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"Join the Club"  editorial by Scott Fellman


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


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