Recently, I had the opportunity to do
something that I don't do often enough- get out and speak to a local aquarium
club. Spending a wonderful weekend with an enthusiastic and interesting group of
people was a terrific experience. It made me realize how much I have gained from
joining my local club.
Aquarium clubs come in all shapes and
sizes, from large, national specialty clubs with thousands of members, to small
local clubs with a dozen or so hobbyists. What they all have in common is that
they are made up of dedicated, enthusiastic hobbyists who enjoy sharing their
experience and knowledge with others.
In addition to helping you grow in
your hobby, joining an aquarium club can introduce you to some wonderful people
who will become lifelong friends. One of the best things about a club is that
you'll always have someone to chat with about that rare cichlid breeding event
or that nagging protein skimmer that's not getting the job done. And, with the
growth of the internet and email, you can even cultivate hobby friendships from
half a world away.
Another great way to join other
hobbyists is to attend one of the many conventions and conferences throughout
the country. Specialty organizations, such as the American Cichlid Association,
American Killifish Association, and others put on fabulous shows annually. These
are truly amazing conferences, and a chance to hang out with fellow
enthusiasts for an entire weekend!
On the marine side, we have the
Marine Aquarium Conference of North America in September, the International
Marine Aquarium Conference in April. This year, we have the re-birth of the
Western Marine Conference in Sacramento, California. WMC is also in April,
which promises to be a great weekend for many West Coast hobbyists who may not
be able to make the annual trek across the country to the other conferences.
Regardless of your area of interest,
there are numerous opportunities to get out there and meet fellow hobbyists, and
to share and learn along the way. Try to make it a goal to attend at least one
conference...I guarantee that once you attend one, you'll be spending a good
part of the next year figuring out a way to get to the next one!
I hope to see you out there!
Scott Fellman, Co-Editor