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"Jay DeLong" <jdelong at nwifc_wa.gov>: Re: NANFA-- Education Mission/Introductions/Philosophy

--------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: "Jay DeLong" <jdelong at nwifc_wa.gov>
To: nanfa at aquaria_net, bondhus at lkdllink_net,
ocarroll at trc_rwcp.or.jp,weefish at Alaska_NET
Subject: Re: NANFA-- Education Mission/Introductions/Philosophy
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 22:21:06 +0000
Message-ID: <199711110623.WAA10038 at chinook_nwifc.wa.gov>

Mark Binkley said:
> I have enjoyed reading the recent comments on promoting NA fish
> keeping and the dangers of introducing or reintroducing fishes
> artificially.
> Based on what everyone has said, I think NANFA, in it's current
> manifestation, can have the most impact as a vehicle for education
> and public awareness of these issues. 

I am 100% in agreement with Mark on this (and not just because he and
I tromped through the same streams in Ohio either!).  I've always felt
NANFA's primary role should be an educational one, because NANFA's
purpose/mission as it exists now is this: ".to bring together
professional and amateur aquarists, educators, students, fishers, fish
and wildlife officials, and researchers-- anyone with an interest in
the conservation, collection, study, and aquaristic appreciation of
the native fishes of North America; and to assemble and distribute
information on native fishes." 

This is no small task, but each of us can do something.  American
Currents and Darter are priceless as educational tools.  We're lucky
to have Bob Bock, Chris Scharpf, Konrad Schmidt and all the writers 
of AC articles.  I'm a real fan of these folks.  Equally valuable are 
the aquarium magazine articles written by our members.  These 
articles educate an audience outside of NANFA. Recently Robert Rice 
and Bob Bock have each had several articles printed.  The thing I 
admire most about Robert Rice is his genuine desire to motivate 
people to do things for our fishes; to invite people to look into the 
unseen world in their backyard stream or pond.   Most of us share 
these same sentiments but often we just spin our wheels because we 
don't have clearly-defined goals, or because we don't have a unified 
approach to issues.

> New members and new e-mail list subscribers (these are not always
> mutually inclusive) could be sent materials (paper and digital) that
> lay out NANFA's point of view on these important questions and
> provide some introduction to the philosophy and practicality of
> keeping NA natives.  

Yes, yes!  Also, our regional coordinator and regional representatives
need better support and direction than they presently receive.

> I think most of us
> would be in agreement about what things are true and important for
> the uninitiated or forgetful.  Let's make it clear from the
> beginning, by direct communication, that introduction,
> reintroduction and relocation of fishes by hobbyists is taboo and
> destructive to the very species we enjoy. This point is NOT commonly
> understood by aquarists or the general public.

Great!  Let's also give them alternatives to release (donating to pet
stores or schools, euthanisia, etc).  There's a lot of information
available on this, and I know people reading this have valuable 
insight, too.

> And let's make new people fully aware and clear on what NANFA's
> mission(s) and purpose(s) is/are.

A Mission Statement is crucial in my opinion.  I've been thinking
about this for a long time now (as some of you know).  I sense that
many of you also feel that we need to define our goals and beliefs.

> Let's have some ideas about how to reach the world audience with the
> NANFA message- "Protect and cherish your native species and enjoy
> others' responsibly".
> I am excited about working on this project 

Me, too.  Is this NANFA email group the proper forum in which to 
carry on these discussions?

Here is a message I'd like to leave you with: "In the end, we will 
conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We 
will understand only what we are taught." (Baba Dioum, 1968)

Jay DeLong

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