercial, and industrial needs. Groundwater provides about 99 percent of Hawaii’s domestic water and about 50 percent of freshwater used in Hawaii. Hawaii’s groundwater resources may appear plentiful, but much of the precipitation runs off to the ocean in streams or returns to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration.

Naturally, Chang wanted to help Hawaiians understand this resource. “Working in the State’s  Groundwater Protection Program, we would get calls from schools to talk about groundwater in Hawaii and needed a way to explain how groundwater works to students,” he said.

While looking for possible activities that he and his colleagues could use to present to students, he came across the AAK and JUG through the Groundwater Foundation catalog, and was excited
about how the tools could be used.

“The interesting part of these kits was that they were simple, yet provided several activities that we could do to teach the students about groundwater,” Chang explained. He said they use both the AAK and the JUG to teach students groundwater basics.

The kits have been used in a variety of educational settings that showcase their adaptability. From groundwater displays at Earth Day events and county fairs, Project WET educator trainings, special events like the annual Make-A-Splash Water Festival conducted by the Kauai Department of Water, to direct education in classrooms with students, the JUG and AAK are helping to spread the message about groundwater.

Notably, the Hawaii Department of Health provided funding to the state’s Project WET Coordinating Agency to purchase AAK and JUG kits that were provided to educators that attended the Project WET Educator’s Workshops for use in their classrooms.

They’re making an impact. “Students enjoy the different activities that we teach them using these educational tools,” Chang said. “Many of them ask us when we are coming back to do more activities with them.”

Other agencies have also embraced the kits as teaching tools, including Chang’s Hawaii Department of Health and the Kauai Department of Water, which Chang said has has spurred environmental education beyond groundwater. He points out that in the recently completed Hawaii State Science and
Engineering Fair, personnel from the Department of Health judged 20 projects related to drinking water and groundwater.

“This is a significant increase over the past 10-20 years when we were lucky to see just a handful of projects,” Chang said.

Chang knows his and his team’s work isn’t done when it comes to teaching people about  groundwater. “While the State has made progress in our groundwater education and outreach efforts, there is still a lot more that needs to be done,” he said.

Chang is excited about continuing to find new ways to deliver groundwater education. He knows that new and creative ways of groundwater education come from reviewing existing ideas and activities, creative and innovative thinking, and the sharing of ideas.

“The Groundwater Foundation has been a great resource in our efforts,” Chang said.

Get your own Awesome Aquifer Kit, Just Understanding Groundwater kit, or other useful groundwater education products from the Groundwater Foundation’s online catalog.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Groundwater Week 2019 - Groundwater Foundation Scavenger Hunt!}

Frannie had an amazing time at Groundwater Week in Las Vegas, NV. She said hello to many of her old Groundwater Guardian friends at the Groundwater Foundation Symposium on Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday were dedicated to making new friends while doing the Groundwater Foundation Scavenger Hunt!

The Scavenger Hunt consisted of 17 companies or organizations who supported the Groundwater Foundation by donating money to help Frannie and Foundation staff do education and outreach activities.

Frannie first swam down aisle 1 to meet GICON and NAPCO Pipe & Fittings.

Then she dashed around to say hello to Cotey Chemical Corp, GEFCO, and Wyo-Ben. Wyo-Ben also donated an item to the Groundwater Foundation's silent auction fundraiser!

Next door on aisle 4, Frannie met representatives from International Pipe and National Driller.

Frannie made 3 friends on aisle 5, including A.O. Smith Water Systems, Boshart Industries, and Flomatic Valves!

She ran into some old friends at the Water Systems Council booth, who have happily supported the Foundation's education efforts for a long time.

Frannie is sorry that she missed the folks at Cascadian Water and Sun-Star Electric, Inc, but hopes to see them at Groundwater Week next year!

Frannie skipped a couple aisle to get to aisle 9, where she met friends from Simmons Manufacturing and Mount Sopris.

Frannie was getting kind of tired from swimming all over the exhibit hall, so she was happy to stop by and rest awhile at the CSI Water Treatment Systems booth.

At the far end of the hall, a nice representative from Milspec Industries welcomed Frannie and the Groundwater Foundation booth for a quick photo-op just before dinner.

Great job, Frannie! And a big Thank You to the sponsors of the Groundwater Foundation Scavenger Hunt for supporting the Groundwater Foundation's vision to protect our drinking water resources by connecting and inspiring individuals and communities to take action with the goal of having clean, sustainable groundwater.