Ok I really never participate in Off Topic but here I am.
I've been challenging a very bright member of the community to start a local fish club at her school. It appears that family members think our hobby is a waste of time and that schooling/bookwork is far more important.
Hogwash I declare!! I say that our hobby forces us to have social circles important for growing young minds into outstanding citizens with a voice. I feel that caring for the hobby at a young age builds enthusiastic young adults with agendas. Think of the possibilites this hobby could lead to for a young girl or boy. Science needs more women in professional roles, a hobby like this could help change that. An interest in fish opens an interest into so many fields and careers the connections are almost limitless. Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy are all parts of the hobby. Want to be an accountant? Well think of all the financial risks involved with the hobby and put together a plan to recoup your money through breeding. Not an easy task. Want to be a biologist in a medical field? Fish are creating tons of new medicines every year. Want to save the planet? Having a heart felt connection with your tanks will help provide the answers. Every move we make in our hobby is connected to the rest of the world. Buying fish creates industry, good or bad, in far away lands. When the collectors ruin their waters groups like MAC (Marine Aquarium Council) are started. Those groups need people working for them with the local farmers and collectors. So in part the careers of owning your own shop (one of my lfs is staffed with people that have Doctorates in marine sciences), working with collectors, owning a wholesale operation, working as a veternarian etc.. etc.. These are all jobs that have the possiblity of paying very handsome salaries.
My challenge was to start a fish club at her middle school. I would like to extend that challenge to all of our school aged members.
I'm collecting resources to help right now.
I'd like to recommend Aquarium Fish magazine Dec 2006 and TFH Tropical Fish Hobbyist August 2005.
Right now is the best time to get started. When you get back next week bring it up to your favorite science teacher and approach the Principal. You'll need to come up with a good plan of action and goals. Plan on where the tank/tanks will be. Figure out how to fund it. Ask your local fish shops for donations and offer to hang a banner with their name on it. Same for places of business that your parents work at. There is funding available to the schools as well. Get your plan together. Get approval. Get started over Xmas break. Come back in January to running tanks. Cycle by Feb and add fish. Create a club. Have meetings. Designate people to tasks.
Write out want ads on your local craigslist asking for donations. You would be surprised how many cheap or free tanks would be donated to this cause.
Best of luck. I hope the person I challenged reads this and adds her goals and ideas that she is currently working on. Anyone above the school age it would be great to hear any ideas or successes you've had in school programs that might be of help.