Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Episode 637 (9-26-22): Many Tree Tales are Told in “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest”

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:40).

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 9-23-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of September 26 and October 3, 2022.  This episode is part of a series this year of episodes related to trees and shrubs.

SOUND – ~6 sec

That call of Mountain Chorus Frogs opens an episode where we learn about the video podcast series, “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest.”  Started in April 2020, the video series is produced by the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, conducted by Virginia Cooperative Extension.  As of September 9, 2022, the series included 82 episodes, covering topics such as tree identification, forest soils, invasive plants, forest management, tree syrups, and weird trees.  Several episodes are on specific water-related topics, like the Mountain Chorus Frogs you heard earlier.  Have a listen for about 90 seconds to excerpts from five of those episodes. 

SOUNDS and VOICES  - 1 min./29 sec

“Hi everyone.  Welcome to ‘Fifteen Minutes in the Forest.’  I’m Jennifer Gagnon with the Forest Landowner Education Program at Virginia Tech.  And today I’m joining you from Claytor Lake State Park in southwest Virginia.”  From “Vernal Pools,” Episode 74, April 2022.

“This is a vernal pool in Claytor Lake State Park.  ...This pool at its largest is probably an acre in size.  This pool is big enough that it has Painted Sliders, we saw a Snapping Turtle in here, we have a Green Heron out here.  ...There’s all kinds of animals. ...It’s a beautiful pool.”  From “Vernal Pools,” Episode 74, April 2022. 

“Our topic today is going to be about water quality.  And this ties in nicely with forestry.”  From “Best Management Practices for Water Quality,” Episode 19, September 2020.

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the best management practices that loggers and forestry operations can take in order to protect water quality.”  From “Best Management Practices for Water Quality,” Episode 19, September 2020.

“One of the reasons we’re studying Mountain Chorus Frogs is we’re really trying to get a good idea of their distribution in Virginia.”  From “Mountain Chorus Frogs,” Episode 75, April 2022.

“Hey everyone.  My name is Wally Smith, and I’m an associate professor of biology at UVA-Wise.  And we are here on the banks of the Clinch River in St. Paul, Virginia, today to talk about the Eastern Hellbender, which is one of our most unique amphibians here in Virginia and the central Appalachians.”  From “Eastern Hellbenders,” Episode 68, January 2022.

“Well thank for spending fifteen minutes in the creek with us, and thanks to Sally for for spending time with us outside to share her knowledge about water quality.  And I hope you join us for another edition of ‘Fifteen Minutes in the Forest.’  Have a great weekend.”  From “How Clean is Your Creek,” Episode 26, November 2020.

When COVID shut-downs began in 2020, the Virginia Forest Landowner Education team started the series as a way to stay engaged with clients.  To the team’s surprise, the series became very popular.  Among the users are public school teachers, foresters, landowners, and other lovers of the outdoors.

Along with the “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” series, the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program offers other short courses, conferences and workshops, Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tours, and retreats for beginning woodland owners.  For more information about these learning opportunities, search online for the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, or phone Jennifer Gagnon at (540) 231-6391.

Thanks to Ms. Gagnon for permission to use excerpts of “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” episodes.  And for a closing forest-and-water word, we end with a comment from Andrew Vinson, of the Virginia Department of Forestry, from the episode on best management practices for water quality.

VOICE - ~4 sec - “Remember, healthy forests produce clean water.”


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 virginiawaterradio.org, 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.


Virginia Water Radio thanks Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Forest Landowner Education Program, for her help with this episode and for permission to excerpts of “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” episodes.  The full series is available online at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOhBz_SGRw8UZo9aAfShRbb-ZaVyk-uzT.  Excerpts heard in this episode of Virginia Water Radio were taken from the following “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” episodes:
“Best Management Practices for Water Quality,” Episode 19, September 2020;
“Eastern Hellbenders,” Episode 68, January 2022;
“How Clean is Your Creek,” Episode 26, November 2020;
“Mountain Chorus Frogs,” Episode 75, April 2022;
“Vernal Pools,” Episode 74, April 2022.

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 http://www.bencosgrove.com.


Screenshot from the opening of the video for “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” Episode 19, “Best Management Practices for Water Quality.”

Screenshot from the opening of the video for “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” Episode 59, “The S Curve of Forest Carbon.”

Screenshot from the opening of the video for “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” Episode 68, “Eastern Hellbenders.”


Used for Audio 

Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, online at https://forestupdate.frec.vt.edu/.  The “Fifteen Minutes in the Forest” program and other short course programs are available online at https://forestupdate.frec.vt.edu/landownerprograms/shortcourses/online.html.

For More Information about Trees and Shrubs in Virginia and Elsewhere

Center for Watershed Protection, “Trees and Stormwater Runoff,” online at https://www.cwp.org/reducing-stormwater-runoff/.

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Field Guide: Plants and Trees,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/critters?s=&fieldGuideType=Plants+%26+Trees&fieldGuideHabitat=.

eFloras.org, “Flora of North America,” online at http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1.

James P. Engel, “Shrubs in the Understory,” February 2012, online at http://www.whiteoaknursery.biz/essays/ShrubsinUnderstory.shtml.

Oscar W. Gupton and Fred C. Swope, Trees and Shrubs of Virginia, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1981.

Sanglin Lee and Alan Raflo, “Trees and Water,” Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Water Central Newsletter, pages 13-18, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49367.   (A Virginia Cooperative Extension version of this article—“Trees and Water,” by Sanglin Lee, Alan Raflo, and Jennifer Gagnon, 2018—with some slight differences in the text is available online at https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/pubs_ext_vt_edu/en/ANR/ANR-18/ANR-18NP.html.)

Penn State Extension, “Trees, Shrubs, and Groundcovers Tolerant of Wet Sites,” prepared by N. Robert Nuss, and reviewed and revised by Scott Guiser and Jim Smellmer, October 2007, online at https://extension.psu.edu/trees-shrubs-and-groundcovers-tolerant-of-wet-sites.

Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, “How Trees Grow,” online at https://agrilife.org/treecarekit/introduction-to-tree-care/how-trees-grow/.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, Forests of Virginia, 2018, Resource Update FS-264, Asheville, N.C., 2020; available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/59963.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Forest Service, “State and Private Forestry Fact Sheet—Virginia 2022,” online (as a PDF) at https://apps.fs.usda.gov/nicportal/temppdf/sfs/naweb/VA_std.pdf.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service/Climate Change Resource Center, “Forest Tree Diseases and Climate Change,” online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/forest-disease. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Natural Resources Conservation Service, “PLANTS Database,” online at https://plants.usda.gov.

Virginia Botanical Associates, “Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora,” online at http://www.vaplantatlas.org/index.php?do=start&search=Search.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Program, “The Natural Communities of Virginia: Ecological Groups and Community Types,” online (as a PDF) at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/natural-communities/document/comlist07-21.pdf.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/.

Virginia Department of Forestry, “Virginia’s Forests,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/.  Some of the useful pages at that site are the following:
“Benefits of Trees,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/education-and-recreation/learn-about-education-recreation/benefits-of-tree/;
“Common Native Trees of Virginia,” 2020 edition, online (as a PDF) at https://dof.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/Common-Native-Trees-ID_pub.pdf;
“Forest Management and Health/Insects and Diseases,” online at
Tree and Forest Health Guide
, 2020, online (as a PDF) at https://dof.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/Tree-and-Forest-Health-Guide.pdf;
“Virginia Trees for Clean Water Program,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/urban-community-forestry/urban-forestry-community-assistance/virginia-trees-for-clean-water-grant-program/;
“Virginia Statewide Assessment of Forest Resources,” November 2020, online (as a PDF) at https://www.stateforesters.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2020-VA-Statewide-Assessment.pdf;
“Tree Identification,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/education-and-recreation/learn-about-education-recreation/tree-identification/.

Virginia Forest Products Association, online at https://www.vfpa.net/.

Virginia Native Plant Society, online at http://vnps.org/.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Plants” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on trees and shrubs.

Introduction to trees and water – Episode 621, 3-21-22.
American Sycamore – Episode 624, 4-11-22.
American Witch Hazel – Episode 238, 10-31-14.
Ash trees – Episode 376, 7-10-17 and Episode 625, 4-18-22.
Early spring wildflowers in woodlands – Episode 573, 4-19-21.
Forest lands and work in Virginia – Episode 623, 4-4-22.
Maple trees – Episode 503, 12-16-19.
Photosynthesis – Episode 602, 11-8-21.
Poison Ivy and related plants, including the shrub Poison Sumac – Episode 535, 7-27-20.
Rhododendrons – Episode 574, 4-26-21.
Shrubs Introduction – Episode 630, 6-20-22.
Tree buds – Episode 622, 3-28-22.
Tree colors and changes in fall, including changes to water movement – Episode 285, 10-12-15.
Trees in watery habitats – Episode 626, 4-25-22.
Waterside trees as bird nesting habitat – Episode 627, 5-9-22.


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.

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive; including that plants can be classified based on a variety of characteristics.
2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.2 – Plants and animals have structures that distinguish them from one another and play vital roles in their ability to survive.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes; including that changes in temperature, light, and precipitation affect plants and animals, including humans.
3.6 – Soil is important in ecosystems.
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.
2.8 – Plants are important natural resources.
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.
5.9 – Conservation of energy resources is important.

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.4 – There are chemical processes of energy transfer which are important for life.
LS.5 – Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
LS.6 – Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.
LS.8 – Change occurs in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms over time.
LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.
LS.11 – Populations of organisms can change over time.

Earth Science
ES.6 – Resource use is complex.
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity. 

BIO.6 – Modern classification systems can be used as organizational tools for scientists in the study of organisms.
BIO.7 – Populations change through time.
BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Economics Theme
2.8 – Natural, human, and capital resources.
3.8 – Understanding of cultures and of how natural, human, and capital resources are used for goods and services.

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.

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.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

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.