Updated 9/17/11

In Podcast #48 the Trekkers take you to Falling Spring in the Valley and Ridge region of Virginia.  See why Thomas Jefferson called this 80-foot waterfall “the only remarkable cascade” in the area; find out how people changed the size and location of the falls; explore the caves and rock formations created by weathering and erosion; take a look at the nearby hot springs in Bath county and find out what makes them hot; discover how the paper you use in your classroom may come from this area; finally, check out the oldest covered bridge in Virginia!  Come on, let’s go trekking! 

The Gentlemen’s Bath House that the Trekkers showed you in the video is the oldest spa structure in America.  The octogon-shaped building was built in 1761.  That’s before the Declaration of Independence was signed!  Thomas Jefferson is one of the most famous bathers who used this spa.  He stayed here for three weeks in 1819 and wrote that the warm waters were of “first merit.” The water is naturally 98ºF because of geothermal heating from the earth’s mantle.  This area of Virginia was once volcanic (watch our Volcano podcast to see a volcano in nearby Rockingham County).  Since warm water can hold more dissolved minerals than cold water, many people believe the warm springs have medicinal value. The pool in the Gentlemen’s Bath House holds 40,000 gallons of water, and since it’s constantly moving (the spring flows right through it at a rate of 1,000 gallons per minute), it’s always clean!  People still bathe in it today, but the Trekkers couldn’t because it was closed when we visited.

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SOL Correlation:

K.9 The student will investigate and understand that change occurs over time and rates may be fast or slow.  Key concepts include a) natural and human-made things may change over time; and


1.7 The student will investigate and understand the relationship of seasonal change and weather to the activities and life processes of plants and animals.  Key concepts include how temperature, light, and precipitation bring about changes in c) people (dress, recreation, and work).


2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.


2.7 The student will investigate and understand that weather and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.  Key concepts include b) weathering and erosion of the land surface.


3.11 The student will explain the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation of a republican form of government by b) identifying the contributions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King, Jr.;


3.11d The student will investigate and understand different sources of energy. Key concepts include d) renewable and nonrenewable energy resources. [geothermal energy]


5.7 The student will investigate and understand how the Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include e) weathering and erosion;


VS.2 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia byb) locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau;


VS.10 The student will demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics byb) describing the major products and industries of Virginia’s five geographic regions;

Valley & Ridge