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Re: NFC: Adopt-A-Tank fine tuning

Tony wrote:

> It could just be a time factor as well. Most schools are getting ready
> to shut down for the summer (if they haven't already done so), and the
> nature centers I have approached have schedules that would make a
> military commander blanch. My eagerness to see some projects start up
> has led to a certain degree of impatience on my part, but I do not want
> to turn off prospective project supporters through constant pestering. I
> think by showing them that the NFC is always there to help will
> eventually lead to more positive responses.

This isn't the time of year to start new tanks, but it is an excellent
time of year to plant the seed that you will sow in the fall.  Get
educators thinking about it now, and actually doing it in september.  If
you wait much longer than that it will be too cold in many areas to go
collecting to stock the tank.

> There are a lot of ways in which the program can be utilized, and it was
> written in a way that attempts to make that fact known. I think it is
> important to make it known that NFC does not intend to control the
> adopt-a-tank projects, just be there on a continual basis to provide
> support in any way it can. Ideally, the projects should eventualy be
> self sufficient and NFC's importance as a resource should not be
> overlooked.

It would be most informative to hear the perspective of some of the
people who expressed interest early on and later went cold to it.  As an
enthusiast, I would personally prefer something like the current model. 
Having worked with educators (when I worked in a pet shop) to set up
tanks, my experience has been that they want something packaged for
them.  I even recall being asked if I knew of any pre-packaged lesson
plans about fish.  In any case, we can only speculate how the educators
are seeing the current presentation.

> However, should anyone see parts of the adopt-a-tank protocol that they
> think should be emphasized more (or less) or changed in any way, by all
> means, please make your thoughts known for discussion. Every little bit
> will help the future success of the program.

While it isn't necessarily steering the direction of Adopt-a-Tank, might
it be valuable to package a few lesson plans for teachers of different
age groups to use the tank as a teaching tool more effectively?  Most
teachers probably don't know any more about native fishes than the
average Joe citizen and might appreciate some of their "homework" being
done for them.

> Could be in some cases, but the program has really only been around for
> a month or two. 

Wow, really?

> But perhaps you're right, maybe more attention from NFC
> will help get things rolling. I think once more projects and their
> accomplishments are made visible on the web site, greater interest will
> follow.

Not only on the web site, but in the media.  Local news shows love to
put the occaisional public service story on the air, to help lighten
people up after delivering all the bad news of the day.  Invite camera
crews and journalists on collection trips.  Or when the teacher is doing
a lesson plan maybe.  Getting the TV news to cover it would be more of a
challenge but getting someone from the local paper to come out should be

And I do like that we're offering educators the use of our web site for
Adopt-A-Tank purposes.  This helps them and us both.

I'd like to revisit an idea I put out on the table a few weeks ago. 
What do you think of the idea of making an Adopt-A-Tank video? 
Something that shows how to set the tank up, how to collect fish, how to
care for the tank, and finally some information about the different
families of fish that live in the U.S.?  I don't have anything very
fancy but I have a camcorder and could certainly videotape the setup of
one tank and also just some background footage for splicing in later of
local rivers and lakes.  I don't really have the facilities to splice
the footage into a logical format or narrate over the video footage.  If
anyone wants to do this kind of "post production" stuff I can send a
video of the tank setup and some outdoor footage.  Someone with an
established fish collection would need to do the overview of native fish
families.  Anyone interested?  Such a tape could be adapted for use
beyond Adopt-A-Tank.  Maybe it could be used for aquarium society
presentations, or who knows.

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