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Steve is a Guest Speaker for American Cruise Lines


A Riverlorian is ”One who studies rivers and shares all aspects of navigation, nature, history, legends & lore with anyone who will listen. This could expand into river related topics that interest the Riverlorian and possibly even the audience.”

Steven Marking’s programs all combine education and entertainment to make learning an enjoyable, memorable experience. As a trained baritone, there may be singing involved…

A Visit from Will Dilg

A century ago, Will Dilg was the driving force behind our nation’s first successful large scale grassroots environmental movement. After Dilg’s only son drowned in the Mississippi River, he rose up from the depths of depression and mourning to become a tireless, fanatic firebrand – leading an extraordinary national crusade to form the Izaak Walton League and save a 261 mile stretch of Mississippi River Backwaters we now know as the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. While his life was cut short, his accomplishments are still legendary, and we all will benefit by hearing from him a century after this monumental achievement. 

For classrooms, conservation groups, senior centers, community theaters:

– Book Steve for a live performance of ‘A Visit From Will Dilg’
– License the movie to show to your group
– Book a movie screening at a theater near you

For Bookings, please click here.

Guest Speaker

Check out some of the topics Steve has made talks on below.
To book Steven Marking as a guest speaker, please click here.

Meet The Mississippi


The Mississippi River is one of the wonders of the world! It is the third longest river in the world at 2320 miles. Its watershed drains 41% of the United States. It is a major bird migration route.
It has captured the imagination of everyone from Lewis and Clark to Mark Twain. Many people from Europe travel here to see and experience the Mississippi. Here it is in our backyard!
Steve’s Meet the Mississippi is a wonderful way to get an overview of the river: glacial origins, early exploring, commercial navigation, recreational use, the incredible story of the building of our locks and dams, differences in the the Upper and Lower Mississippi, migration, wildlife and more!
You will be amazed and inspired by this mighty river!

The Golden Age of Steamboats

Between 1811 and 1900 there were 4000 steamboats on these rivers!
What happened to all them?
Learn about the history of this uniquely American form of river transportation and how it helped build our country, then settle in for a bit of expounding on the subject by Mark Twain!

The Amazing Story of Logging and Log Rafts on the Mississippi

In the late 1800’s the northern forests of Minnesota and Wisconsin were covered by stands of huge white pine, many of them over 200 feet tall. Now some of the only remaining stands are at Itasca State park in Minnesota. What happened? Hear the amazing tale of the logging of these majestic white pines.
This fascinating story tells how millions of logs were brought down the Mississippi on lumber rafts by brave and daring men. This boom and bust era saw the beginning of log rafting, the introduction of steamboats and the destruction of the majestic white pine forests, all in one man’s lifetime.
Steve is a master storyteller. He blends his in depth knowledge of logging history with his stories, images and rare film footage as he shares this incredible story.
The Logging Boom incorporates American ingenuity and determination, river boat history, the limitless male ego, ecology and immigration.
“Steve’s program was entertaining and informative. I have lived in Minnesota my whole life and this was the first time I have learned so much about the timber and logging industry. Steve’s winning personality easily holds your attention!” – member, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

The Western Rivers and the Civil War

When you think of the Civil War, do you think of the eastern United States? Think again! Learn why control of the Ohio River and the Mississippi River was so crucial to the Union’s victory in the Civil war. Hear the fascinating story of how this played out between the Union and Confederates and why Vicksburg, Mississippi was “the key.”

Mark Twain

The Mississippi River and Mark Twain are inextricably linked. Through Mark Twain’s books and travel, this great river became known and celebrated worldwide. Get a wonderful glimpse into the life story of this great author and humorist and hear some of his best quotes.

Wildlife Along the River!

Learn about the hundreds of species, from eagles to catfish and American Lotus, that inhabit this amazing river!

1854: The Grand Excursion on the Upper Mississippi

Hear the marvelous tale of the greatest six day party ever on the Upper Mississippi river! The Grand Excursion of 1854, the Fashionable Tour.
1200 guests took the first east west train from the Atlantic to Rock Island, Illinois, (across from Davenport) where they boarded a flotilla of seven steamboats for an unheard of adventure up to the exotic frozen tundra – the Minnesota Territory.

The Ohio River: Valley of Democracy

The Ohio River has a unique place in our country’s history. Rich in natural resources, this river and the surrounding Ohio Valley were essential to the formation and continued growth of our country in very unique ways.
Learn about the role Marietta played in the formation of the Northwest Territories and how the land north of the Ohio was developed so differently than the land south of the Ohio. Like no other river, the Ohio River was the dividing line between free and slave states.
A fascinating look into American history!

Digital Photography Class (available as Part One and Part Two)

Do you have trouble figuring out how to take and share great pictures on your iPhone or iPad? What do all those fancy buttons mean?
In this relaxed, low pressure talk, Steve walks you through the steps to taking great pictures, storing and sharing them. The goal is to make everyone feel comfortable with basic camera and sharing skills.
Steve is a professional wildlife photographer and filmmaker. His favorite subject is the Mississippi River and all its wildlife. But he takes great satisfaction in helping others and his calm presence is always appreciated by those who are perplexed by their cameras and phones.