Friday, December 15, 2017

BLOG: The Blame Game or The Illusive Culprit

by Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

Is it human nature to always look around us for someone else to blame? There's a lot of research that fully explores the blame game, but each of us has our own experiences. It happens in every situation, including issues surrounding groundwater. In the case of groundwater contamination, it is easy to point to one source and put all of the blame on it. But, that is too simple and, honestly, just not fair.  Let’s explore this a little further through one of the hottest topics: the pipeline. (First, a side note: I find it ironic that it is referred to as “the pipeline” when there are around 22,000 miles of pipelines under our feet.)



Back to the topic at hand: the blame game. If you listen to soundbites and only read headlines you could easily believe that the fate of our aquifer depends on one pipeline. As I mentioned, that is simply not right, nor fair. This is one potential source of contamination that is easy to point to. 

Now let’s look at two words from the sentence above: source and point. If you dive a little deeper into groundwater contamination, both of these words are super important, and there is a third one that is important too: non. Putting them together we have point source contamination and non-point source contamination. Point source contamination comes from a precise point, like a pipeline or factory. Non-point source contamination is trickier - you cannot simply point at. It generally results from runoff. As the runoff moves across the land's surface it picks up and carries with it natural and human-made pollutants, which ultimately end up in surface or groundwater.  

Non-point source contamination could be considered the illusive culprit; the reality is, it plays a huge role in the fate of our aquifer. Instead of pointing our fingers at one potential threat, let's follow the backward trail of that illusive threat and trace where contaminants were picked up. The scary part of following that trail is that we might just end up pointing at ourselves if we realize the runoff picked up contaminants as it passed our home or business.

We all contribute to groundwater contamination. Let’s focus on what we can each do better personally, and then let’s bring that to our neighborhood, work place, children’s school, or relative’s farm, and let’s get ahead of that illusive culprit!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {#ThrowbackThursday with Holiday Upcycling: Toilet Paper Roll Wreaths }

It's that time of year again. ❆⛄🎄⛄🎄❆

Frannie's favorite things to do during this season are to drink hot chocolate and spend time with her family and friends decorating their trees, rooms, and homes.  

If you are having a hard time figuring out how to decorate your door this year, why don't you check out one of Frannie's all-time favorite upcycling activities from a couple years ago?  That's right, we're celebrating #tbt early with a wreath made out of paper towel and toilet paper rolls!

Don't forget to share with us at guardian@groundwater.org or on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  Happy decorating!

--

This Week's Project:
Toilet Paper Roll Wreaths
Frannie loves holiday wreaths! She thinks they are a neat way to add a festive touch to a room. Frannie loves that she can use her old toilet paper rolls to create beautiful wreaths for her home!

Materials:
  • 9 toilet paper rolls
  • scissors
  • green paint
  • small red circles (think buttons, construction paper, etc. Frannie used scraps of red foam)
  • glue
  • string or ribbon

Instructions:

  1. Collect 9 toilet paper rolls. You can also use 4 paper towel rolls or 1 wrapping paper roll. 
  2. Cut the toilet paper rolls into smaller pieces - about 3/4" wide. You'll need 5 smaller pieces to make one flower, and you'll need a total of 45 pieces to make 9 flowers. 
  3. Paint each piece green. 
  4. Arrange the pieces the way you would like them to look. You can use the photo as an example. Then, glue your pieces together. 
  5. Adorn your green wreath with red "berry" accents. You can use red buttons, red circles cut out from construction paper, or anything else you can think of! Place them around the wreath according to taste and glue them in place.
  6. Congratulations! You have just made an Upcycled Toilet Paper Roll Wreath! Hang it somewhere special to add a lovely holiday touch to a room.
For More Fun:

Add layers to your wreath! If you have extra toilet paper rolls, you can create more flowers to add more layers and dimension to your wreath. Get creative and have fun!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

BLOG: Girl Scouts and Groundwater

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Several years ago, The Groundwater Foundation partnered with Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska to pilot a patch program to help Girl Scouts learn about water and find ways they can help protect it. The Let's Keep It Clean and Ask Me About Groundwater patches were born out of this partnership. Patch booklets are available for all levels of Girl Scouts - Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador - with fun, hands-on activities for girls to earn the patches.

The past several months have seen a great increase in orders through our online catalog for patches and accompanying patch booklets. It's been fun to see all the places where Girl Scouts are learning about groundwater - the water we drink and the water that grows our food! Materials have been ordered by troops in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Indiana, New York, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan the last quarter.

Get your Girl Scout involved in the Let's Keep It Clean program! Find resources, activity ideas, and more on our website at www.groundwater.org/kids/getinvolved/girlscouts/. If you need more ideas, give us a shout at girlscouts@groundwater.org or 402-434-2740.

My daughter's Daisy troop earned patches!
Brownie Girl Scouts build a well in a cup.

Daisy Girl Scouts learn about water through the story of Frannie the Fish.

Cadette Girl Scouts learned about water and then led activities with a Brownie troop.
  
Junior Girl Scouts see how groundwater moves through a simple groundwater model.