Re: NANFA-- Natives in the class room

Dave Neely (
Wed, 13 Sep 2000 19:00:27 CDT

Lots of areas have programs which get kids (both at the elementary, high
school, and college level) out in the field. There are at least three labs
in MD and VA which have frequent hands-on trips on the Chesapeake Bay for
school groups. Here in AL, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is constantly running
school groups out on trawling trips, and has a decent educational program.

During elementary and high school, I thought I wanted to be a fisheries
biologist. The biology classes were tolerable, but served as a means to an
end. Early in my undergrad career, I discovered that fisheries folks are
actually "people managers," and became somewhat disenchanted. The semester I
was tossing around the idea of becoming a rafting/flyfishing guide, I took a
happened to take a general ecology class, and there discovered the wonder of
nongame fishes! salamanders! small mammals! invertebrates! Wow! I took an
ichthyology class the next semester, and it's all been downhill from
there... credit cards maxed out from buying fish books, cars ragged out from
driving all over the country collecting fishes, buying more bloodworms/week
than groceries, etc. Look what ichthyology has done for others: Copeland
drowned, Rafinesque died destitute and slightly crazy, Cope died destitute
and alone (with syphillus), Jordan became a college president (yeech!),
Hubbs got kicked out of UM for 'nocturnal ornithology,' etc... Somewhere I
hear they are starting a 12-step program for recovering ichthyophiles. Don't
start that evil downward slide! Run away while you still have a chance and
become a doctor or lawyer or something useful to society...


>You kids should see if you can turn your teachers on to this interest. >See
>if you can tour them through nanfa's web page and the many links. When I
>was in school, we rarely went out into the field, and that is >why I found
>biology to be a bore! By going out in streams, on the other >hand, allows
>one to get an appreciation for all of nature that is not >really possible
>in the classroom... You will just absorb everything and >obtain an
>appreciation that will want to keep you learning more..... >Rob C.

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