Monday, July 16, 2018

Episode 429 (7-16-18): A Marsh Introduction, Featuring “The Prettiest Marsh” by Teresa Whitaker

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:46).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-13-18.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 16, 2018.

MUSIC – ~12 sec

This week, that music opens a repeat of a July 2013 episode on marshes, a kind of habitat found around the Chesapeake Bay and in many other areas where water and land meet.  This week’s episode is the first of a two-part series this month on marshes.  Have another listen to the music for about 50 more seconds.

MUSIC – ~ 47 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “The Prettiest Marsh,” by Teresa Whitaker on “Singing the Chesapeake,” a 2012 songbook and album 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 throughout 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.  And 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 Teresa Whitaker and to Frank Schwartz for permission to use this week’s music. We close this week’s episode, and leave a hint about the next marsh episode, with a few more seconds of “The Prettiest Marsh.”

MUSIC - ~15 sec


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.   For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This episode is the first of two in July 2018 on marshes.  The second of the series is Episode 430, 7-23-18.

This episode revises and replaces Episode 169, 7-18-13, which has been 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.

“The Prettiest Marsh” and “Singing the Chesapeake” are copyright by Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz, used with permission.  More information about Ms. Whitaker and Mr. Schwartz is available online at  “Singing the Chesapeake” is songbook and album collection of songs by Tom Wisner, Mark Wisner, and Teresa Whitaker, published by Finding Home Productions, online at   More information about Tom 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 (

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at

Marsh in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach, Va., February 2011. Photo made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library,  online at, accessed 7-16-18.

 Marsh in Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge in Northampton County, Va., October 7, 2007.

Marsh at Eyre Hall near Cheriton, Va. (Northampton County), October 6, 2007.


Used for Audio

Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Section 404 of the Clean Water Act: How Wetlands are Defined and Identified,” online at; “Wetlands Protection and Restoration,” online at; and “Wetlands Classification and Types, online at (this site’s information on marshes is at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “The Natural Communities of Virginia—Classification of Ecological Community Groups,” online at

For More Information about Marshes and Other Wetlands
Chesapeake Bay Program, “Wetlands,” online at

L. M. Cowardin et al., Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1979, online at

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “National Wetlands Inventory,” online at

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Science School/Why are wetlands and aquatic habitats important?” online at

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Virginia Wetlands Report, online at

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Wetland and Stream Protection,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category.

Following are links to some other episodes on wetlands.
Episode 269, 6/8/15 – What Are the “Waters of the United States?”
Episode 327, 8/1/16 – A Wetland Walk on a Midsummer Morning.
Episode 380, 8/7/17 – Natural Gas Pipelines, Water Resources, and the Clean Water Act.


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
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
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.6 - ecosystem interactions, including the water cycle, other cycles, and energy flow.
LS.8 - community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.

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.
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

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:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

World Geography Course
WG.4 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.

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

Following are links to 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.