Nature Near You: Highlighting Properties of Water

by Nicole Finnicum

The seventh week of Nature Near You, Sanibel Sea School’s e-newsletter, featured a topic that is vital to all of us – water.

Through emails delivered at 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Nature Near You participants learned how water cycles around the planet and tracked water flow through the environment. We shared several experiments this week to take a deeper look at water’s unique properties.

On Monday, participants learned about how water is “sticky” through the properties of cohesion and adhesion. Cohesion is the process of water molecules being attracted, or sticking, to other water molecules. Adhesion occurs when water is attracted, or sticks to a substance that is not water. Marine Science Educator Sam Nowinski shared three unique experiments, using a few jars, pennies, and water to better observe these two forces in action and to solidify key concepts like surface tension in water.

On Wednesday, we dove into the water cycle and learned about the different states of water (solid, liquid, gas) and learned how water molecules move throughout Earth and the atmosphere. We took our participants through each stage of the water cycle – evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Then, we created a water cycle in a jar – an easy activity to observe evaporation and condensation right at home. Wednesday’s activity was also paired with a nature journaling assignment where participants took a moment to investigate and observe signs of the water cycle in their own backyards.

On Friday, we focused on watersheds, also known as drainage basins, that are areas of land that collect water into creeks, streams, and rivers. These various water sources connect into larger bodies of water, known as outflow points, such as lakes, bays, and oceans. We learned how to model a watershed using just a piece of paper, a marker, and a spray bottle full of water – simple, but a super visual for kids! This activity allowed participants to observe how water flows over land when it rains and shows where it collects – mimicking a map of a natural watershed.

Water is such an integral component of our daily lives, so it is important to understand how it plays a role in our environments. As ocean educators, we especially see the role that the ocean plays in our community, our ecosystem, and in our individual lives. I think that water’s importance, and particularly, the ocean’s importance is best summed up in a quote by Sylvia Earle:

“Even if you never have the chance to see or touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take, every drop of water you drink, every bite you consume. Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.”

Nature Near You will continue through June and be delivered via email. If you are interested in joining the mailing list, please email If you missed out on an issue of Nature Near You, all of the content can be accessed at

Nature Near You is Sanibel Sea School’s offering to the community. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit or email for more information.

Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.

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