Friday, July 1, 2022

Episode 631 (7-4-22): Frogs and Fireworks

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:22).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 6-30-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of July 4 and July 11, 2022.  This is a repeat of a 2016 episode celebrating the July 4th holiday.  The episode features Virginia Tech master’s degree graduate Kriddie Whitmore as a guest voice.

SOUNDS - ~ 4 sec – Gray Treefrogs and fireworks.

This week, for Independence Day episode, we drop in on a most unusual July 4th conversation: two Gray Treefrogs, surrounded by fireworks, are debating U.S. water history.  Sound unimaginable?  Well, just have a listen.

SOUNDS - ~2 sec – Frogs and fireworks.

Frog 1 – There those humans go again, shootin’ off their fireworks and makin’ it hard for us frogs to hear each other’s calls!  What’s all the ruckus about, anyway?

Frog 2 - Why, it’s July 4th!  They’re celebrating this country’s Declaration of Independence in 1776 from Great Britain.  I think it’s cool—at least it’s a break from hearing YOU guys calling every evening.

Frog 1 – And just why are YOU so excited about the birthday of this big, bustling, human country?  Seems to me that it’s been nothing but trouble for aquatic habitats and creatures like us since those first ships came over here from that Europe place.  Everywhere we try to hop, there’s polluted rivers and lakes, lost wetlands and other habitats, and hot, dry pavement.

Frog 2 – Well, yeah, you’re right, partly.  This country’s waters have had a pretty hard history.  And we amphibians have had the worst of it in some cases and places, with this permeable skin we have.  But you’re forgetting about some positive things.  The humans’ Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, and a bunch other important acts, too.  And right here in this state, Virginia, the constitution says it’s the Commonwealth’s policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction.

Frog 1 - Have all those things done any good?

Frog 2 – Well, not always or everywhere.  Just in Virginia, hundreds of water bodies are impaired and need expensive clean-up programs.  For instance, I’ve got cousins living near that Chesapeake Bay, and they tell me every year it’s some things good, other things fair, and still others needing a ton of work.  But many rivers and lakes certainly are in better shape than they were 40 or 50 years ago; the Potomac River’s one example.  Those humans have many competing interests, so sometimes what they do isn’t so good for water, or lands, or creatures like us. But other times, it is.  People have learned a lot over the years about using and managing natural resources more sustainably, and all kinds of people work hard trying to do that.

Frog 1 - Yeah, I guess you’re right.  You know, it’s not easy being a frog, but I guess it’s pretty tough being a person, too.

Frog 2 – Now that’s a pretty realistic call!

SOUNDS - ~3 sec – fireworks.

Frog 2  – Hey, there’s the fireworks finale.  And that sounds like the Air Force Concert Band playing one of my favorites, “The Washington Post,” by John Philip Sousa.  Let’s have a quick listen, then we better get back under cover.  All the humans will be coming back from the fireworks soon.

Both frogs – Happy July 4th!

MUSIC - ~ 14 sec – instrumental.


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 this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode replaces Episode 323, 7-4-16, and Episode 427, 7-2-18.

Virginia Water Radio thanks Kriddie Whitmore, a 2016 master’s degree graduate in Forestry from Virginia Tech, for participating as the guest voice in this episode.

Thanks also to Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Conservation, for reviewing a draft of the episode.

This episode’s frog and fireworks sounds were recorded Blacksburg, Va., around 9:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

This episode’s music was an excerpt of “The Washington Post,” written by John Philip Sousa in 1889, and performed here by the United States Air Force Concert Band on their 2001 album “I Am An American,” accessed online at, as of 6-29-22.  Information about “The Washington Post” is available from the United States Marine Band, “Sousa-The Washington Post” (3:30 video), online at; and “The President’s Own/John Philip Sousa,” 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


(Unless otherwise noted, photographs are by Virginia Water Radio.)

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) on the deck of a residence in Blacksburg, Va., Sep. 23, 2009.


Following are the four sections of Article XI, “Conservation,” of the Virginia Constitution, as accessed at the Virginia Legislative Information System, online at, on June 30, 2022.

Section 1. Natural resources and historical sites of the Commonwealth.

To the end that the people have clean air, pure water, and the use and enjoyment for recreation of adequate public lands, waters, and other natural resources, it shall be the policy of the Commonwealth to conserve, develop, and utilize its natural resources, its public lands, and its historical sites and buildings.  Further, it shall be the Commonwealth's policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.

Section 2. Conservation and development of natural resources and historical sites.

In the furtherance of such policy, the General Assembly may undertake the conservation, development, or utilization of lands or natural resources of the Commonwealth, the acquisition and protection of historical sites and buildings, and the protection of its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, by agencies of the Commonwealth or by the creation of public authorities, or by leases or other contracts with agencies of the United States, with other states, with units of government in the Commonwealth, or with private persons or corporations.  Notwithstanding the time limitations of the provisions of Article X, Section 7, of this Constitution, the Commonwealth may participate for any period of years in the cost of projects which shall be the subject of a joint undertaking between the Commonwealth and any agency of the United States or of other states.

Section 3. Natural oyster beds.

The natural oyster beds, rocks, and shoals in the waters of the Commonwealth shall not be leased, rented, or sold but shall be held in trust for the benefit of the people of the Commonwealth, subject to such regulations and restriction as the General Assembly may prescribe, but the General Assembly may, from time to time, define and determine such natural beds, rocks, or shoals by surveys or otherwise.

Section 4. Right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest game.

The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law.


Used for Audio

Chesapeake Bay Program, online at; and “Slight improvements in Bay health and new economic data added in 2021 Chesapeake Bay Report Card,” June 7, 2022, news release, online at

Commonwealth of Virginia, Constitution of Virginia, “Article XI Conservation,” accessed online at

John D. Kleopfer and Chris S. Hobson, A Guide to the Frogs and Toad of Virginia, Special Publication Number 3, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (now Department of Wildlife Resources), Richmond, Va., 2011.

Bernard S. Martof, et al., Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1980.

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “Water Quality Monitoring in the Potomac Estuary,” online at

Thomas V. Cech, Principles of Water Resources: History, Development, Management, and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, N.Y., 2003.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
“National Aquatic Resources Surveys,” online at;
“Summary of the Clean Water Act,” online at

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Water Quality Assessments/Integrated Report,” online at

Zygmunt J. B. Plater et al., Environmental Law and Policy: Nature, Law, and Society, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn., 1998.

For More Information about Amphibians in Virginia and Elsewhere


University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at

J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999); available online (as a PDF) at, courtesy of the Virginia Herpetological Society.  (Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles.)

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries):
“A Guide to Virginia’s Frogs and Toads,” online at;
“A Guide to the Salamanders of Virginia,” online at;
“Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at (the Gray Treefrog entry is online at;
“List of Native and Naturalized Fauna in Virginia, August 2020,” online (as a PDF) at;
“Virginia is for Frogs,” online at;
“Wildlife Information,” online at

Virginia Herpetological Society, “Frogs and Toads of Virginia,” online at

For More Information about Federal Environmental and Natural Resources Laws

Cornell University Law School/Legal Information Institute:
“Environmental Law,” online at;
“Natural Resources,” online at

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Laws and Regulations,” online at  The section for the Clean Water Act is online at; the section for the Endangered Species Act is online at; the section for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is online at

For More Information about Virginia Natural Resources Laws

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Web site, online at  See the “Agencies” link to access the various Virginia state agencies involved with resources regulation and management.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Amphibians” and “History” subject categories.

Following is the link to another episode on Gray Treefrogs.

Episode 528, 6-8-20

Following are links to other episodes done for July 4th.

Episode 168, 7-1-13
– Water and the Revolutionary War.
Episode 220, 6-30-14 – Water origins of Virginia Declaration signers.
Episode 273, 7-6-15 – The Great Road on the Virginia Peninsula.


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.

2020 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.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
K.7 – Plants and animals have basic needs and life processes.
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
K.11 – Humans use resources.
1.8 – Natural resources can be used responsibly, including that most natural resources are limited; human actions can affect the availability of natural resources; and reducing, reusing, and recycling are ways to conserve natural resources.
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems.
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Life Science
LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science
ES.6 – Resource use is complex.
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.
ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems subject to long- and short-term variations.

BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

United States History: 1865-to-Present Course
USII.9 – Domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – Government at the national level.
CE.7 – Government at the state level.
CE.10 – Public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.14 – Political and social conditions in the 21st Century.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – National government organization and powers.
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 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
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.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.