Updated 9/16/11

In Podcast #45 the Trekkers take you camping with their kids at Shenandoah State Park in the northern Valley and Ridge Region of Virginia.  We were planning on participating in the Family Adventure Race, but weather from the same storm that spawned tornadoes in North Carolina on April 16, 2011 caused flash flooding here in Virginia.  So Big Dave wimped out and left, but Alfonso and Frank persevered and did the race anyway.  Find out why we couldn't bring our own firewood; learn how to make a gourmet s'more; discover how to play the guitar around the campfire without a guitar; see the effects of a flash flood; and get a lesson on friction and cars.  Come on, let's go trekkin'

The invasive species that we mentioned in the video, the emerald ash borer, was not found in North America until June 2002.  Scientists think it came here from Asia on a cargo ship.  Now it can be found in Canada and 17 states including Virginia!  The larva of this beetle bore through the bark and wood of ash trees damaging it so that the leaves cannot receive water and nutrients.  It has already killed 30 million ash trees in America, and since ash trees are very important in the lumber industry, this represents a loss of almost 10 million dollars!  The beetle spreads naturally at a rate of two miles per year, but people can carry them greater distances by transporting firewood.  So be sure to buy your firewood at the campground instead of bringing it in.

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SOL Correlation:


1.6 The student will describe how location, climate, and physical surroundings affect the way people live, including their food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and recreation.


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).


2.6 The student will investigate and understand basic types, changes, and patterns of weather.  Key concepts include a) temperature, wind, precipitation, drought, flood, and storms;


3.10 The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species.  Key concepts include

b) the effects of human activity on the quality of air, water, and habitat;

c) the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms;


4.5 The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals in an ecosystem interact with one another and the nonliving environment.  Key concepts include f) influence of human activity on ecosystems.


4.8 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources.  Key concepts include d) forests, soil, and land.


VS.2 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by b) 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 by b) describing the major products and industries of Virginia’s five geographic regions;

Valley & Ridge

The emerald ash borer  Photo credits

The damaging tunnels it carves in the wood

The emerald ash borer larva  Photo credits