Monday, July 8, 2013

Episode 169 (7-8-13): Music for Marshes and Other Wetlands in "The Prettiest Marsh," by Teresa Whitaker

Click to listen to episode (2:58).


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 8, 2013.
This week, we feature a musical selection inspired by a type of aquatic habitat found around the Chesapeake Bay and in many other areas where water and land meet and mix.  Have a listen for about 55 seconds.


You’ve been listening to part of “The Prettiest Marsh,” by Teresa Whitaker on “Singing the Chesapeake,” a 2012 songbook and CD from Finding Home Productions.  The Chesapeake region has many marshes, ranging from freshwater ones along tidal sections of rivers to grass-dominated salt marshes along the Bay shorelines.  Marshes are an example of wetlands, a diverse group of habitats where saturation by water largely determines the soils and living things found there.  Besides marshes, several other kinds of wetlands occur in Virginia, including bogs, fens, pocosins, seeps, and swamps.  Topography, climate, water level and timing, and water chemistry all influence the variety and amounts of living things one finds in marshes or other wetlands.  But in any wetlands, you’ll find specially adapted plants and—as Ms. Whitaker sang about—a lot of animals that creep, crawl, whirr, and croak.  Thanks to Ms. Whitaker and to Frank Schwartz for permission to use this week’s music.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 7/8/13]

Marsh in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach, Virginia, February 2011.  Photo made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at, accessed 7-8-13.

“The Prettiest Marsh” and “Singing the Chesapeake” are copyright by Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz, used with permission.  “Singing the Chesapeake" is songbook and CD collection of songs by Tom Wisner, Mark Wisner, and Teresa Whitaker, published by Finding Home Productions and by C.H.E.A.R.S, an environmental arts and education organization.  More information is available online at at  and at  More information about Mr. Wisner is available from the Smithsonian Folkways “Artist Spotlight” at; and from the following obituary: Thomas A. Wisner, 79: 'Bard of the Chesapeake' sang about the bay he loved, Washington Post, 4/4/10.  “The Prettiest Marsh” was previously recorded by Ms. Whitaker on “We’ve Got to Come Full Circle: Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts,” a 1984 album with Mr. Wisner on Smithsonian’s Folkways Records (

This episode’s music and some of its information were used previously in Episode 33 (9-13-10), now archived.  Minni Gupta wrote most of the script for that episode in the fall 2010 semester as a Virginia Tech English Department intern at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  Please contact Virginia Water Radio to request access to the audio for Episode 33.


Information on wetlands in general was taken from the U.S. EPA, “Wetlands Definitions,” online at

Information on marshes and other wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay region was taken from Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

Information on wetlands in Virginia was taken from “The Natural Communities Of Virginia--Classification Of Ecological Community Groups,” Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, online at; and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Wetlands,” online at

Newsletter articles on many aspects of wetlands in Virginia are available in Virginia Wetlands Report, from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), online at

Descriptions of the various kinds of wetlands found in the United States are available in Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States, by L. M. Cowardin et al. (1979), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, online at

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