Re: NANFA-L-- RE: NANFA-- Next Convention? really long-winded

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- RE: NANFA-- Next Convention? really long-winded
From: Al G Eaton (
Date: Wed Aug 11 2004 - 19:43:45 CDT

I have immensely enjoyed every convention I've
attended and have attended every year since the
Champaign convention except the one in MI where I was
indisposed and could not go. Every year's convention
seems to get better and better. I truly enjoyed the
format used by Chip and Dustin. Collect on Friday ,
speakers on Saturday, and collect/socialize and wind
down on sunday. I like the idea of a local aquatic
institution being involved. Both Mississippi and SC
made the experience a lot more personal by opening the
doors and providing tours of their collections. Each
show was notable for something. Mississippi had more
publications for natives for sale in the auction than
I have ever seen in my life. Champaign had speakers
with the most handouts. Ohio gave away a great
mini-book on its aquatic ecosystems and attendees were
able to stay in state park cabins. SC had a mulitude
of places to go tromp around in, and the dinner held
at the aquarium, was truly unique. I wondered how it
would work with cramped tables, some really awful
views of the speakers lecturn, but it all worked out
to great advantage, winning an auction was like hiking
down a bank and back to get a prize and then sit down
again. Dinner attendees, who had only a passing or
no interest in fish had a corner they were able to
disappear into and entertain themselves. And dinner,
how cool to dine and look up and see nautilus's
cavorting about their tank.

Things that can be improved (yes there are always a
few and these should not be taken as criticisms as
they are not intended as such:-)

1) I think its important for artwork,novelties, and
other auction items to be on display prior to the
auction. Mississippi did the best job there and I
salivated over the welaka carving (yes JG im still
kicking myself for not winning that one lol )

2) More collecting guides. There always seem to be
not enough people leading trips and too many people on
the trips. I toured some of the places groups had
been the day before, and it looked like a herd of
cattle had grazed and watered there. Heh, I did it
too!!!! EG SC had four trips to go on, = four
guides, a ton of people and a ton of vehicles. This
became really problematic in the mountains when part
of the group got lost and could not call each other
because of lack of phone service.
In my case the first location wore me out( I know im
still wimpy) the location was wonderful, but really
very small. There was a narrow sandy middle, knee
deep mud plain on one side and knee deep leaflitter on
the other side. Fifteen people descending on such a
small area beat the heck out of the habitiat,
instantly dirtied the water and made it more like
slogging than collecting. Once again smaller rather
than larger would work better.

3 Fish rush fever. I carefully listened to the
enthusiastic talk from all the groups as they returned
from their trips and I was struck by what appeared to
be a lack of collecting netiquette so to speak. I
heard stories where people abandoned their children
for other people to watch, stories were people grabbed
whatever fish came up in a seine, even though they
didnt do the seining, and then when their buckets were
filled returned to their vehicle and didnt offer to
help the collector fill his. Even though this
happened, I have to say I never saw so many groups
willing to share their bounty with people on other
trips. On our trip Dan and Dustin made sure each and
every one of us got the fish we wanted and split up
their catch with us until we were satisfied. Bill
Flowers kindly caught chrysotus, variegatus and
mummichugs for me. I think nettiquette can be
improved mainly by awareness and by having smaller
groups. Unsupervised children are a danger to
themselves and the others. Of course taking
responsibility for your kids is paramount, but what
when it doesnt happen? I would-in-the very least like
 to see the really young children wearing a flotation

In summary here are my thoughts"

1)Involve your local institution or intitutions.
2) Display auction items before the auction
3) Have several guides for the trips to keep the
numbers small
4) Bring back fish to share with other groups
5) Help your fellow collector collect fish and split
up whats caught
6) Take responsibility for your kids.
7) People to lead groups don't have to live there!
For example in my case im comfortable leading a group
in the ozarks even though I live in Ohio. I could
do the same in-in-least a dozen states, and there are
many nanfa members even more qualified.
8) you dont need a lot of money to put this on,
pre-registration gives you cash flow.
9) If you put it on we will come :-)
10) Try to have a mix of speakers and some handouts, I
personally would like to see some of the advanced
hobbyists give a talk as well as scientists.

--- "Wagner, Brian K." <>

> For better or worse, I have agreed to host the 2005
> convention. I'm looking-in-locations near Little
> Rock, AR, so there could be collecting trips in to
> the Ozarks, the Ouachita Mountains, the upper
> coastal plain, and the Mississippi delta - the 4
> major ecoregions in Arkansas. I am still trying to
> pull together the details to propose to BOD, so I
> would welcome input from the list. Particularly I'd
> like to know species/areas you'd like to collect,
> characteristics you'd like to see in the hotel and
> event venues, and your feeling on dates for the
> convention.
> Thanks,
> Brian Wagner

In the Millcreek Watershed
When we turn off the lights it glows.

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: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 12:24:19 CDT