Monday, July 13, 2020

Episode 533 (7-13-20): An Introduction to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Click to listen to episode (5:02)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-10-20.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 13, 2020.

MUSIC – ~11 sec – Lyrics: “It makes you different where you go.”

This week, that excerpt of “Rescue Me, Virginia,” by the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley-based band, The Steel Wheels, opens an episode about a state agency focused on conservation and enjoyment of Virginia’s lands, waters, and creatures.  Have a listen to the music for about another minute, and see if you know that agency.  And here’s a hint: Conserving resources can help allow meaningful experiences to be re-created.

MUSIC - ~65 sec – Lyrics: “I love the West; Colorado is a promise I could keep. She’s younger and wild, but those aren’t the mountains calling me. Oh, I’m not from here, but this is where I want my roots to grow. And all the miles that I’ve traveled, it’s good to finally find myself at home. Oh, rescue me, Virginia, rescue me. Sing the songs from the ancients, wash me in the sea. Rescue me, Virginia, rescue me; oh, rescue me.”

If you guessed the Department of Conservation and Recreation, you’re right!  That agency, known by the shorthand of DCR, began in 1926 as the State Commission on Conservation and Development, with a range of duties including water power, geology, forestry, and parks.  By 1948 it had become the Department of Conservation and Development, and in the late 1980s it took on its current name.  According to its Web site, the department is, quote, “the state's lead natural resource conservation agency” and seeks to protect “natural habitat, parks, clean water, dams, open space, and access to the outdoors.”  The department includes six main areas: dam safety and floodplain management; outdoor recreational planning; soil and water conservation; land conservation; state parks; and natural heritage, that is, stewardship of the Commonwealth’s biodiversity.  Its work ranges from managing Virginia’s state parks, to helping farmers manage nutrients in runoff, to developing the Virginia Outdoors Plan, to helping protect Virginia’s caves and other karst features.

DCR’s most recent strategic plan says that these and other department activities are intended to provide opportunities that enable and encourage Virginians to enjoy, protect, and restore their natural and cultural resources.  Given life’s many stresses, opportunities like that amidst Virginia’s rich natural heritage may indeed feel like a rescue.

Thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Rescue Me, Virginia.”

MUSIC - ~22 sec – Lyrics: “Rescue me, Virginia, rescue me. Oh, rescue me.”


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 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.


“Rescue Me, Virginia,” from the 2015 album “Leave Some Things Behind,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  More information about this album is available online at  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at, at, and in a July 2015 article at  This song was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 331, 8-29-16.

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


The images below are courtesy of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, accessed at the Department’s photo gallery online at

Cliffs along the Potomac River in Westmoreland State Park, Westmoreland County. Specific URL for this photo was

Fall colors in Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County. Specific URL for this photo is

Rail fence at Staunton River Battlefield State Park, Charlotte and Halifax counties. Specific URL for this photo was


Virginia Code, “Title 10.1. Conservation/Subtitle 1. Activities Administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Chapter 1. General Provisions,” online at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Development, Division of History, Records, 1927-1950. Accession 24806a-c, 25913 and 41571, State Records Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.  Accessed online at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), online at Web sites for the major activities within the Department are the following:
Division of Dam Safety and Floodplain Management, online at;
Division of Natural Heritage (including biodiversity, natural preserves, caves and karst), online at;
Division of Planning and Recreational Resources, online at;
Division of Soil and Water Conservation, online at;
Division of State Parks, online at;
Office of Land Conservation, online at

Virginia DCR, “About DCR,” online at

Virginia DCR, “Brochure,” online (as a PDF) at

Virginia DCR, “2014-2016 Strategic Plan,” online (as a PDF) at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Community/Organizations” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes with information related to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Episode 161, 5-13-13 – on Virginia’s state parks and National Kids to Parks Day.
Episode 320, 6-13-16 – on the 80th anniversary of Virginia state parks.
Episode 378, 7-24-17 – on water quality management in Virginia, including the role of the DCR.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

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 decisions, hazard mitigation, and cost/benefit assessments).

Life Science Course
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, with reference to the hydrologic cycle.
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.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

Grades K-3 Economics Theme
2.8 – natural, human, and capital resources.

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

Civics and Economics Course
CE.7 – government at the state level.
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.
WG.3 – how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.4 – types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.

Government Course
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

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 333, 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, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.