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Re: NFC: Re: THE LIST/survey

robert a rice wrote:

> We agree there...I have recently put our website on 100's of search
> engines and I recently faxed out a press release about the nFC to 130 +
> outdoor magazines but we need to do more. Anyone got any ideas to get the
> word out  let the list know !!!! We do have a limited budget but do have
> some funds avaliable for outreach !

Oh boy have you asked for it.  Here it comes.  :-)  Just please keep in
mind that everything I am going to say here is mostly to light a spark
and hopefully some of y'all will feel the urge to fan the flames and get

Well one of the best ways, and possibly the cheapest, is CHILDREN.

If a regional group got together and put together a 30 minute video
about the wildlife in the local watershed, touching on the niches each
species fills, you can bet the public school teachers will devote a
class day to the viewing of such a tape.  Don't get into it too deeply,
but definitely give kids an impression about what is living in their own
back yards.  I like the idea of filming these regionally because it gets
the kids fired up and some will be excited to know that the pretty
rainbow darters live in the creek that flows through their back yards.

Many parents enroll their children in educational fishing camps.  I know
I participated in an annual fishing camp one weekend a year for every
year until I was seventeen.  Lots of fishing was getting done, and the
kids also participated in seminars.  The last several years I was there
I helped my grandfather teach a class on saltwater fishing & seasickness
prevention.  We probably hit about 75 kids per year who enrolled in our
class.  Generally I think they put the instructors up for free so it is
a great opportunity for a cheap fishing trip, and to spend half the day
saturday with many young minds being filled with whatever you put in
front of them.  Standing up in front of the kids for one hour with a few
tanks set up and maybe a slide show will open a new world for them.

How about setting up a tank at the local museum and having a volunteer
come by once a week to maintain it and replenish brochures provided next
to the tank?

One thing that would be really nice is starting to build a video
library.  Not necessarily a professional production, but a series of
tapes to show people first how to set up an aquarium for natives, and
then maybe other tapes about how to collect fish, about conservation
issues and ethics, maybe in-depth tapes on individual families of
fishes.  I think it would be important to allow and even encourage
people to copy these tapes and provide copies to friends.  Look what
such a free-use license has done for the Linux operating system, which
is now the most common operating system found on machines permanantly
attached to the Internet.  The master tapes should be stored centrally,
and first generation copies provided to every region at cost.

The NFC has a tremendous library of articles and caresheets on the web
site.  I think these can probably be dressed up a little prettier with
one or two photos per sheet.  Then try to talk to the local pet shop
about carrying one of the hardier and more colorful native species and
provide free care sheets for each one.  Make the first batch of fishes
free because *when* they sell, he's going to want to have more.  But it
won't be much of a risk to him if you make the first batch risk free by
making the fish free (INITIALLY).  Just try not to include too much in
these printed articles about how to CAPTURE fish because this might come
off as a bit threatening to a pet shop that is in the business of

Aquarium societies are always in need of speakers.  This is a great
opportunity to focus on a group of adults (and kids) who really
understand and care about fish issues and in most cases probably don't
know a dace from a darter.

Sometimes larger pet shops will do seminars.  The program prepared for
an aquarium society would work pretty well at a large pet shop too. 
Work with the proprieter to have some of the highlightes species
available for sale after the presentation.

Can the regional groups try to work with the local news channels to put
together a 60 second piece on native fishes in the local viewing area? 
You really have to light the audience on fire with it but I would guess
in many areas this would be possible.

Or an article submitted to the local paper?  Maybe a short series
highlighting natives?

I think there should be a stronger push to get more prominent linkage on
the big aquarium sites.  If there is a little money available, a banner
ad campaign wouldn't hurt.  Banner ads generally cost a LOT LESS than
you might think.  In preparation for something like this, the site could
stand for a bit of a facelift.  Spell check everything.  Spice up the
visual appeal of the articles (while well written, the formatting leaves
a bit to be desired).  Include photos of the species in question in each
article.  And from the front page, make prominent links to pages for
newcomers to read.  These few pages should have high visual appeal and
assume a short attention span to "hook" the reader.

I wonder if there is a way for the NFC to piggyback on events revolving
around game fish events or fish stocking days.

And along the same vain, how about submitting some articles to the game
fishing magazines to highlight some of the important non-game species
that are vital to the survival of game fishes or that may otherwise
enhance the life of game fishes.  Robert, the article you posted today
about how you revitalized your pond is a great example of the kind of
thing that many sport fisherman may be interested in reading.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, folks.  I don't know a lot about
the NFC (just found it a few days ago) and I probably would have known
about y'all a lot sooner if some of the above suggestions were part of
"business as usual".  A very important factor for groups such as the
NFC, I think, is to make a daily effort to be extroverted and
inclusive.  Reach out to new people, and include them in the the group's
goals.  Make newbies feel like they have something to contribute.  Don't
brush off people who don't know the first thing about North American
non-game fishes.

I'll shut up now.  I hope this helps bring about more detailed plans for


Chris Hedemark
Email: chris at yonderway_com   ICQ: 28986378
Rural Living at Yonder Way - http://www.yonderway.com/rural