Monday, April 30, 2018

Episode 418 (4-30-18): Virginia Students Call Out Their Concerns about Water

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:04).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 4-27-18.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 30, 2018.

MUSIC - ~22 sec – Start of “On a Ship” by Kat Mills

This week, we hear from some of Virginia’s stars of tomorrow who one day may be helping to navigate the ship, metaphorically speaking, of the Commonwealth and its water resources.  We drop in on a group of Virginia middle-school and high school students to see what water questions, concerns, or issues are on their mind.  At Virginia Tech on April 21, 2018, 17 students attending Kids Tech University Graduate School, conducted by Tech’s Biocomplexity Institute, participated in a conversation about water’s many connections to living and non-living things, landscapes, human activities, and even worlds beyond earth.  Then they were asked to state what water-related things interest or concern them.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds to some of their responses, with a musical undercurrent of “Driving Rain” by Chamomile and Whiskey of Nelson County, Va.

STUDENT VOICES - ~44 sec – Questions asked and issues raised
What is the most common disease from water?
How are animals affected by poor water quality?
How will natural gas pipelines affect our water?
How can we give developing countries access to clean water?
Can we change the percentage of fresh surface water, and should we?
How can we help the water crisis in Cape Town [South Africa]?
How can Salem [Va.] make their water softer?
Trash in the ocean.
Water pollution and runoff.
Predicting tropical storms.
Effect of melting ice caps.
Rising water levels.
Who has future rights to water resources?

Thanks to these students for lending their voices to this episode, and for using those voices to say what about water is on their minds, from the quality of local water systems to global water issues.  Most importantly, thanks to those students for preparing to navigate our water-based ship of a planet.  We close with af few more seconds of “On a Ship,” by Blacksburg, Va. musician Kat Mills, with Rachel Handman on violin.

MUSIC - ~29 sec


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The voices heard in this episode were recorded on April 21, 2018, in Blacksburg, Va., at a session of Kids Tech University—Graduate School, conducted by Virginia Tech’s Biocomplexity Institute.  Virginia Water Center thanks the Biocomplexity Insitute and the students attending that day for making this episode possible.  More information about Kids Tech Univesity is available online at; or contact Dr. Shenita Lee at

“On a Ship,” from the 2015 album “Silver,” is copyright by Kat Mills, used with permission. Accompanists on the song are Ida Polys, vocals; Rachel Handman, violin; and Nicholas Polys, banjo. This song was previously featured in Episode 296, 12-28-15.  More information about Kat Mills is available online at at

“Driving Rain,” from the 2012 album “The Barn Sessions,” is copyright by Chamomile and Whiskey and by County Wide Records, used with permission of Chamomile and Whiskey.  More information about Chamomile and Whiskey is available online at, and information about Charlottesville-based County Wide records is available online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.   More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Scenes from the Virginia Tech Biocomplexity Institute’s Kids Tech University—Graduate School, held on April 21, 2018, in Blacksburg. Photos courtesy of Shernita Lee, used with permission.


John Gregory Brown, “Literature and Water,” on the Web Site “H2O – The Mystery, Art, and Science of Water,” by Chris Witcombe and Sang Hwang, Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar, Va.), online at

Sasha Rindesbacher, “The Haunting Sounds of Water-Based Musical Instruments,” 3/26/16, online at

Union of Concerned Scientists, “How it Works: Water for Electricity,” 11/9/17, online at

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Science School,” online at

Chris Witcombe, “Water in Art,” on the Web Site “H2O – The Mystery, Art, and Science of Water,” by Chris Witcombe and Sang Hwang, Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar, Va.), online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Overall Importance of Water” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes featuring Virginia students:
Episode 325, 7/18/16 – on submerged aquatic plants, with Newport News Achievable Dream High School students;
Episode 363, 4/10/17 – on aquatic macroinvertebrates, with Patrick County High School students;
Episode 367, 5/8/17 – on mayflies, with Patrick County High School students;
Episode 365, 4/24/17 – on stormwater, with Christiansburg (Montgomery County) Middle School students.


The episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

This episode may also help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
6.9 – public policy decisions related to the environment (including resource management and conservation, land use decision, hazard mitigation, cost/benefit assessments).

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs:

Civics and Economics Course
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels:
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade;
Episode 403 (1-15-18) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 404 (1-22-18) – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade;
Episode 406 (2-5-18) – on ice on rivers, for middle school;
Episode 407 (2-12-19) – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.