Reaching Out: Notes from NANFA's Regional Outreach Program - Winter 2005

By Charlie Nunziata
NANFA Regional Outreach Program Coordinator

Except for our most southern regions, winter is the slowest time for outside activities. It is more of a time for planning ongoing activities, and to consider what new opportunities may arise in the coming year. We had a very active and productive 2004, and expect to continue the steady growth of the Outreach Program in 2005. Our major goals include expanding our volunteer corps so that every significant region has a representative, and to see our fledging Contact program realize its potential. We also hope to see our regions organize new annual events and strengthen their ties to local aquatic and conservation-oriented groups.

    We wish to welcome our newest regional representative, Scott Schlueter, who will handle the northern and western counties of upstate New York. Please join me in thanking Scott for volunteering his time in representing NANFA. Scott can be reached at:

    Jenny Kruckenberg, our active Minnesota representative, is preparing for her region's annual spring collecting trip. Jenny reports: "I'll be filing my '04 collection report for with the DNR officials by the end of this month to ensure that we're issued a permit for May '05. I don't anticipate requesting any changes to the permit for this upcoming year. I hope more NANFA members join us streamside! I'll be in contact with them via email or snail-mail during mid April to let them know the details." Every year, Jenny gives our upper Midwest members a great opportunity to sample the native fauna of Minnesota. If interested, contact Jenny at

    Peter Unmack has led yet another Ash Meadows trip to help rid the habitat of exotic fishes. He reports: "The Ash Meadows trip was another great success with our attendees having a great time. Attendance was a little smaller this trip, but it worked out great with us splitting into three groups and fanning out across Ash Meadows setting traps and pulling cattails. The weather was perfect on Friday, while it got a little windier on Saturday. Friday night Ellen Siegal cooked a delightful meal with some extra goodies provided by Kaz Webster. The refuge staff joined us for dinner too. Pictures from the trip are available online at .

    "A total of 2837 exotics were removed. The break down of that number is 1532 Gambusia, 389 mollies, 81 convict cichlids, 313 crayfish, 520 bullfrog tadpoles, and two adult bullfrogs.

    "All in all, exotic populations were down a little bit (refuge staff have been working at trapping more regularly). Most of the spring pools we have worked on regularly remained free of cattail, while Fairbanks Pool needed about a dozen plants pulled. We also did some additional clean up of cattails at Kings Pool. We look forward to seeing everyone again in the spring on our next trip!"

    This ongoing and productive effort demonstrates one of the many ways that NANFA members, through their actions, promote the essential tenets of our organization. Peter's efforts to rid the desert habitat of exotic fishes are worthy of all our support. Join the effort, and, as an extra bonus, enjoy the satisfaction that comes from participating in a good cause.

    Members of the Central Florida Region recently collected at the Avon Park Bombing range, a U.S. Air Force facility, and will donate much of the catch to the Hillsboro County Parks Department for a pond education project in Tampa. After collecting was finished, we checked in at the U. S. Wildlife office at the range and were asked to repopulate and redecorate their display tank with some of the fish and plants we collected.

    The Hillsboro project is more extensive. In addition to stocking the pond, we will also supply color posters that summarize the local native fishes, emphasize conservation, and relate the importance of the public's role in habitat protection. We also plan to provide informational pamphlets for visitors to take with them. All of this material as well as the pond signage will (of course) include references to NANFA, its web page, and membership information.

    NANFA will once again have a photographic and tank display featuring local native fishes at the annual Florida State Fair in February. The "NANFA story," along with membership forms, contact information, and conservation information are prominent in the display. This is our fourth year at the fair, and although specific walk-by attendance statistics are not kept at the Community Center building where the display is located, this building sees several thousand visitors during the fair. Last year, more than 200 informational pamphlets were taken, and we hope to do better this year.

Spring is coming, and it is going to be a great year for NANFA and the Outreach Program.

© 2005 North American Native Fishes Association