Huntsville, AL, US of A
President's Report, Fall 2001
801 Wells Ave., Huntsville, AL 35801
NANFA continues to grow and strengthen its activities, and that's our own
small piece of good news. I'm sure everyone's preoccupied with events
flowing from the September 11 attacks. The issues we all care about in NANFA
such as protecting native fishes and habitats can seem smaller than they
recently were. Even with the large shadow cast by recent events I hope we
can move forward with our interests and contribute in part to a brighter
NANFA Awards Over $1300 in Education Grants
The latest Gerald Corcoran Education Grant recipients have been
announced. This NANFA program is designed to support public education about
our aquatic natural heritage through projects involving NANFA members.
Thanks to generous support from the Corcoran family as well as NANFA
funding, the review committee was able to make awards to two proposals. One
recipient is the Tierra Mojada Environmental Research Center (TMERC) in
Tucson, Arizona. The TMERC is the outgrowth of a project by students and
faculty at Palo Verde High School to construct a wetland representative of
the kind formerly found in their area. This successful construction now
supports populations of longfin dace, Gila chub, desert pupfish and Gila
topminnow (the latter two are federally endangered). TMERC will use the
grant money to install a remote-operated video camera underwater in the
wetland so that the behavior of its fishes can be both studied and
displayed, and to educate local groups about this ecosystem.
The other grant recipient is Teens Promoting Native Fish Awareness and
Conservation Through Research and Teaching, a special project of the Natural
Resources Action Team at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North
Carolina. This group of teens under the direction of NANFA member Chad
Hallyburton plans to carry out research on local stream systems, and also to
develop a "Science-on-a-Cart" activity to explain the importance of local
streams to museum visitors.
Both of these projects are exciting because they are aimed at involving
teenagers in learning about local environmental issues, with the important
aim of encouraging these same teens to explain their discoveries to other
members of their communities. From what I have heard about the namesake of
this grants program, Gerald Corcoran, he would be favorably impressed with
these two projects based on his experience at a museum in Mississippi. This
is an annual program, so I hope we can find other high-quality projects to
fund in the next grant cycle.
Many thanks to the grant review committee consisting of Jay DeLong
(chair), Maureen Corcoran, Rob Denkhaus, Neil H. Douglas, and Jan Hoover.
This Year's Convention . . . and Next
I was lucky enough to attend this year's convention in Hocking Hills
State Park in Ohio. This beautiful and unusual setting was perfect for our
meeting. Rob Carillio, Michael Wolfe, Mark Binkley, and other Ohio members
put together a varied program of interesting speakers and collecting trips.
Where else could you find out Nick Zarlinga's secrets for building resin
habitats for Cleveland Zoo displays, or watch Ohio DNR biologist Roger
Thoma's videos on fish sex and crayfish into the night? And of course,
hanging out with and meeting NANFA members is always a thrill. Among others,
this year I met for the first time NANFA founder John Bondhus from
Minnesota, soon-to-be NANFA Board member Rob Denkhaus from Texas, and Mark
Otnes who braves the waters of North Dakota and Minnesota on his snorkeling
explorations. Also, three North American fish enthusiasts from England were
at the convention. Last seen, they were trying to figure out how to safely
transport a live gar back to England with them on the plane. Apparently, all
four made it safely.
Next year's convention will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosted by Leo
Long and Bob Muller. They've tentatively lined up an interesting list of
speakers, and hope to be able to sponsor a seining visit to Lake Erie using
a large net that needs dozens of people pulling. I can only imagine . . .
streams in my Tennessee Valley region rarely need more than three people for
successful hauls! More information on the Michigan meeting will become
available over the winter.
The Breeders Award Program
Speaking of Bob Muller, he is the chair of a new NANFA program, the
Breeders Award Program (BAP). The BAP is an idea that's been slowly coming
together in several peoples' minds for a while. One of NANFA's goals is to
increase and disseminate knowledge of native fishes. Through BAP we want to
encourage the study of natives' breeding behaviors and spawning protocols,
many of which are poorly known. This kind of information is often critical
to successful conservation programs such as the population rebuilding of the
endangered boulder darter (Etheostoma wapiti) in the Elk River of Tennessee
Our BAP wants to encourage members not only to successfully spawn and
rear various natives, but most importantly to keep track of what worked for
spawning and submit a short written report or fill in a form with this
information. This is the surest way to pass this information on to someone
who may need it at a later date. Bob and the other members of the BAP team
(Mark Binkley, Ray Wolff, Norm Edelen and Todd Crail with help from B.G.
Granier and J.R. Shute) have devised a points system for the recognition of
successful breeders, especially those who are able to fully document their
work. For formal recognition of breeders' accomplishments, award
certificates have been designed featuring the illustrations of Emily
Damstra. You can see Emily's rainbow darter and some of her other
scientific artwork at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~damstra/index.html .
She is illustrating Gerald Smith's rewrite of _Fishes of the Great Lakes
Complete details on the Breeders Award Program?rules, points, report
form?are given in the Fall 2001 American Currents and will be available on
the NANFA website soon.
NANFA's New Look Website
Information on NANFA activities (and I think anything about NANFA) can
be found on our website at www.nanfa.org. This site has been capably managed
by Jay DeLong for several years. Jay has recently redesigned the site so
that it's now even easier to navigate and find what you're looking for. In
particular, many photos of the Hocking Hills convention can be found there
(if you're wondering what other NANFA members look like).
NANFA Receives Federal Non-Profit Status
Finally, NANFA has achieved one feat of organization that has been
hanging over our heads since the 70s: we are now a non-profit, federally
tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the IRS. Bob Bock and my
humble self figured out our previous status and made the moves so that we
became a non-profit corporation in the state of Maryland, and then filed for
the above-mentioned IRS recognition. This was also with the help and advice
of other members of the Board of Directors and officers, especially Chris
Scharpf and treasurer Stephanie Scharpf. This is an important accomplishment
for NANFA, since all future gifts to us are now tax-deductible and our tax
liability is much reduced. I hope that we can take full advantage of this
status in the near future.
It will be at least cool everywhere by the time you read this. I hope
you're able to get outside and streamside over the winter; don't let cabin
fever get you!
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