A few words can paint a beautiful picture as did your response to Jay!
From: Shireen Gonzaga <whimbrel_at_home.com>
To: nanfa_at_aquaria.net <nanfa at aquaria.net>
Date: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 5:25 PM
Subject: RE: NANFA-- bleak news for fish lovers
>> From: "Jay DeLong" <thirdwind_at_att.net>
>> What do you think NANFA should do as an organization?
>> NANFA is a small organization and these issues are very
>> complex. Outside of NANFA, I think we need to instill a
>> scientifically-based environmental ethic in our children.
>> Start at home, take it to the schools, and support
>> environmental organizations everywhere.
>A suggestion. Take a local school under your wing.
>Sponsor a school aquarium program, where you and
>a school could work in partnership to apply for a small
>education grant from a fish club, conservation group,
>or PTA.Or if you have the means, fund it yourself;
>fork out your own cash or donate one of your aquariums.
>(We're only talking about $150-$200 for a decent
>But don't stop there. Maintain the tank for the school.
>Talk to kids when they come up to find out what you're
>doing. Put the word out to teachers that you're a resource
>for fish information. Collect fun stuff, like posters,
>buttons, collecting cards, books, website links, etc. for
>the librarian and teachers.
>Create displays to educate the kids about fish: it can be
>as simple as "identify those fish," to deeper environmental
>lessons. Make up occasional handouts with amazing fish
>facts. Have fish drawing/painting/sculpting competitions.
>Use your imagination. It's fun.
>Very often, when we wonder aloud "what can I do?" it
>becomes so overwhelming that we back off. The problem
>is enormous. But to truly make a change, it has to be done
>at a grassroots level and we need to support each other.
>It takes one person to infect others, and that's how the
>awareness spreads. But you're probably thinking, "where
>will I find the time?" Good question. There are so many
>demands on our time that we're lucky if we get a good
>In reality, adopting a school isn't that much work. Here's
>how I did it for my neighborhood elementary school.
>I took a day off from work and spent the entire day buying
>supplies to refurbish their old set-up, started from scratch
>setting-up the aquarium, and briefed the librarian on basic
>day-to-day maintenance like feeding, algae control, and
>removing dead fish. I also made sure she could contact me
>at anytime in the event of a problem. For the first couple of
>weeks, I stopped in every few days to make sure the tank
>cycling was going well. Since then, I've been stopping in
>every 2-3 weeks for water changes, fish health checks,
>checking tank supplies, and trimming plants--this only takes
>45m-1hr at the most. It's does not make a big dent in my
>very busy life, and the results have been amazing.
>The tank is spectacular! It is extremely low maintenance,
>clean, vibrant and lush with live plants and have healthy fish.
>We decided to do tropical fish for logistical reasons. If you
>want to do native fish, be sure it's not a demanding species
>so day-to-day maintenance is kept simple--school staff are
>already overworked, all they should have to do is feed the fish
>and occasionally scrape algae off the tank glass.
>The kids love it. I've been told that it's the first stop whenever
>they come to the library. I had one kid with Down's Syndrome
>help me with water changes last month. His reaction to the
>whole experience was such an undescribable joy that left me
>walking on air for the rest of the day! There's a real opportunity
>here to reach all sorts of kids, to teach them about caring
>responsibly for fish and extrapolating those lessons to caring
>for their environment.
>If tank maintenance is not your forte, there are other things to
>do, like creating free software (electronic fish picturebooks,
>interactive fish quizzes, web pages). If you're an artist, spend
>time teaching them how to draw and paint aquatic life. If you
>like wading in the muck, lead field trips. If you like singing,
>make up funny songs (like The Nature Nut does!) and
>entertain the kids. Use your imagination and have fun with it.
>If anyone is interested in *doing* something, or has other ideas
>about science and environmental education, I'd love to hear from
>you. If there is enough interest, we could set up a separate listserver
>to specifically discuss practical fish and environmental education
>techniques and share ideas to make each others work more
>enriching and efficient. (This is not a criticism of the NANFA
>list--it has a wide scope, and science/environmental education is
>not a topic that interests everyone.)
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/----------------------------------------------------------------------------- /"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily / reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes / Association" / This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association / nanfa_at_aquaria.net. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word / subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to / nanfa-request_at_aquaria.net. For a digest version, send the command to / nanfa-digest-request_at_aquaria.net instead. / For more information about NANFA, visit our web page, http://www.nanfa.org