Reaching Out: Notes from NANFA's Regional Outreach Program - Fall 2004
By Charlie Nunziata
The following members have volunteered to be designated NANFA contacts. As previously reported, this new position can significantly broaden our visibility at the local level, and, where there is a regional representative, aid in the region's broader activities. Our new contacts will be listed on the web site by their geographic location. Ideally, a person requiring local NANFA information can click on the geographical location of interest, and be directed to the contact's e-mail address to ask for information about the area. We have great hopes that this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the Outreach program, and that the example these volunteer set will encourage greater member participation in promoting NANFA and its goals.
The summer was relatively active with lots of collecting trips and outdoor activities, and everywhere the NANFA folks are involved, more people become aware of the work we do.
Bob Bock (Maryland) led a field trip to the Chester River area of Queen Anne's County. The trip included instruction on collecting techniques (seining, dipnetting and angling). Bob always stresses habitat protection. He cautions his group that only the most abundant species like sunfishes or channel catfish should be taken, and that less abundant or threatened species simply be observed, photographed and released. Bob's approach to collecting and promoting conservation is the best advertisement for NANFA, and embodies our principals in a real-life experience.
Ray Wolff (Wisconsin) reports on extensive activities in his region. The Central Wisconsin Aquarium Society (CWAS) held its annual collecting trip in July, this year near Stevens Point in the center of the state. The outing included canoeing, collecting, swimming, and picnicking. The Wisconsin Area Killifish Organization also held its annual collecting/picnic event in July, this year at the Muckwanago River, a shallow crystal clear river that offers light fishing and collecting. Ray is scheduled to speak at the WAKO convention in November on the subject of keeping killies (mostly North American ones) indoors and out. The WAKO show and auction features a very good selection of North American killies.
Todd Crail (Ohio) reports that NANFA helped lead seining demonstrations at the Rocky River Festival in the Cleveland. Participants were taken to the Rocky River site where NANFA members displayed and discussed the fishes caught. There were perhaps 100 people, half of whom were children. Eighteen species were seen, among which was one very gentle northern hog sucker that allowed the children to get up close and personal.
On October 9th and 10th, Ohio NANFA ran a "Fall Colors" sample of one of Ohio's most bio-diverse streams, the stream of the Central Till Plains flowing into the Scioto River. While a good proportion of folks were NANFA members, there were also many potential "recruits" from the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.
Lastly, the Central Florida Region conducted its first "Spring Swing," a two-day collecting trip to the Florida panhandle that began just east of the Alabama border and ended south of Tallahassee. Twenty-two people, mostly NANFA members (four from the Midwest and the rest from the Southeast) attended. The group consisted of rookies and old hands alike, always a good combination. Two parties were formed and each fished different areas in roughly the same region each day. Among the highlights was a wonderful site that featured nicely colored Fundulus blairae and large, robust Fundulus olivaceus. Dozens of species, too numerous to name, were collected and photographed. The intervening evening was taken up with photo and identification sessions, swapping stories, and planning for the next day. A wonderful time was had by all. A host of new sites were fished, and these will be included in the upcoming revision to the Florida Collecting Guide, published by the Central Florida Region together with the Suncoast Killifish Society and the Tampa Bay Aquarium Society.
We all look forward to an active fall, and the continued vitality of the Outreach program.