Water Conservation

Tips and Tricks

Fresh water is a finite resource. In addition to keeping our waterways clean, we also try to reduce water usage in general. Companies, businesses, and municipalities all have a responsibility to minimize their water consumption, but there are also a number of ways someone can conserve water in everyday ways. 

  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.
  • Be sure to repair any leaks or dripping faucets.
  • Only water gardens or lawns during the cool morning or evening hours. 
  • Only wash full loads of laundry.
Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019

During the month of July, try out different ways to reduce your water use. By July 31st,  we encourage you to submit 3 new ideas to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or tag us on social media to inspire others to conserve water around their home.

Here is one of ours: “I keep an empty pitcher next to the kitchen sink and I pour any leftover water — from drinking cups, the tea kettle, boiled noodles, etc. — into it and use that to water my indoor and outdoor plants.” -Melanie, ORK Staff

Twist Tie & Tie Dye

Do you ever wonder what happens to the small trash from food or other product packaging after it has been thrown in the trash? Some ends up in landfills and depending what it’s made from, it may or may not break down. Some ends up in our waterways which is a problem for the plants, animals and people.

Instead of throwing these things away, try reusing them. Start saving these packaging materials next time you buy groceries, farmers market items, or online shopping.

Materials:

  • Twist ties from produce, bread, etc.
  • Rubber bands from produce, packaging, etc.
  • Bread clips
  • Plastic bags (without vents or holes)
  • Fruits & veggies if tie-dying.  Suggestions: coffee grounds, turmeric powder, beets, avocado pits, purple cabbage, spinach & carrot tops

How to Reuse:

  • Twist ties make great organizers for electrical cords. Bind gently to not kink the cords.
  • Rubber bands can be used for so many things around the house, it’s good to just have a jar of them around…or you can tie dye with them!
  • Bread clips make a wonderful tiny palate for small art. Use fine point sharpies to design and then glue them onto a surface. See ideas for unique greeting cards, holiday ornaments, fridge magnets and more! 
  • Small plastic bags are great for picking up pet waste without having to buy specific bags! If you don’t have a dog, save them and re-gift them to someone who does or recycle them – check local guidelines for recycling.
Shirt dyed with tumeric

Tie-Dye:

Instead of putting fruit and vegetable waste straight in the trash or compost, save it in the fridge until you’re ready to tie dye-naturally. You can use many veggies or scraps but they all have varying degrees of pigment.

To start out, try beets or turmeric as they have a naturally stronger pigment. Some of the colors others make might even surprise you!

Use gloves when handling dyes, even though they are natural. Do not dry in the sunlight as they will fade and only wash as needed with a mild detergent and cold water.

  • Turmeric – yellow (be careful as this will stain many surfaces)
  • Beets – red
  • Purple cabbage – red/pink
  • Avocado pits – light pink (use more than one)
  • Spinach, carrot tops – green/yellow 

More resources for natural tie dye with fruits and veggies


We’d love to see your dyeing skills! Email your photos to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org  or tag us on social media.

Birding Basics

Do you want to learn about birds but don’t know where to start? Do you often see or hear birds but don’t know how to identify them? Are you looking for a safe, different outdoor activity?

More than just pretty animals, birds are an important part of the ecological system, including the Ogeechee River basin. Various species inhabit different layers of the food web — from birds that eat seeds and insects to the most expert hunting predators. They keep populations in check. They also help spread seeds and pollen which is vital for plant growth. Maintaining a healthy environment for birds to thrive is crucial to the balance of ecosystems locally and globally.

Red-shouldered hawk. Photo by Chris S. Wood, Macauley Library

What is “birding”? 

Birding is the act of birdwatching for either recreational, research or citizen science reporting purposes. Also known as ‘birdwatching,’ it’s the observation of birds in their natural habitats as a hobby or an amateur activity.

Wood Storks. Photo by Mary Ellen Urbanski. Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

I see birds all the time, but I don’t know what I’m looking at. 

Learn what to look or listen for when birding starting with color, shape, flight pattern, body size, bill or beak shape, calls and more. 

Check out these sites for bird guides. 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Birdwatcher’s Digest

Rare birds in our watershed

Northern parula on red twig. Photo by Dan Fein.

I’m enjoying this. How can I get better?

Consider purchasing a pair of binoculars (aka “bins”) and searching out local birding trails or sites. You might also join a local chapter of the Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to protecting birds and sharing resources for enthusiasts.

Audubon Society

Ogeechee Audubon Society

Coastal Georgia Audubon Society

Georgia Audubon Society

Birding trails in Georgia

Always follow the American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics

American Goldfinch. Photo by Adam Jackson, Macauley Library.

I want to share some of the amazing things I’ve seen. Is there a way to do that?

Engage in citizen science. Download the eBird app for free. It’s a digital way to keep track of the birds you see or hear while birding. This type of citizen science reporting — the collection of scientific data by amateur scientists — benefits the people participating as well as researchers.

Read about Isaiah Scott, birding enthusiast and local student

Adult male Barn Owl. Photo by Shlomo Neuman, Audubon Photography Awards

ORK Birding Activity

  • Plan a birding trip in your backyard or neighborhood park, near a waterway or in a city greenspace.
  • Download eBird and record what you see/hear. If you aren’t sure how to ID a certain bird, you can search through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website by characteristics. 
  • Share your checklists with Ogeechee Riverkeeper through eBird by searching “Ogeechee Riverkeeper” or via ORK’s eBird profile

You may also share your findings and photos through email at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

Tag us on social media with your research adventures and use #ORKOutside.


Additional Resources:

This activity is compatible with Project Wild “Bird Song Survey” activity which is geared towards middle and high school students in science and environmental education. Birding in general can be a fun family/friends outing for all ages, abilities, and environments. 


 

Nature-based Yoga Class

Enjoy a gentle flow style yoga class with a watershed ecology theme alongside Melanie, our education & outreach coordinator (RYT 200).

This class is open to all ages and levels. It meets Georgia Standards of Excellence in Science for 7th and 8th grades with some topics and vocabulary appropriate for other grade levels. Contact melanie@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org for more information.

Suggested Activity

Listen for these vocabulary words during class and see if you can remember the definitions:

  • Watershed
  • Headwaters
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental stewards
  • Wiregrass ecosystem (aka Longleaf Pine Ecosystem)
  • Ectothermic
  • Keystone species

Setting Seasonal Intentions for the Environment

via National Wildlife Federation

Do you find it hard to make and keep New Year’s resolutions? Try setting a seasonal intention instead!

Use your creativity and science skills to come up with ways you can help the environment. This can be as simple as reducing energy or water use within your own home or a larger-scale river or community clean up. We can all be stewards of the environment on a local or global level — at any age.

Identify 3 ways you can be an environmental steward* and set these as your seasonal intentions. Keep a journal of your adventures, take pictures, make art, or use any other creative method to track your progress. Share your seasonal intentions to inspire those around you. 

Send in images of your activity so we can share it on social media. Email us at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

*Environmental Steward –  Someone who is a responsible user and a protector of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.


This activity can be used as enrichment alongside Project Learning Tree activity “Every Drop Counts.” Every Drop Counts is appropriate for grades 4-8 under science, social Studies and math. The Seasonal Intentions project is appropriate for all ages and incorporates both STEM and art learning concepts.