Banana Slug String Band

Banana Slug String Band

BandWorldChildren's Music

"The premiere eco-band in the country" (Chicago Parent Magazine), the Banana Slug String Band dedicates itself to making GREAT music for kids that teaches science and a love of this green Earth. Slug songs range from rockin' boogies to sensitive ballads; folk songs to reggae and rap.


The Nation's Finest Children's Eco-Band!!

The Banana Slug String Band gets wonderful letters from kids across the US all the time. Here's one of our favorites from a boy named Anthony:

"I like the part where you do the rock and roll stuff, and tell us to save the earth!!
P.S. I am trying to save the earth!!"

We love that because, in a nutshell, it is what the Banana Slugs are all about. We love to make real booty-shakin' music (we don't dumb it down for the kids) that teaches youngsters to care for and understand this precious Earth of ours.

Way back in 1985, four naturalists working for San Mateo Outdoor Education and Exploring New Horizons got together around a campfire and came up with the idea.

An educational children’s band, the Banana Slugs teach children about science, nature and caring for our precious earth! We do it through rock and reggae, bluegrass and gospel, folk and calypso.

The Band doesn't compromise the quality of music in order to reach children. (Kids are smart; they know great tunes!) As a result, we have had the honor of appearing at such fine venues as the Monterey Jazz Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

Our best known songs are "Dirt Made My Lunch" (now featured in the film "Dirt the Movie") and "Water Cycle Boogie." (Check both out on YouTube -- there are some great versions by young folks.)

Over the years, we have won plenty of awards, which we mention here just to let you know the quality of our music. Our album, "Goin’ Wild", for instance, a CD written with the help of ecologists and naturalists from the Tetons in Wyoming, won the AFIM Indie Award, Children’s Album of the Year in the 2000. Today teachers and outdoor educators across the US and Canada use our music in conjunction with their classroom lessons.

Over the years the Banana Slugs have had the great pleasure of recording with many notable musicians including Norton Buffalo, bluegrass Grammy winner Laurie Lewis, George Kahumoku, cajun Grammy winner BeauSoleil and pianist extraordinaire George Winston.

In March of 2008, the band released its latest album: We All Live Downstream, which is all about watershed ecology. They received rave reviews, including a starred review in School Library Journal:

"The award-winning Banana Slug String Band ... presents a celebration of all things water ... .... This outstanding album features catchy tunes that teach youngsters about the importance of a healthy environment, and teachers and librarians can use it to enhance the curriculum or for story times."

The Band tours nationally. They especially love to perform at schools, conferences and festivals. If you would like to learn more about booking an event with the Banana Slugs, check out our website at or give us a call at 888-32-SLUGS (888-327-5847).


Penguin Parade

Written By: Steve Van Zandt

1. Put on your tux, your feathered gown
We are going where ice is found
Eat some fish along the way
And we’re going on a Penguin Parade

2. Hurry up, don’t be slow
A hungry seal lurks down below
Move along, along your way
And we’re gong on a Penguin Parade
Yes, we’re going on a Penguin Parade

3. On to the land out of the sea
We will stand in colonies
On the ground our eggs are laid
And we’re going on a Penguin Parade

4. In the spring our chicks hatch out
Little penguins run all about
They will molt when a tux is made
And they’ll join us on a Penguin Parade

Who are the birds that cannot fly?
Their wings are flippers to swim and glide!
Who are the birds with a layer of fat,
To keep them warm on the cold ice flat?
Penguins – PENGUINS!
Penguins – PENGUINS!

5. Black and white, and white and black
White in front, and black in back
We are penguins, Hip hip hooray!
And we’re going on a
Penguin Parade
And we’re going on a
Penguin Parade
Yes, we’re going on a
Penguin Parade!

© 1995 Banana Slug String band/Slug Music
Visit the Banana Slugs online at www.BananaSlugString!!

We All Live Downstream

Written By: S. Van Zandt

We all live down stream, better watch out what we put in it

We all live down stream, let's be careful what we do
We all live down stream, better look out how we're using it
We all live down stream, and the stream is running through

Through the mountains, through the valleys

Through the cities, through the towns

Through the wild places, where the water falls down

Chorus; So, keep the stream clean as it goes past you and me

Keep the stream clean as it flows into the sea,
Keep the stream clean as it goes past you and me
Keep the stream clean keep that river running free
We all live downstream, someone else is living up from us
We all live downstream, someone else is further down
We all live downstream, and it’s up to every one of us
We all live downstream, to keep it clean when it comes round
Through the farms, through the orchards
Through the dry desert sand
Each living drop of water
It brings life upon the land Chorus…..

Tag; Keep the stream clean

We all live downstream

Keep the stream clean

It’s up to you and me
Keep the stream clean
We all live downstream
Keep the stream clean
Keep that river running free

Let Our Wetlands Stand

Written By: Steve Van Zandt

Wetland life is really the best

Migrating birds stop here to nest

It’s a restaurant and a fine hotel

It’s a habitat that serves life well

There are wetlands the whole world round

In every continent and country wetlands can be found

Chorus: They’re the link between water and land

Hold on to our wetlands let our wetlands stand (2x)

There are wetlands inland and out by the sea
There’s a marsh, a swamp and an estuary
There’s an oxbow lake, a vernal pool too
A bottomland, a bog, a fen and a slough
There are many names for wetlands its plain to see
But one thing they have in common is hydrology


If the water table’s high or the water table’s low
It soaks it up like a sponge or it lets it go
It’s like a water filter so the water will be
Reduced in pollution and silt free
Wetlands aren’t wastelands as some have said
They’re a vital part of our watershed


Bridge: Our wetlands disappear each year

They’re dredged, drained and filled

For housing tracts or parking lots or new farms to be tilled

More then before we know for sure they’re more then mud and sand

Hold on to our wetlands, let or wetlands stand
When you go to the wetlands get down low
Put your feet in the mud let it ooze between your toes
Stand real still and listen to the sound
The bounty of life is humming all around
Find a wetland near you and go there today
Get to know its wild side, try to keep it that way



Written By: Steve Van Zandt

(From Penguin Parade CD by the Banana Slug String Band)

There are lots of different noses on lots of different faces.
Noses appear in lots of different places.
If all that shows is the nose, would you know whose nose it is?
Know, know, know, know, know whose nose it is.

There’s a long gray nose that looks like a hose.
It moves boulders and trees, wherever it goes.
It’s got a finger-like type for getting a grip.
Do you know whose nose it is?
Now you know, know, know whose nose it is.

There’s a nose like a blow-hole but instead
Of being on the face, it’s on the top of the head.
It makes breathing a breeze, while swimming at sea.
Do you know whose nose it is?
Now you know, know, know whose nose it is.

There’s a very long nose that sweeps the ground.
It smells out ants and swallows them down.
It’s built that way to find a thousand a day.
Do you know whose nose it is?
Now you know, know, know whose nose it is.

There’s a round pink nose that’s flat in front.
When it digs for food, can you hear it grunt?
It finds a meal with smell and feel.
Do you know whose nose it is?
Now you know, know, know whose nose it is.

There’s a nose I know that’s hard to see.
Some say it’s too big but it’s the best it can be.
I follow each day as it leads the way.
Do you know whose nose it is?
Now you know, know, know whose nose it is.



Written By: Steve Van Zandt

(From Singing in Our Garden CD by the Banana Slug String Band)

Is there waste? Well, I don’t know.
‘Cause one thing dies to let another grow.
This circle we see most every day.
The name that we call it is… de-cay.

Well come on all you people, gather ‘round.
Break down and listen to… decomposition.

Group 1: Munch, munch, munch…
Group 2: Decomposition, decomposition, decomposition…
Group 3: Get down, break down; get down, break down…

There are many kinds of bugs
Worms and snails and banana slugs.
They are useful for me and you.
They help to make the soil renew.


Decomposition is useful game.
A tree drops its leaves but they don’t stay the same.
A bug chews them up and spits them back out,
making the soil for a new tree to sprout.


Give Plants a Chance

Written By: Steve Van Zandt

(From Singing in Our Garden CD by the Banana Slug String Band)

I like plants. You could too.
There’s so many things that plants can do.
Feed them water, watch them grow.
There’s a lot of plant above but there’s even more below.
Rich soil, clean air.
Sun and rain give them care.
Plants are the reason this world’s so fine.
When was the last time you thanked a vine?

Plants, plants, give plants a chance
Plants, plants, give plants a chance

Believe me when I say that plants can thrill us.
Some plants can save us and some plants can kill us.
They grow everywhere, from the tundra to your room.
They’re breaking through cement and they make the desert bloom.
They creep and climb.
Grow real low or high above the ground.
Plants are the reason this world’s so great.
When was the last time you had plants on your plate?


Plants are here so let’s celebrate them.
With every breath we take, well, we can thank them.
Plants hold the earth against the sky
And leaves are the reason the world’s alive.
Brown and green, red and blue,
Yellow, orange, old and new.
Plants are beauty growing free.
When was the last time you hugged a tree?



DIRT MADE MY LUNCH (1987 Slug Music):
Dirt Made My Lunch
Solar Energy Shout
Sun, Soil, Water, Air
Roots, Stems, Leaves
I'm a Tree
River Song
Prayer Song
Banana Slug
Newts, Salamanders & Frogs
Bats eat Bugs
Nocturnal Animals
With People I Like

We All Live Downstream
It's a Blue Planet
Thankful for the Watershed
One Little River
One Drop of Water
Storm Drain Blues
Let the Wetlands Stand
That's Water
River Song

SINGING IN OUR GARDEN (Compilation) (2002, Slug Music)
Give Plants a Chance
Sun, Soil, Water, Air
Water Cycle Boogie
Air Cycle
Dirt Made My Lunch
Roots, Stems, Leaves
No Bones Within
I'm a Tree
Take Time to Wonder

WINGS OF SLUMBER (2004 Slug Music)
Mother Nature's Lullaby
Wings of Slumber
Up They Get to My Sunset
Return to me in the Morning
Swimming With Whales
So Why Aren't You?
Singing to the Moon
A Season's Lullaby
This Little Island
Ready For Your Dreams
I'd Like to Be
The Camper's Lullaby
Where Dreams Can Grow

Nature Rap
Air Cycle [Swing]
Brown Air
Tidepool Boogie
Big Red Rap
No Bones Within
We're Animals
Everything Needs a Home

SLUGS AT SEA (1991 Slug Music/BMI):
Ocean Communities
Tidepool Boogie
Life on the Shore
Butts Up
Giant Kelp Forest
Water Cycle Boogie
Blue Planet
Island Rock
Estuary Life
Ocean Rap

PENGUIN PARADE (1995/1996 Slug Music):
Penguin Parade
Animals are Dancing
Black Patches
California Sea Otter
What do Animals Need?
Croak-a- Ribit
Go into the Night
Safe at Home

GOIN WILD (1999 Slug Music)
I'm Proud to be a Beaver
We Are Wildlife Too
Let it Burn
Roll Along Yellowstone
Old Faithful
Walking in the Tetons
Ruminant Chew
Baby Wapati
Grizzly Bear
Wolf Dream
Stars Over Wyoming

(1999 Slug Music/BMI):
En Casa (Bilingual)/ la Tierra
Dirt eres mi amiga (Dirt Made My Lunch)
El Descomponer (Decomposition)
Soy un arbol (I'm a Tree)
Raiz, tallo, hoja (Roots, stems, leaves)
Caracoles Rap
El bosque de algas gigantes (Giant Kelp Forest)
Planeta azul (Blue Planet)
Rap Marino
Comunidad del mar (Ocean Community)
Pececitos (Fishies)
Dirt Made My Lunch
I'm A Tree
Roots, Stems & Leaves
Ocean Communities
Giant Kelp Forest
Blue Planet

Set List

The set list depends on the venue/topic. A concert on Watersheds, for instance, would include songs from our latest CD, along with the perennial favorite, "Water Cycle Boogie." The band also performs concerts, workshops, and assemblies on other topics, such as Recycling, Gardening/Agriculture & Animals.