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Water, Water Everywhere

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We recently paddled from the Slate Islands back to the mainland. During the six mile crossing of open water, the wind was calm. Our kayaks glided over the glassy surface. A little swell caused us to gently bob up and down as we paddled. Being far from shore on this massive freshwater lake put things in perspective for me. Lake Superior is an incredibly important freshwater resource.

What do you know about freshwater? Freshwater is water that does not contain salt. Only a small amount the earth's water is freshwater. Most of the earth's water can be found in the oceans – and that is saltwater. Freshwater can be found in lakes, rivers, wetlands, underground, and frozen in glaciers. Freshwater is very important to all living things. About 60% of the human body is water. We not only need to drink water to live, but we depend on water to grow our food.

Water doesn't just stay in one place all the time. It is constantly circulating in the atmosphere and on the ground, changing from one state to another.6_4_12DaveDan

Interesting Freshwater Facts

  • In a 100 year period, an average water molecule spends 98 years in the ocean, 20 months as ice, about two weeks in lakes and rivers, and less than a week in the atmosphere. (http://www.freshwater.org/water_facts.html)

  • A major source of pollution in towns and cities is rainwater that flows into street catch basins (called urban runoff or storm water runoff). While the rainwater alone is not necessarily harmful, it frequently carries untreated waste products from our streets and yards directly to rivers, lakes and streams.(http://watercenter.unl.edu/FAQs.asp#Whatisawatershed)

Freshwater Conservation

Freshwater is a precious resource. People, plants, and animals need water to live. It is important for us to conserve freshwater. Here are some water saving tips for you (from Mono Lake http://www.monolake.org/about/waterconservation ).

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You may have heard this one before, but there’s a good reason for that. Saves three gallons each day.

  • Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Especially in times of drought, water with a hose instead of using a sprinkler system.

  • If you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run. Saves 200 to 500 gallons a month. If you use a dishwasher, run only full loads—do the same with your washing machine. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.

  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it for drinking. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.

  • Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better—compost!). Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.

6_4_12islands

Questions for Discussion

Why is freshwater important?

How do you use water on a daily basis?

Can you think of other ways to conserve water?

How can we keep lakes and rivers clean?

Do you live near a lake, river, stream, or wetland?

 

Further Exploration and Sources

Water Wiz Game: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/puzzlesquizzes/water-wiz/

Freshwater Information: http://www.eoearth.org/article/Freshwater

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/

http://www.education.noaa.gov/Freshwater/

Freshwater Ecosystems: http://www.epa.gov/bioindicators/aquatic/freshwater.html

http://www.mbgnet.net/fresh/index.htm

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibits/biomes/freshwater.php

Water Science for Schools: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/mearth.html

The States of Water: http://www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/textbook/slg.html

The Water Cycle: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/atmos/hydro.htm http://www.mbgnet.net/fresh/index.htm

http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=23CEC266-1

Water Footprint Calculator: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/water-footprint-calculator/

Cast Your Vote!

What should we explore in Pukasakwa National Park?

During the next two weeks we will be exploring one of the most wild remote sections of Lake Superior. The Trans-Canadian Highway heads East away from Lake Superior for over 100 miles there are no towns or roads near the lake. Much of this wilderness is in Pukaskwa National Park. We need you to help us decide what to study in this special place.

Pukaskwa National Park is named after the mysterious Pukaskwa Pits that are found in the park. Scientists are not sure why people built these stone pit in the ancient beaches along the shore, but they are thought to be between 500 and 2000 years old. We could visit some do these archeological sites and learn more about them.

There are many animals that live in Pukaskwa National Park. We could spend our time looking for animals like Black Bears, Bald Eagles and Timber Wolves.

Because Pukaskwa is far from towns and roads it gets really dark at night. On a clear night you can see the Milky Way and many constellations. If we are lucky we might even see the Northern Lights. We could spend time learning about the night sky far away from towns and light pollution.

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Dave's Dilemma

How can we conserve power?

 

<div style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank" href="http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/blog/media/Administrator/Photo May 10 2012 557 PM1829751505.jpg"><img height="335" width="500" id="blogsy-1338174821507.1472" src="http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/blog/media/Administrator/Photo May 10 2012 557 PM1829751505.jpg" /></a></div>
<p>We need electricity to power our cameras, computers, satellite phone, GPS, and other electronic devices.  However, we do not have easy access to power like most people in North America have at home or school. We use solar panels and a battery made by Goal Zero to collect energy from the sun to power our electronics. Our solar panels and battery pack work really well, especially when we have several sunny days in a row. However, when it is cloudy for several days in a row it can be hard to keep all of our electronics charged.</p>
<p>What can we do to help conserve our limited power supply?</p>
<p>What are things that you can do at home or at school to conserve energy?</p>
<p> </p>
<div style="clear: both; text-align: center;" class="separator"><a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank" href="http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/blog/media/Administrator/Photo May 10 2012 557 PM1829751505.jpg"><img height="335" width="500" class="aligncenter" id="blogsy-1338174821507.1472" src="http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/blog/media/Administrator/Photo May 10 2012 557 PM1829751505.jpg" /></a></div>
<p>We need electricity to power our cameras, computers, satellite phone, GPS, and other electronic devices.  However, we do not have easy access to power like most people in North America have at home or school. We use solar panels and a battery made by Goal Zero to collect energy from the sun to power our electronics. Our solar panels and battery pack work really well, especially when we have several sunny days in a row. However, when it is cloudy for several days in a row it can be hard to keep all of our electronics charged.</p>
<p>What can we do to help conserve our limited power supply?</p>
<p>What are things that you can do at home or at school to conserve energy?</p>
<p> </p>

 

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