By Cindy Etgen
It is all about WaterHow much water will a watershed shed if a watershed sheds its wetlands?

What rumbles but is never hungry and crashes but never gets hurt?

What has a tough skin, can make a mountain of sugar disappear, can keep elephants cool, and can crack giant boulders?

What do these riddles have in common? Here are some clues:
  • The human brain is made up of 75 percent of this.
  • A person can live about a month without food but only a week without this.
  • There is the same amount of this on Earth as there was when Earth was formed, making it possible for people to drink molecules that the dinosaurs drank.
  • You can save up to five gallons of this a day by turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth.
Yep, the above riddles are all about WATER! One of Earth’s most precious resources, all living organisms must have water to survive. However, nearly 97 percent of the world’s water contains salt and is undrinkable, and more than 2 percent is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves less than 1 percent in the form of freshwater for consumption!

Humans have many uses for water, including personal, residential, manufacturing, community and personal needs. The demand for water continues to increase - according to some experts water usage has tripled since 1950. As our population continues to grow, the demand for clean water will grow as well.

You have the power to start water conservation in your own home. Can you think of ways that you and your family can reduce the amount of water that you use? Here are just a few:

Join In...
Each of us is a water droplet in the water cycle. Do your part to make your waterways cleaner, healthier and BETTER!

Project WET is a contemporary, hands-on water education program for educators and young people in grades K-12. Project WET addresses water from A to Z across all subject areas: The chemical and physical properties of water; water quality; surface water including ground-water, wetlands and watersheds; the social and cultural constructs of water; weather and much more.

Want to learn how bugs help us determine water quality? Healthy Water, Healthy People addresses human and animal health and water quality monitoring.

Are you an artist or a writer? Submit your work to the International River of Words Art and Poetry Contest and compete with others across the state and around the world.

These training programs and others are free of charge to formal and non-formal educators. Tell your teachers, your scout leader or your 4-H leader about them so you can learn more - and do more - about protecting this precious resource!

Educators of all types can get more information about water education, the above resources and professional development programs.

Hands on...
Get your class, scout group, 4-H group or community organization in on the action! Storm drain stenciling is a great way to remind people that everything that washes into storm drains ends up in a stream, river and even the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full.
  • Keep a container of water in the refrigerator rather than waiting for water to run cold from the faucet.

Aside from human beings, all of Maryland’s wonderful living resources - plants, fish, blue crabs and the many animals that live in and around the water - need clean water as well.

The overall health of the Chesapeake Bay is determined by the quality of its water. As good stewards of our natural resources, our goals for a cleaner, healthier environment must include improving water quality in Maryland.

a River Of Words art submissionOur everyday lives are touched by water in many ways that we may not even realize. Think about some of Maryland’s recent water-related events. The drought of 2002, Tropical Storm Isabel this fall, fog causing school delays, and those snow days we all look forward to. Amazing! These examples are illustrations of water in one of its three different forms - liquid, solid, or gas! Can you think of other examples of how water touches our lives?

Because we all need clean water to survive, everyone can and should take a role in conserving water and preventing water pollution. If we work together, we can improve water quality for people as well as animals, fish and plants. And one great way to get involved is through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ education programs that help teachers, students and adults learn about water and water quality!

Answers to riddles: What rumbles but is never hungry and crashes but never gets hurt? A thunderstorm. What has a tough skin, can make a mountain of sugar disappear, can keep elephants cool, and can crack giant boulders? Water.
Source: (Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide

Cindy Etgen...
is DNR's Aquatic Resources Education Coordinator, and is involved in environmental education on a state, regional and national level. She has been with DNR for 16 years and is a graduate of Juniata College and the University of Maryland. Cindy sits on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) and represents the mid-Atlantic and New England states on the National Project WET Coordinator's Council.

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