Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sand Dollars

The familiar  sand dollar cast up on the beach is white, with an obvious five-pointed shape on the back. But a live sand dollar looks completely different. Densely packed, tiny, dark purple spines cover live sand dollars and hide the star design.
In their sandy seafloor habitat, sand dollars use their fuzzy spines, aided by tiny hairs (cilia), to ferry food particles along their bodies to a central mouth on their bottom side. They capture plankton with spines and pincers (pedicellariae) on their body surfaces.
The sand dollar's mouth has a jaw with five teethlike sections to grind up tiny plants and animals. Sometimes a sand dollar "chews" its food for fifteen minutes before swallowing. It can take two days for the food to digest. 
Scientists can age a sand dollar by counting the growth rings on the plates of the exoskeleton. Sand dollars usually live six to 10 years.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dryland Garden

The word "garden" conjures images of lush green plants and flourishing varieties of thick vegetation. So when one stumbles across a "dryland garden" a bit of confusion ensues.

Regions that are hot and prone to drought are best served by dryland or xeriscaping. This technique is about creating a cohesive and balanced landscape using low water plant species, native adapted plants, and water saving materials to capitalize on the benefits of an arid climate.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One for the River

One last image submitted by a resident of Michigan of My Your Our Water in the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This image was submitted to the blog by a first year graphic design student at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Thank You for taking the time to watch us bob and float in your river.

This image was shared by Becky O from Allendale, Michigan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Irrigation is the artificial distribution of water to an area of land most often for agricultural purposes and landscape maintenance during periods of inadequate rainfall or in arid regions.  Irrigation has been a vital component of civilization and central feature of agriculture for over 5000 years.
This image was submitted from New Mexico

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reflecting on a River 

Artist: Catherine Magel

"Reflecting on a River  began with the goal of reconnecting community to the natural environment and rebuilding an identity of St. Louis as a River city. A 240 foot -long, permanent public art installation, graces the downtown St. Louis flood wall with its celebration of the rich natural history of the Mississippi River. Through brilliant color, light-altering textures and sheer size, the sculptured ceramic mural interprets diverse flora and fauna, from microscopic life and native fish to land species of earth, sky, day, and night. Insects, fossils, and migrating birds and butterflies appear as colorful abstractions as well as nature studies.
The mural was commissioned by the partner Organizations of the Confluence Greenway Project, a conservation, heritage and recreation corridor being developed in the heart of the Bi-state metropolitan area. The mural welcomes visitors to the southern portion of the Greenway, at the downtown entrance to the St. louis Riverfront Trail. As it parallels the Mississippi River, the mural rolls across the floodwall in "waves" ranging from five to seven feet in height. Individual tiles weigh from three to fourteen pounds. More than 17,000 pounds of clay were used in the mural. Courtesy of the St. Louis Regional Arts 

My Your Our Water visited  Reflecting on a River in September of 2015 while at the Mississippi River.

Monday, October 26, 2015

70 Gallons of Water on the Lawn

Number Crunch
The average american home uses 320 gallons of water a day.
Approximately 30 % of that is outdoor water usage. ( 96 gallons)
More than 50% of that outdoor water usage is for watering lawns or gardens.( <48 gallons)
As much as 50% of that water is wasted from inefficient watering methods. (<24 gallons)

Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all 
residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Water Tanks

The storage of portable water has always be of importance to the development of civilization. The ability to store clean water for future use allows people to settle and homestead areas that may not have had ready access to water and or prepare for times of possible water need. The basic premise has always been to store clean water up in the air to then use gravity to deliver the water when needed. What began as small storage tanks has transformed into huge structures that tower hundreds of feet in the air holding millions of gallons of water for a given city. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Water Spot.

Believe it or not, there is a "water spot" in Newport, California. You can roll up and fill up your water jugs with honest to goodness "ph balanced water." If that sounds like too much work, don't worry, they also deliver. The water will arrive at your home or office or studio in a glass jugs with a monthly price tag ranging from $75-$125.

This image was submitted by Mary S. in southern California.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Bloomfield Orchard 

Bloomfield Orchard is located in Brentwood, California which is north east of San Francisco.  A Drought emergency has been declared and an immediate and mandatory 35% potable water reduction has been implemented.  The city of Brentwood has a drought and water conservation webpage that helps better understand the new rules in place and the water conservation goals the city is looking to achieve. The reduction of water usage is incentivized through rebates and penalties for non compliance. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Coke VS  Pepsi

The decades old cola war has now shifted advertising dollars into a new beverage market fight.  Aquafina- owned by Pepsi, is the No.1  bottled water with Coca-Cola's Dasani in a close No.2 spot. Today, water is a 3.5 billion market and everyone wants a drop of it.
"Figuring out how to turn the world's most ubiquitous thing into something distinctive and lucrative is suddenly a big battle in the beverage wars.Pepsi executives regularly debate whether they should divert marketing dollars from cola. Bottled water makes up less than 10% of either company's U.S. beverage sales. But nationwide bottled-water sales grew 30% last year, compared with 0.6% for soft drinks. Coke and Pepsi, in other words, now see water as their single biggest growth opportunity."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

St. Louis Water Division

The St. Louis Water Division website states, "While St. Louisans currently do not have to worry about a water shortage, it is important to remember that water is a limited resource. There is the same amount of water on Earth today as there was 3 billion years ago, and only 1% of Earth's water is available for human consumption. Making the effort to conserve water now can help to avoid water shortages in the future."
1764:The City of St. Louis is founded.
1831: The City of St. Louis contracts with Abraham Fox and John Wilson to build a waterworks.
The City of St. Louis buys out the bankrupt Fox and Wilson, becoming sole owner of the St. Louis Waterworks.
1876: The position of Water Commissioner is created.
1900: The first experiments using lime and ferrous sulfate as water purifiers are conducted.
1904: The Water Division begins adding milk of lime and ferrous sulfate to purify the water.
1919: The Water Division begins using chlorine in the water purification process.
1923: Construction begins on the Howard Bend Plant and Stacy Park Reservoir.
1953: The Water Division begins adding fluoride to the treated water.
1965: The Water Division begins using activated carbon in the water purification process.
1995: A $19 million renovation begins on the Compton Hill Reservoir.
1999:Construction is completed on new chlorine handling facilities at both plants. 
2007: St. Louis City Water voted "Best Tasting Tap Water in the Nation" by the US Conference of Mayors.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

 The Mighty Mississippi

The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system on the North American continent flowing 2,320 miles to the Mississippi delta at the Gulf of Mexico. The Mighty Mississippi is the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world. The Mississippi River either borders or passes through ten states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

This image was taken on the Mississippi river bank in  St. Louis, Missouri where people still gather to fish daily. Across the Mississippi is East St. Louis located in Illinois.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Going In and Coming Out

My Your Our Water enjoyed being a part of the Grand Rapids, Michigan community. We enjoyed hearing your stories about rivers, lakes, fishing and snow, lots of snow. Thanks for coming out to help us get in and out of the river.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Will and Brendan

These to friends were crossing the 6th Street Bridge and stopped to chat about the 45ft illuminated sign floating in the river. The assumed correctly that there was a connection between the sign and the trike. Thanks for the conversation, enthusiasm and love of water.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Local Views

The Grand River  flows through the heart of Grand Rapids. There are numerous bridges  designed for cars and pedestrians to traverse this water artery. These images were submitted from the riverfront and from off the 6th Street Bridge by a local in Grand Rapids. There appears to have been a good deal of wind that day !

This image was shared by Kyle C in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Building Bridges

This image was taken from a walking bridge in Poughkeepsie, New York. This boat is moving down the Hudson with parts for the Tappan Zee replacement bridge. The first Tappan Zee bridge is a cantilever bridge that spans the Hudson River at one of its widest points. Unlike most bridges, the Tappan Zee was designed in 1950 to only last approximately 50 years because of a material shortage due to the Korean War. The new replacement bridge is being built with a 100 year life expectancy and is expected to be completed by 2018.

This image was submitted by Kathleen W from Poughkeepsie, New York.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Michiganander Jones

Some of you are familiar with Indiana Jones, well meet the creator of Michigander Jones, the superhero protector of Michigan waters. Patrick B, is an artist, cartoonist, and environmental activist who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When not busy creating heroing adventures for the crusading Michigander Jones, Patrick is doing his part by cleaning up along the Grand River and participating in climate marches.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Surfing in Michigan? 

Yes, you read that correctly. It is possible to surf  in Michigan. In fact there appears to be a unique to Lake Michigan surf culture. The conditions to surf on the Great Lakes are not consistent but occur mostly during October and November when storm systems get stronger bringing in high winds this is often referred to as the November Witch. The north to northwest wind  is considered the surfing wind on Lake Michigan increasing wave size upwards of 9ft.  For anyone thinking that lake surfing is not real surfing, think about surfing water with temps between 32-41 degrees, waves with shorter sets produced by a storm with ice chunks floating on the waves.

This video was shared by Kelly in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cool like Fonzee

As fall tries to take center stage, summer often reappears for a brief encore performance.
" I made my own swamp cooler to stay cool. Like the Fonz." 

This image was submitted by Frank M. in San Jose, CA.

Monday, October 12, 2015


It's hard pressed to find someone who loves a clean river more than an ardent fisherman.
Aaron K. fishes on the rivers and lakes of regardless of the season, and he has the gear, the boat and the photos to prove it. Aaron loaned his boat to the Mayors' Grand River Cleanup, hauling garbage out of the Grand River. He has participated yearly in this project and has happily noticed less large trash in the water. My Your Our Water would like to thank Aaron not only for his dedication to maintaining a clean river but for his assistance in placing the MYOW sign in the Grand River.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Great Falls

    Great Falls National Park is located in McLean, Virginia, just a short distance outside of Washington DC.  It is at Great Falls that the Potomac River builds up great speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. At this point the river has such natural power that it is not a place for swimming, boating or any form of water recreation
     The history of this river is long and complicated as the river itself. It 1785 construction of a canal on the Potomac was started. The most demanding of engineering feats was the construction of a series of 5 locks that raised and lowered boats around the Great Falls. Thousands of boats locked through at the Great Falls carrying all forms of commerce upstream and downstream: whiskey, tobacco, iron, cloth, and firearms to name a few.
The cost of building the canal and maintaining proved too much for the Patowmack Company and they went bankrupt. The new owners, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company abandoned the canal in 1830. In 1930 US congress authorized Great Falls as a park and in 1936 the National Park Service took over responsibility for its' management.

This image was sent by the 4th grade class at St. Louis Catholic School in Virginia.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Aware and Engaged

This mother daughter duo is on spot with their community engagement. Nora & Brooke had spent the morning picking up trash as part of the Mayors' Grand River Clean Up. The two took time out of their morning to discuss not only what the river means to them but how water flows through their lives. As it turns out this pair also helped artist Sara Briggs-Grzegorski paint the mural about environmental responsibility, "The Stream of Life" in the Sixth Street Parking lot. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the environment.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Streets of Grand Rapids

My Your Our Water made the cross country trek to Grand Rapids, Michigan to open up the water conversation to a city that has a river running through the heart of it. In order to participate in any sort of commerce or entertainment in downtown GR, one must pass of the Grand River. One might think that the multiple daily river crossings would become old hat and the river simply a decorative feature in the background. Well, that's a half truth. To many members of the Grand Rapids community the Grand River is a source of recreation, economic development, unique ecologies and of course, pride.  Thanks for sharing the grand River with MYOW.

These images were taken by the one and only Eric Tank in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Boxed Water is Better? 

On average, Americans through away approximately 35 billion plastic water bottles a year. Billions of pounds of plastic waste can be found floating in the ocean covering up to 40% of the ocean surface. The Great Pacific Garbage patch off the coast of California is twice the size of Texas with plastic pieces out number sea life 1 to 6.  

Armed with this knowledge a company set out to change they way consumers purchase water on the go. Boxed Water is Better  was created to use less plastic packaging and while still providing a convenient product that consumers desire. *The box still has a plastic screw top lid.

If cartons aren't your thing, try and old fashioned metal thermos. Gets the job done every time!

My Your Our Water

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


The ability to express thoughts clearly and concisely to large numbers of people falls on the shoulders of the gentleman seated on the Tricycle. Aaron B is in Communications at West Michigan Environmental Action Council. This organization turns words into actions. They have a 40 year history of education, advocacy and protection of the natural resources in West Michigan. They do everything from educational outreach to rain barrel handouts to river cleanups to riding the MYOW trike.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Smart Water

"I am from Grand Rapids. I love this City! I believe the River is the heart of it. IN fact Grand Rapids wouldn't have its' name without it. I am hoping the city still plans on removing the dams along the river to restore the natural flow of the river and the rapids."

This was submitted by Mary J. in Grand Rapids, MI.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Be the Change

This group of optimists heralds from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This mix of athletes and activists participated in the 12th Annual Mayors Grand River Cleanup. This crew of individuals wore shirts with the phrase "I can be the change."  MYOW was inspired by their dedication and commitment to actions not words. This group is making strides to create the world in which they live defined by  a sense of social justice and shared responsibility. Leanne and Anne, a soccer player and a lacrosse player gave up their Saturday morning that could have been reserved for sleeping in after a long week of classes and practice, to pick up trash along the river. Sometimes, it's not easy. Sometimes, it's dirty. Sometimes, it's not fun.  But, you can be the change.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Who Gives a Frack?

Who gives a frack? The lady riding the MYOW tricycle is Pat. She volunteers with the organization Lets Ban Fracking. She was setting up a table for the morning in downtown Grand Rapids with the goal of educating the public and gathering signatures to get an initiative on the ballot to ban fracking in Michigan. Needless to say, Pat was onboard with water. Thank you for providing MYOW with information about fracking and for following your passion to save the water.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Two Erins

This is Erin. She participated in the Mayors Grand River Cleanup along the banks of the Grand River.  I met Erin on the 6th street bridge over looking the floating MYOW. Erin is from Flint, Michigan, a city that is currently in the headlines for a city wide  crisis of elevated lead levels in the water. We discussed water, connectedness, climate change, early mornings and art. Erin is an art student at Kendall College of Art and Design. Thank you for sharing your insights and your Saturday to help clean up the Grand!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A View From the Bridge

My Your Our Water traveled through 9 states to finally land in the Grand River in Grand Rapids. The goal was and is to initiate conversation about water in each of our lives and to better understand our shared connectedness to it. The Grand River flows through 9 cities before emptying into Lake Michigan. What happens up stream in your backyard flows down stream into your neighbors faucet.  What might seem like an awkward string of possessive adjectives, is a floating 45 foot visual reminder that we are all in this together.

This image was shared by Whitney B from Grand Rapids, MI.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


On spotty weather morning, the Junior National Honor's Society from Northview Crossroads Middle School participated in the 12th Annual Mayors' Grand River Cleanup. This dedicated group of young stewards gave up their September Saturday morning to protect and preserve the Grand River. It was incredibly refreshing to witness the great sense of community responsibility and strong character demonstrated by this group of tomorrow's caretakers. Thank you for your actions and hope you had fun!

These images were shared by Molly W. in Grand Rapids, MI.