Sunday, May 14, 2023

Episode 655 (5-15-23): Virginia State Parks and National Kids to Parks Day

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:11).

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 5-12-23.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of May 15 and May 22, 2023.  This is a revised version of an episode from May 2013.

MUSIC – ~20 sec – Lyrics (4 voices in a round): “I walk in beauty.  Beauty is around me.  Beauty is behind me, above and below me.”

That’s part of “I Walk in Beauty,” from the 2002 album “Songs of Earth and Sea,” by the late Madeline MacNeil, who was a well-known and highly regarded musician based in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.  The song opens an episode about Virginia places that are full of beauty, along with fun, learning, rejuvenation, inspiration, conservation, and lots of other benefits.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds to a call-out of the names of some of these places, and see if you can guess the group to which they all belong.  And here’s a hint: they’re all public and popular, and they feature nature, scenery, and history.

GUEST VOICES and BIRD SOUNDS - ~33 sec – “Pocahontas.  Shenandoah River Raymond R. “Andy” Guest, Jr.  Westmoreland.  New River Trail.  High Bridge Trail.  Wilderness Road.  Twin Lakes.  Shot Tower.  Hungry Mother.  First Landing.  Sailor’s Creek Battlefield.  Fairy Stone.  Mason Neck.  Natural Bridge.”

If you guessed that they’re all Virginia state parks, you’re right!  You heard park names being called out by Blacksburg, Virginia, kids ranging in age from 5 to 15.

Colorful and interesting names hint at the varied natural and historic resources—not to mention programs and activities—offered to kids and adults of all ages by Virginia’s state-parks system.  Since the June 15, 1936, ceremony at Hungry Mother State Park in Smyth County that marked the opening of Virginia’s first six parks, the Commonwealth’s system has grown to 41 parks covering over 75,000 acres.  The system will be on special display on May 20, 2023, when Virginia’s parks will be participating in the 13th annual Kids to Parks Day, coordinated by the National Park Trust.

Our children and our parks are indeed part of our public trust and our common wealth, so this week or whenever you can:

GUEST VOICES - ~3 sec – “Take a kid to a park!”

Thanks to 13 Blacksburg young people for lending their voices to this episode.  Thanks also to Janita Baker of Blue Lion Dulcimers and Guitars for permission to use Madeline MacNeil’s music, and we close with about 15 more seconds of “I Walk in Beauty.

MUSIC – ~14 sec – Lyrics (2 voices completing a round): “…above and below me.  Beauty is behind me, above and below 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 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 revises and replaces Episode 161, 5-13-13.

“I Walk in Beauty” is from Madeline MacNeil’s 2002 album “Songs of Earth & Sea”; copyright held by Janita Baker, used with permission.  More information about Madeline MacNeil is available from Ms. Baker’s “Blue Lion Dulcimers & Guitars” Web site, online at  This song is in the tradition of a Navajo prayer and song; information on the Navajo prayer/song is available online at, and at

Thanks to neighbors in Blacksburg, Va., for recording Virginia state park names on May 12, 2013, and on May 10, 2023, and for participating in the group recording of “Take a kid to a park!” (in 2013).  The bird sounds accompanying the voices were recorded by Virginia Water Radio in Blacksburg on May 11, 2023.

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


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

Location of 41 Virginia state parks, as of May 2023.  The parks, with the map abbreviations shown in parentheses, are as follows: Bear Creek Lake (BC), Belle Isle (BI), Breaks Interstate (BK), Caledon (CA), Chippokes Plantation (CP), Claytor Lake (CL), Douthat (DO), Fairy Stone (FS), False Cape (FC), First Landing (FL), Grayson Highlands (GH), High Bridge Trail (HB), Holliday Lake (HL), Hungry Mother (HM), James River (JR), Kiptopeke (KP), Lake Anna (LA), Leesylvania (LE), Mason Neck (MN), Natural Tunnel (NT), New River Trail (NR), Occoneechee (OC), Pocahontas (PO), Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historic (SC), Shenandoah River Raymond R. "Andy" Guest Jr. (SH), Shot Tower (ST), Sky Meadows (SK), Smith Mountain Lake (SM), Southwest Virginia Museum Historical (HM), Staunton River (SR), Staunton River Battlefield (SB), Tabb Monument (not shown on map; this), Twin Lakes (TL), Westmoreland (WE), Wilderness Road (WR), and York River (YR).  Note that Breaks Interstate Park is not managed by the Virginia State Parks Division of the Department of Conservation and Recreation).  Map and list from Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Virginia State Parks, online at, accessed 5/10/23.

Chesapeake Bay looking north toward the Bay Bridge, as viewed from Kiptopeke State Park in Northampton County, Va., October 7, 2007.

South Fork Shenandoah River as viewed from Cullers Overlook Shenandoah River Raymond R. “Andy” Guest, Jr., State Park in Warren County, Va., March 12, 2014.

Claytor Lake as viewed from Claytor Lake State Park in Pulaski County, Va., September 23, 2012.

Stream in Hungry Mother State Park in Smyth County, Va., February 6, 2011.


Used for Audio

National Park Trust, “Kids to Parks Day,” online at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Virginia State Parks, online at The “Kids to Parks Day” page is online at  The list of parks is at “Find a Park,” online at  State park events are listed online at

For More Information about Outdoor Opportunities for Youth

“Every Kid Outdoors” Program is online at  According to the program Web site, the program was created so fourth graders and their families could discover our wildlife, resources, and history admission-free at federal sites.  The program provides a pass (printable from the Web site) for free admission for fourth graders and educators to all federal lands and waters.  Participating agencies (as of 5-10-23) are the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.


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

A previous episode on Virginia state parks is Episode 320, 6-13-16.

Following are links to some other episodes on Virginia geography.

A walk across Virginia – Episode 110, 5-14-12.
Cumberland Gap –
Episode 544, 9-28-20.
Exploration of the Chesapeake Bay –
Episode 140, 12-10-12.
Forks in waterways – Episode 545, 10-5-20.
Geography in general – Episode 265, 5-11-15.
Mountain gaps – Episode 288, 11-2-15
Virginia connections to the Ohio River Valley – Episode 422, 5-28-18;
Virginia rivers quiz – Episode 586, 7-19-21.
Virginia's Western or Alleghany HighlandsEpisode 577, 5-17-21.
Water and settlement of Roanoke –
Episode 181, 9-30-13.
Watersheds – Episode 581, 6-14-21Episode 582, 6-21-21; Episode 583, 6-28-21; Episode 585, 7-12-21; Episode 587, 7-26-21; Episode 588, 8-2-21; Episode 589, 8-9-21.


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
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
K.11 – Humans use resources.
1.8 – Natural resources can be used responsibly.
2.8 – Plants are important 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.

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

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 History Theme
1.2 – Virginia history and life in present-day Virginia.

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

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.1 – Impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.2 – Physical geography and native peoples of Virginia past and present.
VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – Major land and water features of North America, including their importance in history.
USI.3 – Early cultures in North America.
USI.5 – Factors that shaped colonial America and conditions in the colonies, including how people interacted with the environment to produce goods and service.
USI.8 – Westward expansion and reform in American from 1801—1861.
USI.9 – Causes, events, and effects of the Civil War.

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.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.2 – Early European exploration and colonization and interactions among Europeans, Africans, and American Indians.
VUS.3 – Early European colonization, including social, political, and cultural factors.
VUS.6 – Major events in Virginia and the United States in the first half of the 19th Century.
VUS.7 – Knowledge of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

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 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.