> as for me...
> i always enjoyed playing in creeks as a boy, looking for crayfish and
> fish however seemed pretty boring, and i did not think much of my friends
> tropical aquariums. blah blah... i like that skeleton w/ a bopping skull.
> was more into the woods, hunting, hiking, boy scouts, camping and
> i always enjoyed seeing animals, insects, snakes, lizards and such.
> over logs for bugs and stuff.
> when my son was about 5 connie brought home a goldfish from a fair or
> something in a little jar. well that did not seem like a good place to be
> living so i proceeded to set up and decorate an old 5 gallon water bottle.
> then to the creek for a crayfish or something as a roommate. we were
> found snails and bugs and slimy things. to the pet store a few times
> pretty, interesting fish... all dying in a few weeks... but the goldfish
> still hanging in. all the snails died... then i realized a decorative
> encrusted rock was killing them. back to the store. dragonflys hatching
> in the living room. then i burned out my friends water pump cause it got
> clogged w/ leaves. everything died again but the goldfish.
> i started looking in creeks more, my fish shop purchases were not working
> to well and i didnt know anything about them. one of the first fish i
> was a sculpin... a strange looking thing. i looked and looked in the
> field guide and was finally convinced i had caught a endangered snail
> ( take a look at that picture... it still kinda does :). i was glad to
> david etnier make a comment like that when he first caught one so i dont
> to stupid.
> about that time the tennessee aquarium offered a conasauga snorkling
> well that sounded interesting ( as i had scuba-ed the virgin islands and
> snorkled the keys when i was a bit younger ). after 2 attempts standing
> parking lot waiting and having it called off cause of the rain i requested
> directions for myself. drove over and jumped in... blown away. incredible.
> never felt the cold i was so amazed... adrenalized, hyperized. i had sat
> hours w/ my dad squirrel or deer hunting... bored stiff. here i stuck my
> in the water and life was everywhere. turtles, fish, darters... clouds of
> minnows, big crayfish... alive! but i could not find anyone to go with me
> help me know what i was seeing or even share in the excitment. fish store
> people would just wag their finger at me... illegal, you cant keep fish,
> that back where you got it, etc. discovering the internet i found a site
> aol about native fish... allright! i was able to ask questions. then i
> to the library and found john quinn's book! what a book! and then a fellow
> told me about nanfa. the rest is an ongoing history. never boring,
> interesting people, new experiences, traveling and exploring. new species.
> better aquarium management... tho im getting more and more keen on just
> observing, perhaps photography will be my direction. it is impossible to
> replicate in a little tank of water what i experience in the tellico or
> conasauga... or even the little stream flowing down thru the neighborhood.
> have extremely enjoyed this opportunity to experience god's creation. it
> glorius wonder. and i do see our mankinds impact on it. much concern. i
> most of us try to share this with our friends, neighbors and coworkers. we
> have to care for our world, keep it clean. i have seen some scary stuff...
> some people just dont care. streams are still dump sites. but i have also
> seen people learning and appreciating. that excites me and gives me hope.
> for those interested i would urge you to pursue wildlife management people
> university biology departments. ive been able to participate in a lot of
> surveys w/ people like those. for 3 years i was able to help document all
> fish found in chattanooga city limits urban streams. this is an activity
> can really speed up your knowledge acquiral. they love to have people
> who are fired up and interested and can use the extra help. ive been on
> electro shocking up big gars, drums and catfish. ive been in little creeks
> where we found red bellied dace and extended their range. ive been back in
> caves catching blind cavefish for permitted research. everywhere i go i
> my mask and snorkle. when it is so hot all you want to do is stay inside
> the airconditioner... grab your mask and head to some real liquid air
> conditioner and spirit rejuvenator!
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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