Wednesday, November 5, 2008

CFWEP Sails on the Pea Green Boat

CFWEP has moved into the entertainment industry with its first hour long radio show on Montana Public Radio’s Pea Green Boat with Captain Annie Garde.

I happen to be a huge fan of the Pea Green Boat, a children’s program broadcasted Monday through Friday, 4 – 5pm. It tends to match my level of intellect. Annie and I met during the National Folk Festival last July in Butte. The CFWEP booth at the festival family area was crowded with children looking at bugs collected from a stream. In the background was the occasional cry of a bug-loving kid being pulled from the table by their parents. Annie happened to stop by and seemed interested enough in the children working with the bugs. I took the opportunity to see if Annie would like bugs to visit her Pea Green Boat.

On a Friday morning, I made the trip to Missoula for the show along with Claudia, my boyfriend’s 8 year old bug-obsessed daughter. We stopped on the Clark Fork River in Drummond to collect a variety of bugs from the river and toted them to Missoula to see Annie.

It was our first time in a radio studio and there was so much to see. After a quick tour we moved into our studio-home for the next hour. With our magnifying glasses ready, Claudia and I spread our collected bugs in basins near our microphones and settled in. Annie outfitted us with headsets and, after a brief tutorial on how to speak into the microphone, we were off and sailing!

Panic set in at first. Annie introduced us on the air while Claudia and I looked at each other bug-eyed. Our legs jerked, ready to leap for the door and back onto dry land, but Annie smoothly pushed us off from the dock and after a few questions from her we settled right in.
The program was primarily educational. When Annie asked Claudia about a dragonfly, Claudia promptly replied, “He squirts out water from his butt to give him energy to swim, and then he can swim a little bit farther.”

Annie also made some observations of her own. “I am looking at one now. He kinda’ looks like a caterpillar . . . the brown part of him is almost transparent and going right down his center is a big black line that seems to be inside of his skin that is transparent. He is creeping along, and as he goes that black line goes back and forth too.”

And I replied, “Well, very interesting to have see-through skin. We would look a lot different with see through skin, I think.”

“Oh boy, we would see a lot of stuff – and not just a big black line!” said Annie. The bug in question was a cranefly, a regular favorite on CFWEP field trips.

Before we knew it, our ride was over and we returned with the Pea Green Boat to dock. Our thanks to Annie and all at Montana Public Radio for giving us, and the bugs that call the Clark Fork River home, a voice on the airwaves.

Hear the whole show, available in downloadable MP3 format, on our website at

-Jen Titus, CFWEP Field Coordinator

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