Ecology, Featured, Introduction

We Are Water

Water is an essential component to life and the development of life. Our bodies are one of the most complex systems anatomically known. It’s no coincidence that the two go hand in hand. Our bodies need water to survive and it is a balance, not too much, not too little. This balance can be altered by external and internal forces. External forces can include issues such as wind or elevation. Internally or balance of hydration can be effected by medical conditions or even the food we have eaten or how much of it we ate. Let’s explore how these variables can possibly effect how we feel and operate here in the mountains of Sunny San Bernardino. Get you pencils and a notebook kids. Prepare to learn about the ways your body operates with hydration in altitude and elevation.

 

First, let’s realize a few facts about water. We know it’s essential to our wellbeing and health but in what ways? Water helps us tolerate heat, altitude and cold. Have you ever been in the gym doing a sit up and think “wow, 60% of me is water.” That’s almost equivalent to the earth which is composed of about 71% water. When our bodies have too little water though it can lead to what we call dehydration. Essentially dehydration is a lack of water. This lack of water can exhibit itself in multiple ways such as, weakness headaches, irritability, nausea and vomiting. Patients can even experience signs and symptoms of shock and a change in mental status.

 

So now that we understand the issues of dehydration you are probably saying “So Toast how are we supposed to be able to avoid dehydration?” Well, have no fear. It’s easy to ward off dehydration. Much like most medical problems the main principle is prevention. Thirst, in fact, is a great determiner of when to drink. It turns out our bodies are pretty good at regulating our necessary water intake. Some individuals think it’s important to add salt or sugar to their water. But if you are eating a well-balanced diet this isn’t the case. When rehydrating be sure to avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or alcohol, as these will only deplete water from your system. Keep in mind when hydrating cool water is also absorbed faster than hot water. So now you are probably saying “wow Toast you’re really smart!” Nonsense, I didn’t learn all of these things by myself. Science taught us the principles of dehydration.  One last note on dehydration. It can take time to become dehydrated. So consequentially it can take some time to become rehydrated. An individual who is severely dehydrated may even need help from a hospital with intravenous fluid therapy.

 

Here at Arrowhead Ranch one of the most common issues we see with our students is dehydration. This can affect their time here at camp and possibly make what could be a really fun experience less than enjoyable. We tell the students the first day that they need to drink 5 bottles a day to feel “normal”. I advise that any student coming up to camp brings a reusable water bottle. We do provide water bottles, but a personal water bottle helps teach responsibility, can hold more than 8 ounces and is better for the environment. Our cabin leaders and naturalists help promote drinking water by giving beads for each 5 bottles a student drinks each day. The best thing to do is to educate the students and encourage them to drink water.

Written By: Toast

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Featured, Meteorology

Water You Doing?

By: Mars

 

Vann, voda, vesi, aqua…water! No matter which way you flip it, turn it, roll it we need it! Water is the driving force behind many processes in this world, but where does it come from and where is it going…water, water are you doing?

Water moves in a cycle or a process that repeats itself. Basically, the water we see in the world is recycled. Let’s start with condensation. Condensation is the process where water vapor, like steam, is changed into liquid water, like we would drink out of a cup. When these water droplets combine with dust, salt, or other particles in the air they form clouds! As clouds continue to get larger and acquire more water droplets they could produce precipitation, the next phase in our cycle!

Precipitation is the means by which water falls from the sky! The water is not necessarily in liquid form. It could be in solid form too, like snow, sleet, or hail! Once the water reaches land it percolates. Percolation is the process by which the water makes its way through the ground. It seeps through the soil and makes its way to underground aquifers, big pools of water underground! Not all water has time to percolate. After water precipitates it can either land in a body of water, like a river or a creek, or makes it can make its way to a body of water through run off. Run off is when water rolls across the earth until it reaches a body of water. We have reached the next phase of the water cycle, transportation! Once all the water is together it is transported, or moved, to the ocean…eventually.

Once the water makes its way to the ocean, and sometimes even before, the water makes its way to the next phase of our cycle. Liquid water that is floating along in our streams water.pngand ocean can be changed into water vapor through a process called evaporation. This water vapor returns to the sky and eventually condenses into clouds, and just like that we are back at the beginning, right?! Not so fast, remember that water that was hanging out in our aquifer? Well that water can be transported and eventually makes its way into another body of water or plants can take it up through their roots! Plants need the water to help with processes like photosynthesis. Plants also give off water through their pores, this liquid water is changed into water vapor in a process called transpiration. The water vapor returns to the sky and eventually condenses into clouds, and just like that we are back at the beginning, for real this time!

The water we drink today could have rained down on the Earth millions of years ago, or maybe been a cloud just yesterday. The water we have is all the water we get! That is way it is really important that we take steps to protect our water from becoming contaminated with pollutants that hurt us and other organisms. Things like riparian buffers, construction and factory regulations can all help ensure that our water stays nice a clean! Clean water makes for happy and healthy organisms of all shapes and size, including humans. Let’s make sure we are doing our part! I have two challenges for you! Number 1: learn about a pollutant that may be affect water in your neighborhood. Number 2: make a lifestyle change or take an action that will help protect our water for future generations!           

 

Images

Water Cycle- http://ib.bioninja.com.au/standard-level/topic-4-ecology/44-climate-change/water-cycle.html

Tree- http://www.clker.com/clipart-green-tree-21.html