Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Help Plug a Leak in the Ark

I'll be danged...There're my friends right there in the latest issue of National Geographic!
One of my favorite do-gooder projects is the small work I get to do with the folks at Conservation Fisheries, located across the street from the Knoxville campus of Pellissippi State College. These folks toil away, for salaries a teacher wouldn't work for, in relative obscurity doing the work they love and feel called to do...Saving fish species.

It's fascinating to walk around their facility and realize that for some of the most beautiful creatures in our world, this is their last best hope for survival. It may seem to the unknowing that losing a species is no big deal. There's lots of others, right? Well, no. There are fewer and fewer species on this planet and it's our fault. We never know which one is the critical straw that will crash an ecosystem by it's disappearance. Nor do we know which species holds the cure for a dread disease, or even, as one day may be the case, the key to humankind's survival.

The Fish species that Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI) work with live in Tennessee's streams and rivers, and they are having a tough time getting by. Of the 4,000 or so Boulder Darters left in the whole world, 15% of them are given life by the aquariums of CFI in Knoxville. Of the less than 6000 Yellowfin Madtoms, a fascinating tiny catfish looking beastie, about the same percentage survive in the tanks that are painstakingly maintained in the ordinary looking building that houses Conservation Fisheries Inc. and the interns and scientists who function as a dating service and nannies to breed and rear thousands of young of these and many more fish species. It looks like an old steel building but it is really an ARK.

Here's your chance to help Noah, by going to the Conservation Fisheries website and donating a few bucks. You'll feel really good about yourself.



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