12/03/02 - Boise -
GARF's Mexico classroom was full of 30 young Marine Biologists, students, and Veterinarians. They all shared the same desire to help save the Worlds reefs. These attendees were like sponges and we were like the water they needed to adsorb. We needed to make certain all the sponges were given enough. This classroom had many young men and women from Universities, Government agencies and, Public Aquariums. We were very excited that two men came all the way from Cuba.
I can not find the words to describe all that happened on our recent trip to Mexico. I hope that through this slide show and my words I will be able to express how GARF's willingness to share and others willingness to learn makes this whole hobby grow. For the more we teach the more we can reach and the more hope we have for the future of our wild reefs.
So many times I wish that we as humans had the capacity that computers do. For once my head it full and painfully exploding with information I can not download and insert an empty disk to start fresh with new information. I can tell you I witnessed pens running out of ink and note pads pages being filled. More note pads where requested. I could not believe how many notes they took throughout this 6-day event.
I can tell you that LeRoy and I shared 6 days starting at 10:00. Many of the days ended at 7:00. LeRoy and I feel that we left Mexico having shared only the smallest part of our knowledge. We could have stayed another Month sharing and working hands on with this group. Perhaps then we could have left knowing we had shared a great deal of GARF with them.
Trying to break down rock making, coral propagation, shipping, marketing, bulletproof tank set up, and general maintenance in 5 days with both of us often teaching at the same time is almost an impossible task. We chose our curriculum from over 200,000 pictures on our hard drive. We showed several of our 8 different videos showing coral propagation, tank set up, rock making etc.
We decided that it was critical to the success of our six day seminar that we gear it towards hands on learning. No one was left with dry hands and without GARF's glue stuck to one or more fingers. Neither LeRoy or I speak Spanish so this was also a challenge for all involved. The people involved with the planning of this seminar were so kind, and they were truly remarkable to work with.
I hope I will be able in a small way share with you these very full eventful days that will remain in my heart and mind forever. I will always be grateful to the members of the Veracruz public aquarium who made this trip so wonderful. They took us on behind the scenes tours of the their own projects, and they spent countless hours planning and working to make this workshop such a success!
I owe a HUGE expression of gratitude to Mr. Juan JosČ Alfaro who was my personal interpreter. Juan JosČ made certain we never went without food or drink and he taxied us all around Veracruz. This man has made a friend of GARF for the rest of our lifetime and we certainly are looking forward to working with him for the future of the reefs in Mexico. Thank you so very much.
Graduation day: In this slide you are shown many of the participants who attended the seminar. However several of the people are also missing from the picture.
Not all people could attend the whole six days. Of course LeRoy and I are missing from the picture because we are the ones taking the picture with the thought in mind of sharing this experience with all of you. Never do we travel anywhere and not learn more, grow more and have time to plan for more. This event occurred during Thanksgiving and I will tell you that it was one of the most remarkable Thanksgivings one can ever hope to have. Forget the Turkey bring on the Seafood.
The gentleman in the front row with the crutches is Juan (we love this man). This man owns the finest Marine Aquarium stores in Mexico city and what makes him even more special is that he was the one who put up with LeRoy and I for the entire event. We had meet Juan when he had asked us to speak at a conference in Mexico City with Julian Sprung about 2 years ago.
Jaun JosČ had some idea of how LeRoy and I function when our staff allows us our freedom. Remember Juan,s task was to try to translate my message to all the attendees. LeRoy and I had not been out traveling sharing our knowledge and GARF's research for about a year. So we were busting at the seams to share all that we have learned. Truthfully we never know exactly how the day will unfold until the day has passed. With two hard drives full of pictures, videos and all the hands on workshops we were pretty certain we could keep them busy for five hours.
On the first day of the conference Juan looked directly at us and said I have two requests for you. Please speak slowly, (this I was sure I could work on) and do not speak at the same time. I looked at LeRoy and knew we were in trouble for never do we ever go anywhere without causing people to think with two heads, with two messages, and with such passion. However I told Juan I would try and speak slowly and wait for the translation. Both of us not talking at the same time was a promise I was certain would take some work.
When LeRoy's translator was not staying up with him and he was speaking in English just to try and stay up with me I noticed that everyone in the audience was shaking their heads as if to understand what he was saying. I then realized these young marine biologist were understanding English and I yelled in English hey, wait a minute you are all shaking your head at LeRoy and he is speaking English and they all laughed.
They did understand some English what they could not understand was when we spoke too fast and two at a time. Also not all understood as well as others. So Juan played such an important role to getting our message across as strongly as we were relaying it. Juan was trying so hard to stay up with all that was transpiring around us that it wasn,t long before he began to speak to me in English very fluently. LeRoy and I learned more Spanish and everyone learned more English.
One also has to understand that when we teach we are so focused on teaching as much as we can. Each method we share depends on if one is working with captive systems or the ocean. We had to break each step down depending on which type of project our students were planning on doing. We were asked so many questions and each of our answers had to be explained for people working with wild and captive corals. Each answer depends on which animal you are speaking about; there is no simple answer to any given question.
Each answer we give depends on size of tank, age of tank, how it was set up, what maintenance you are performing etc. Each question and answer usually leads to another question. This is so amazing for so many of the questions we were asked we might have never thought of. Each person who graduated from this seminar deserves a gold star and our highest regard.
I also owe a great deal to my staff at GARF for they took care of all of our 40 separate systems. They took care of our tanks at home as well as at GARF. They kept the baby clownfish going. That is no small task because one has to grow green water and rotifers etc. They took care of our dogs, cats and baby kittens. They maintained the office and e-mails. LeRoy and I have never been able to leave with all of our loved ones being cared for and in such loving hands.
Each day I would call and get the update on the entire going,s on of Leonel,s 24-hour day. We came home with so many wonderful memories; not one lost coral, many more baby clownfish, and our dogs and cats fatter than we left them. We never forget our staff are one of our biggest gifts
FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS WE HAVE WORKED VERY HARD TO PURCHASE, TRADE, AND SAVE AS MANY TYPES OF CORALS AS WE CAN.
We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.
JOIN THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
You can support our research and learn more about reef aquariums and wetlands
1726 Merrill St.
Boise Idaho 83705
|Many of the rare corals are offered to our members for 2 years before they are put on sale. We will soon have an E-mail list that will list the rarest color forms of sps corals and soft corals such as Xenia and Mushrooms.|