Banana Slug String Band

Banana Slug String Band

The Banana Slug String Band has been playing music for kids for over 30 years! They’ve played in 40 states and 5 countries for an audience of more than 2 Million people. The band has released 11 award winning CDs, playing noted festivals such as New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, High Sierra Music Festival, and their home festival – Strawberry Music Fest (which they’ve played nearly 40 times!) As educators and eco-warriors, their music is used in school curricula and class rooms around the world.


Their Live show is legendary, and include characters such as; the Professor, Doug the Drop, Peter the Penguin, Mr. Dirt the puppet, Louie the Crab, and Big Red, the talking Redwood Tree. These characters come out in full body costume to the amazement of all. The songs are all original, and played in a variety of catchy musical styles…from Folk to Blues to reggae, Rock and Roll and Rap. The songs are educational, funny and deeply moving. Kids come away, inspired, and ready to learn more about the Earth.


The Slugs are Environmental Educators, and met teaching in Outdoor Education in San Mateo county, working at Env. Ed. Schools deep in the Redwoods. Solar Steve and Marine Mark are currently the Administrators and directors of San Mateo county outdoor Ed.


Doug Dirt, Airy Larry, Marine Mark, and Solar Steve are the Real Deal…..Impassioned musicians, songwriters, performers, educators, and eco-warriors! With guitars, voices, crazy characters, and an extraordinary ability to connect with children…. they change the world, one child at a time.



Steve Van Zandt is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara in Environmental Studies /Geography. He received a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State and an Administrative Credential from San Jose State. Steve worked as a Naturalist at SMOE and at Exploring New Horizons. He also worked as a Naturalist at Youth Science Institute and as a Co-Director/Intern Coordinator at Hidden Villa. Steve was also a Co-Manager for the Pigeon Point Youth Hostel. He has been a classroom teacher for kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade. Steve has also been a Life Lab and ESL teacher K-7. He is one of the founding and active members of the Banana Slug String Band. Steve has been the site director/principle with San Mateo Outdoor Education for 17 years. He has three children: Nathan 22, Colin 19, and Skyler 19. Steve enjoys music, writing, poetry, ping-pong, vegetarian/vegan cooking, surfing and swimming under waterfalls. Steve’s nature name is “Solar Steve.”


“Marine” Mark Nolan is a graduate of UC Davis with a BS in Zoology and a Secondary Science Teaching Credential and Administrative Credential from San Jose State. Mark taught as a Naturalist for twelve years, founded and directed the Pigeon Point Environmental Education Program, and served as the Executive Director for Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools. Since 1996, he has served as Director of San Mateo Outdoor Education, which provides hands-on environmental education for fifth and sixth graders. The father of two children, Mark also likes gardening, cooking and reading books on natural history.


“Airy” Larry Graff, member, partner, manager of the Slugs for 26 years, graduated from Univ Of Michigan in 1981, with a focus on Environmental Advocacy. Journeyed west to California, where he worked in Environmental Education for 6 years in San Mateo County. In 1985 formed the Banana Slugs with Solar Steve, Marine Mark, and Doug Dirt…..11 CDs, a DVD, a Book..thousands of shows….audiences in the millions……the rest is history….


Doug “Dirt” Greenfield, born in Cincinnati, Ohio , graduated from Ohio University (summa cum laude) with an individualized, self-designed curriculum with a emphasis in environmental education, creative problem solving technologies and communications studies. After a very enriching and short lived three weeks at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Dirt reconsidered and then reorganized his life path to obtain a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential through Hayward State University. Doug served as program director for (in succession) Venture West School of Outdoor Living and Exploring New Horizons, and later created individualized week-long science camps, taking students from several northern California schools on visits to many of the state’s pristine habitats. As fate would have it, these days Doug  enjoy life with his wife and two teenaged daughters and continues the 29-year adventure as co-founding artist and co-manager of the Banana Slug String Band.