Hopefully, many of you have seen and heard Captain Marshall performing the Clean Water Raingers program at your school or library. Want to know a little bit more about him? He recently took time to sit down with me and answer some questions that I had.
Where did Marshall Mitchell (Captain Marshall) grow up?
I grew up in Texas, on the edge of the Great Plains.
How did you learn about protecting the Illinois River Watershed?
When I was asked to write the Clean Water Raingers songs, I must admit that I had never heard about the Illinois River Watershed. I had to educate myself about the watershed, how watersheds work, and the vocabulary used by the folks that work to protect their watersheds. No matter how old you are, if you don’t know about something you can always find out by reading or asking someone that does know.
Why do you enjoy being Captain Marshall of the Clean Water Raingers?
- I get to sing and play my guitar, and it is really special when I can do it for kids.
- I can share the things I have learned about watersheds with kids and hopefully give them a spark to find out more. I have played the Clean Water Raingers songs for over 24,000 kids, teachers, and other folks out there in our watershed.
- It is so much fun to hear the kids sing along with me and to see their smiling faces.
Captain Marshall performing at schools
Is it easy to write a song?
Not as easy as it may appear. A song is poetry set to music. You have to match the meter and the rhyme, and paint a picture that tells a story using a limited number of words. It is an art.
Which is your favorite Clean Water Raingers song and why?
The Riparian Buffer song. It was the first song I wrote for the Clean Water Raingers. I had no idea what a riparian buffer was. I researched it and understood that…..
♫ It’s the trees and the bushes and the vines and the roots
that grow on the edge of the stream♫
It proved to me that it is really important to keep our waters clean. I also realized this was proof that I was really a songwriter.
The Riparian Buffer Song
What do you think are the five most important things kids can do to make a difference at home, at school, and in their watershed?
- Realize that it is your watershed as much as it is mine.
- Learn how people can cause pollution by reading our Clean Water Raingers Activity Book. Many people may not even realize they are polluting.
- Don’t litter yourself, and pick up litter that you see on the ground even though you did not put it there.
- Talk to your classmates about putting trash where it belongs, in a trash can or recycle bin.
- Get involved and start thinking like a Clean Water Rainger!
Captain Marshall picking up liter along river bank
Do you get fan letters from kids?
Yes I do. Letters from Clean Water Raingers make my heart swell. They let me know that I am not in this by myself and that the songs and stories are making a difference. I keep the letters in a special notebook and read them often. Sometimes the letters also have artwork in them, which makes them extra special. I sure hope you will take the time to write me a letter and tell me what you are doing as a Clean Water Rainger. Draw a picture if you want to. I sure look forward to hearing from you!
How can kids send letters to Captain Marshall?
Have your parents help you address the envelope to:
Illinois River Watershed Partnership (or they can just write IRWP)
Attn: Captain Marshall
PO Box 8506
Fayetteville, AR 72703
How can we get Captain Marshall and the Clean Water Raingers Program to visit our school?
We ended the interview and then Captain Marshall was off with a smile on his face, and I knew he was thinking about the next Clean Water Raingers program he was going to perform. He waved goodbye and said “Adios for now. See you down the dusty trail.”