Did you know that Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers in the U.S. and the largest Vietnamese population on the East Coast? When you are out and about, look for the big-eared bat (one of our state mammals) flying over a farm with rows of tomato plants (our state’s most profitable crop). Dig in to some Johnny cakes and pickled onions (two unofficial state foods) while you peruse A to Z USA for more interesting facts about Virginia and every state!
Just like the guide to world culture, A to Z USA is produced by World Trade Press. You’ll find that this database is even more detailed and provides a wealth of extremely local information for each state. Again, this is a great option for students doing research on any state in the U.S., but it also works for tourists and history buffs. As before, I will comment briefly on the categories offered and point out anything unusual or surprising.
Animals & Plants: There is much more detailed information here on not just the state bird and flower, but also the state fish, insect, fossil, and reptile.
Arts & Culture: Get an overview of Virginia’s top cultural destinations as well as its claim to fame in terms of film locations. Also get contact information for museums, symphonies, theatres, and find dates for local film festivals.
Climate: Look at up-to-date local forecasts, radar loops, and maps (for example, estimated snow depth) from the National Weather Service!
Crime Statistics: There is some very interesting data in this section- try searching statistics by county or city. (Both Floyd and Montgomery counties saw a rise in the murder rate in 2009!)
Demographics: Find economic, housing, and social data for state, county, and city from the 2009 Census Bureau. (The actual Census Bureau website has slightly more current information from 2010.)
Economics: There is a good basic overview on the state’s economy in this section.
Education: Check out state performance by way of middle school report cards and locate particular schools by city, county, or zip code.
Energy: Find a mixture of national and state data, with a few points of contact for different types of energy plants in Virginia. A cool feature here is a link to national fuel price updates and comparisons.
Food & Recipes: Everyone’s favorite category- get the recipe for the state dish, and look at a list of all of the farmer’s markets you can visit as you travel throughout the state.
Gazetteer of Places: This category is pretty interesting- you can search for any type of landform (beach, cliff, falls, park, post office, etc) and find it on a Google Map!
Geography/Geology/Land: This section provides an overview of mainly national earth sciences, but there is a state earthquake map and information on Virginia’s mineral industry.
Government and Politics: Especially helpful here is an exhaustive list of links to state agencies. (I did a spot check of many links and they seem to be current, for the most part.) Also get bios of current and past senators and representatives.
History: Find a good historical timeline here as well as beautiful antique maps and historic panoramic photos.
Image Collections: This database is a surprisingly good option for finding vintage baseball cards, of all things. In this category you will also find postcards and license plates through the decades.
Maps: Maps of all sorts – congressional districts, outlines, population density, precipitation, etc.
Media: Search for local newspapers, AM and FM radio stations, and TV stations by county and city.
News Feeds: Get caught up with the state and local news in this category- top stories, business, environment, politics, etc. This is a neat feature, with Virginia news stories being pulled from a variety of national and state sources.
Parks/Forests/Landmarks: Alphabetical lists of national historic landmarks, national parks, and national forests in the state (great information with contact info and website).
Photos: Discover a random sample of photos of large cities, culture, and sites of interest to tourists.
Recreation: Another great category to get contact information, this time for all amusement parks, aquariums, botanical gardens, and zoos in the state.
Sports: A list of the state’s sports teams (excepting colleges and universities) and their contact information. Don’t forget the Salem Red Sox and the Pulaski Mariners!
Symbols: We are ending this post the same way we began it, with state symbols. Instead of animals, check out the state rock, gemstone, quarter, motto, nickname (“the mother of states”), and song.