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View Full Version : A chance to help out elementary school cichlid education



tchill93x
10-31-2008, 07:28 PM
Hello fellow cichlid fanatics!

I work in an inner city elementary school in St. Paul, Minnesota. I have recently been given the go ahead to put a 70-90 gallon Victorian cichlid tank in the office. The school's magnet focus is World Cultures. As part of the African unit they study water usage, land usage and focus on Lake Victoria and the Nile. My push will be to educate students, staff (and anybody that will listen!) on the ecological impacts and conservation efforts surrounding the region.

The catch to this entire thing is that, since it is my baby, I am responsible for raising the start up funds and maintenance monies. I am doing fundraising locally (anyone want to buy a candy bar?!) and will solicit local organizations...schools are very skilled at begging so I've learned from the best. :-)

Here is where you all come in...if anyone has any ideas of organizations for me to solicit or has anything they want to donate to my cause (tax deductible!), it would be greatly appreciated! I plan on begging for gift cards for maintenance/upkeep (Petsmart/Petco), equipment, fish, supplies, and of course, cash. Anything will most likely help. The tank will be purchased on Craig's list, unless I can somehow get a new one donated...now that would be cool!

So if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or want to donate, you can pm me or post here.

THANKS to everyone that has been supportive in this project so far and for anyone that is considering contributing to this cause. It means a lot to me and soon will to the kids, families and staff that will eventually enjoy this tank!

:-) Theresa

Jeff F.
10-31-2008, 08:03 PM
Perhaps instead of a car wash you could have "tank cleaning". Sunday is good for me and the Vikings game will be on!:wink:
Seriously though, the world could use a few more good people like you. You might think about posting an address(school perhaps) where donations could be sent. I'm sure even the poorest of people like me might be able to send food,decorations, or other things that might help out. Until then....nite teach!:dead:

Nudist
10-31-2008, 08:30 PM
open a paypal account for your fund raising and i bet some people would donate that way.

Steve

tchill93x
10-31-2008, 08:54 PM
Here's the website: http://www.worldcultures.spps.org


open a paypal account for your fund raising and i bet some people would donate that way.
Steve

No tax deduction that way...

Checks could be mailed to the school and that way you'd get a receipt back...1075 E 3rd St, St. Paul, MN 55106, Attn: Theresa or Secretary

I'll send you the gift acceptance (your tax receipt) for items (include estimated value) or monetary gifts. Make sure you include your return address.

Thanks everyone!!

Theresa

jombi21
11-03-2008, 09:20 PM
:) What a great idea! I would love to bring fish education into the classroom someday... when I graduate and somehow find a job :D

Jom

Mac
12-02-2008, 03:29 AM
bumping this thread, mostly to find out how's it going?

tchill93x
12-03-2008, 05:18 AM
bumping this thread, mostly to find out how's it going?

Hey Mac, thanks for asking.

Well, I've been very busy with work and school, so I've been doing the candy bar sales..sold 300 or so. I have two big gigs coming up that I will sell at on the 4th and 11th, that should bring in as many. I will start soliciting business next week (semester is almost over in school) and I plan on hitting it hard this month. My goal is the end of the month for January set up...wish me luck!
T

Mr Firemouth
01-18-2009, 09:22 PM
Hi guys,
Theresa are you familiar with the American Cichlid Association?
We have a program in place called CARES....
http://www.cichlid.org/ACA_CARES.html

The ACA is dedicated to conservation projects in Africa and other countries by disbursing Grants thru the Paul V. Loiselle Fund. Projects include the Aquahavens projects. These are school based projects with everything you would need to set up your program.


I think you could get a lot of support working with the ACA in regards to this project!
You can read more about the ACA projects here...
http://acaforum.com/index.php?showforum=50

I will ask Claudia to talk to you more about these programs.
Rich

tchill93x
01-19-2009, 09:07 PM
Hi guys,
Theresa are you familiar with the American Cichlid Association?
We have a program in place called CARES....
http://www.cichlid.org/ACA_CARES.html

The ACA is dedicated to conservation projects in Africa and other countries by disbursing Grants thru the Paul V. Loiselle Fund. Projects include the Aquahavens projects. These are school based projects with everything you would need to set up your program.


I think you could get a lot of support working with the ACA in regards to this project!
You can read more about the ACA projects here...
http://acaforum.com/index.php?showforum=50

I will ask Claudia to talk to you more about these programs.
Rich

Hello Rich,

Yes! I am familiar with the ACA :wink:, but not with the CARES program or the grants available. From what I've read on your links, the school based projects are amazing! It's exciting what schools are doing to further the cause of conservation and education in the Cichlid world. I came away with many new ideas and am even more stoked about this project...What great life lessons to teach our young people and our future hobbyists!

I will be talking with school administration first thing tomorrow. Thank you again for your time on our little project! I am looking forward to working with Claudia on this...

Theresa

PS..and THANK YOU Alex for your help on this!

crazyfishlady
01-19-2009, 09:20 PM
Theresa, I'll recommend again that you join minnfish.com. Members have donated things for school tanks. I know there are some locals keeping at least a couple varieties of Vics. They may or may not be willing to donate, but I'd guess you'd get a better price & nicer fish than you would from a LFS.
Good luck & when you get it set up, post pics!!!

Jeff F.
01-19-2009, 09:31 PM
Theresa, I'll recommend again that you join minnfish.com. Members have donated things for school tanks. I know there are some locals keeping at least a couple varieties of Vics. They may or may not be willing to donate, but I'd guess you'd get a better price & nicer fish than you would from a LFS.
Good luck & when you get it set up, post pics!!!
Hey!!!!!!!! I'm a Vikings fan. How bout lettin me in on some of these Victorian connections.:lol:

tchill93x
01-20-2009, 04:46 AM
Theresa, I'll recommend again that you join minnfish.com. Members have donated things for school tanks. I know there are some locals keeping at least a couple varieties of Vics. They may or may not be willing to donate, but I'd guess you'd get a better price & nicer fish than you would from a LFS.
Good luck & when you get it set up, post pics!!!

Thanks..I did join but haven't gone back...busy, busy... My final semester at school is here and I'm swamped!

You are right though...I will have to try to remember my log in...hmmm??

Thanks CFL!

tchill93x
02-12-2009, 07:17 PM
****UPDATE****

Rich (Mr Firemouth) (ACA) contacted me a few weeks ago in response to my school's project. Thanks to Rich, I have been corresponding with Dave Hansen from the ACA CARES program.

Well, last night I got a call from Dave with fantastic news. CARES has decided to take on our project! He will be working with the Minnesota Aquarium Society, and I believe other groups, to secure a 90-100 gallon complete tank set up for us (at no cost to us-yeah no more candy bar sales!). He and Greg Steeves are putting together a Power Point for our students/staff regarding the Lake Victoria conservation efforts and its Cichlids. Once set up, we will then be given some endangered Vics to choose from (I think the students will be choosing if I have my way!;). They will take care of getting us the fish and we will be breeding at least two varieties of Vics! Then we can distribute these fish around to the local clubs (and of course, help keep these Vics alive and well!) I believe this means we would be on the registry because of their endangered status...I will find out more later.

I talked to school administration today and they are absolutely psyched! I am putting together information and will be presenting to the staff at a staff meeting in the near future (as soon as I hear more).

This is a phenomenal opportunity for our kids, staff, families and community, in so many ways...I am extremely grateful for the generosity of ACA/CARES, not to mention the time and effort that goes into a project like this.

A special thanks goes out to Rich, Dave, and Claudia (and Greg) for allowing us this opportunity. (And I don't want to forget to mention a certain Code Monkey that put a bug in someone's ear at the ACA in the first place!)

Thanks to everyone here too for your encouragement and help on this project!! You all rock! :clap:

Theresa (now a member of the ACA!)

http://www.cichlid.org/ACA_CARES.html

Jeff F.
02-12-2009, 07:45 PM
Congrats!! You're dealing with the best of the best. And you're getting Vics of special aptitude so please do remember what they truly are. Best wishes!

Redeye75
02-12-2009, 07:51 PM
Awesome news great to hear!

Mr Firemouth
02-12-2009, 07:54 PM
I am very glad that things are working out for you!
Do keep us posted, and take lots of pictures!
Rich :)

tchill93x
02-12-2009, 11:50 PM
I am very glad that things are working out for you!
Do keep us posted, and take lots of pictures!
Rich :)

I will definitely keep you posted!

I was just going to pm you to have you look at my update. I'm glad you saw it. Thanks so much for your help on this. Seems Fourth grade will be the primary caretakers as it fits into their current curriculum nicely. I have a feeling there will be lots to update people on...it will definitely not be your ordinary school fish tank stocked with an over-sized pleco and a few miss matched tetras. It will be amazing!

Thank you again for your help!

Theresa

tchill93x
03-04-2009, 11:16 PM
Well folks...we are getting our tank!! :rock::rock::rock:

It will be delivered on Friday, March 13th by Robert "Bob" Randall (Minnesota Aquarium Society/ACA liaison & Midwest Cichlid Association). He and Steve Morrison are buying the tank and members of minn fish forums donated items....Also, Hills Country Cichlid Club will be donating money too. (I have raised $400 selling candy bars), and I cannot neglect mentioning ACA CARES..what an amazing program...and Aqua Havens...the list is long as there were/are quite a few people and organizations involved to help make this happen.

When I get a proper list of all of the benefactors, I will share....This will be such an amazing project for our kids to be a part of...I cannot wait to get started!

And of course...we will be taking lots of pics to share :)

Theresa

crazyfishlady
03-05-2009, 06:17 AM
Excellent! I had seen posts about helping out with a school tank for CARES, on minnfish, but it had been so long since you posted this that I had no idea it was you! :dance: Congrats!

RustyNut
03-05-2009, 07:18 AM
woot woot!

Sounds great T!!!

Glaive
03-05-2009, 02:21 PM
This is one of those stories that makes "mad alex" crack a genuine smile.
I really look forward to you sharing more when the time comes. It will
be interesting to see things from your perspective both unto yourself
and how it affects the kids. You deserve more credit that you are
receiving. Had you not wanted to do this in the first place it would not
have happened.

tchill93x
03-05-2009, 02:58 PM
This is one of those stories that makes "mad alex" crack a genuine smile.
I really look forward to you sharing more when the time comes. It will
be interesting to see things from your perspective both unto yourself
and how it affects the kids. You deserve more credit that you are
receiving. Had you not wanted to do this in the first place it would not
have happened.

aww shucks...Thanks Mad Alex ;) It's not about credit...it's about seeing genuine smiles on these little kids...the sweet ones and the angry ones...not to be over the top, but when you know what kinds of lives many of these kids have lead...It truly, truly warms my heart to see them happy, smiling and getting involved in something outside of their (usually) dingy little world.

Yeah, I know, corny..I'll stop ;)

T

LadyBarbara001
03-07-2009, 08:09 AM
Teaching kids that they CAN make a difference in any way will carry over into all aspects of their lives.

I've been following this project for a little while now, and I figured you were in good hands. I"m amazed by the generosity of the MN club, and I'm simply thrilled that you are becoming involved in this program.

Local clubs will make the difference in this program. This is a great example of what a community can accomplish when working together.

I'm just so happy for you, and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. We're compiling a list of species for you. There are several that should be appropriate that will be available to you in the near future.

Congratulations! This is an amazing step, in an exciting journey!

tchill93x
03-09-2009, 05:49 PM
Thank YOU for being involved! This is an amazing project and what you are doing for schools and the betterment of the cichlid world is beyond thanks.

Exciting to say the least! Some children know that the tank is coming. We are informing the rest this week and will have student council going from room to room spreading the word about the project, Lake Victoria and conservation efforts.

Yes, the generosity has been amazing. Everyone I have spoken to and corresponded with via e-mail has been extremely kind and helpful. Every step of this process has been smooth and so gratifying.

As you see in my last post, I get very emotional about this project. These kids have the ability to make a difference...it's a valuable lesson to teach them...And you are right, they will carry it into other aspects of their lives.

ACA CARES is an amazing program...I hope this project will help spread the word about the valuable work you all do at CARES... :)

Theresa

(can't wait to see the list of species!)

tchill93x
03-18-2009, 08:52 PM
Update - Day 1 (3/17)- We got the TANK!!! Ah the luck of the Irish in St. Paul today!

It was an amazing experience... It was delivered and purchased by Bob Randall. Dave (last name will update later) helped him transport and set it up at our school. Both men were extremely kind, very knowledgeable (each having 2000 gallons of tanks each at their homes and over 100 varieties of cichlids each), and seemed to enjoy teaching the kids a few things ;)

Only 6 kids helped today, but out of 80 students in grades 5 and 6, 56 eagerly volunteered to help maintain the tank and take care of the fish! Blew us away.. these kids are stoked!

The fish we have a choice of are Xystichromis sp. "Kyoga Flamebacks" and Platytaeniodus sp. "red tail sheller." These will come from an Aqua Havens facility, that the kids have bred. After talking to Kevin (StructureGuy) and a few others, I went back to Barbara Wooten (LadyBarabara001) and asked her if we could get both (pay if we had to) I am waiting to hear back. Also, Dave and Bob offered more free fish and suggested peacocks be added to the tank also...

Media permissions are not yet in place for the kids, so no real pics yet, but I will start a web page or a blog to document their efforts on breeding Victorian Cichlids and to let them document their own experiences as well...below is a picture of the 75 gal tank with a few of my helpers...(all three of them sucked down their share of tank water today too!)

:) Theresa

Glaive
03-18-2009, 11:20 PM
Great news!

Jeff F.
03-19-2009, 07:07 AM
Great update!

RustyNut
03-19-2009, 08:14 AM
This is so awesome! Keep the updates flowing!

tchill93x
04-14-2009, 10:33 AM
Update...it's been a while, but plenty has been happening...

First, we have been official approved to receive BOTH Vics, Xystichromis sp. "Kyoga Flamebacks" and Platytaeniodus sp. "red tail sheller." :hehe:

The tank has been quite the topic of conversation even though it is sitting here empty full of water...buckets of rocks surrounding it as I have not had a chance to try my hand at aquascaping this baby yet... From police to parents to staff and community members-everyone wants to know what a "Chicklet" is :)

The fish are scheduled to leave Maryland on Monday, April 20th for arrival the 21st. In speaking with a local contact, he believes we are also getting fish from LadyBarbara in Texas...maybe a different species from each location? Not sure the details.

Since the fish are coming from another elementary school, I thought I would share their experience in giving up some of their fish to us....I hope Bob Keddell doesn't mind me quoting his e-mail to me but it is great. Classic kids..

"While your kids are anxious on your end to receive I find myself in the interesting dilemma of kids who do not want to give up their prized “possessions”. It actually has generated some great discussion as we finally all agreed the fish belong to the world, must be to share and it’s time to slow down the phrase “my tank.”

I'm sure the kids here will feel the same way when it's their turn...this project has so many learning opportunities for kids...so many life lessons. This has been quite a bit of fun and we don't even have the fish yet!!

Theresa

PS...This my first article ever on our fishies..I'm published! LOL.. ok, not really just our school's newsletter. The article is on the front page and also a mention of the fish in the Global Citizens section article. (if the pics of the fish are wrong...the newsletter editor googled them-I claim no responsibility!)

http://worldcultures.spps.org/sites/ae2e76b3-60a9-4147-b34a-28afc6bd3ad6/uploads/OurWorldApr09.pdf

Jeff F.
04-14-2009, 11:01 AM
Sounds great! Nice choice of fish. The kids will love them. Now you need some albino bn pleco long fins.

Glaive
04-14-2009, 11:27 AM
Good job!

Mr Firemouth
04-14-2009, 12:55 PM
Awesome to see the program in action!

tchill93x
04-22-2009, 11:43 AM
THE VICS ARE HERE!!!! :hehe:

They made it just fine being shipped half way across the country...the flamebacks are about 2.5 inches and coloring up nicely now after 2 hours in the tank...the red tail shellers are about 1.5 inches and are starting to show red on their fins...:)

They are getting sooo much attention...I don't think anyone here has ever seen a rainbow colored fish before...this is very fun! :hehe:

Theresa

LadyBarbara001
04-22-2009, 01:28 PM
I'm so glad to see they made it safely to you! I hope you enjoy them!

Mr Firemouth
08-13-2009, 01:25 PM
OK, so how did they fare through the summer vacation?
I am curious how you will be proceeding for the 2009-10 school year?

tchill93x
08-20-2009, 08:58 PM
Hi there....well, they did pretty well...In June we lost a male Kyoga flameback, not sure why, no apparent injury or illness. The rest are doing well...1 m/3f...actually saw some serious courting going on this week :) The red tail shellers (4) are all varying shades of blue and are doing very well.

How we are going to proceed....hmmmm...good question. The tank and fish came in April...In the process of getting it, I was told there was curriculum and that power points were being created but there has been no further communication....So we started rather blindly...we had way too many student volunteers and May/June are super busy months so we never got anything put together...students came down and helped clean the tank and feed the fish...some students got together and made informational posters that were hung by the tank. That is as far as we got. I took care of them over the summer.

The principal and assistant principal are completely on board, but they are extremely busy....so, after a meeting Monday, I was told, "Well, write me up a proposal and your ideas and we'll go from there."

Well.........:confused: The asst principal wants to incorporate it within the Global Citizen framework under leadership...We want a blog or site to document their work with blog type writing, scientific documentation and photos...I want to the kids to be a large part of the blog...want it to be from their perspective.. but I also need information on the registry, on breeding and shipping.. what the rules are with the tank, i.e. if other fish can be introduced...I have a ton of questions..Would love support from local organizations but I need to ask for it..just not sure what I'm asking for...

I plan on having a proposal together and need to present it to the principal on Monday or Tuesday of next week... so I need to get on this...I do have some solid ideas, but I need solid info too and will have to do quite a bit of research this weekend...

Teachers come back on the 31st and in order to sell this and get them completely on board, I need an organized plan that makes sense and that is easy for them to incorporate in their day...etc...(they are swamped with mandates from the district) We have an open house on Sept 3rd and I would LOVE to have a solid plan and maybe a sign up for interested students...or at least an introduction to the program...

So long answer.. lol...Thank you for asking! :) ALSO... any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated from anyone that took an hour out of their day to read this! :)

Theresa

Mr Firemouth
08-21-2009, 11:36 AM
How we are going to proceed....hmmmm...good question. The tank and fish came in April...In the process of getting it, I was told there was curriculum and that power points were being created but there has been no further communication....So we started rather blindly...we had way too many student volunteers and May/June are super busy months so we never got anything put together...students came down and helped clean the tank and feed the fish...some students got together and made informational posters that were hung by the tank. That is as far as we got. I took care of them over the summer.

I am looking into the curriculum aspect of this. I will let you know what I find!

tchill93x
08-22-2009, 07:06 AM
Thanks for the help...it's reallly appreciated :)
T

Glaive
08-29-2009, 11:38 AM
I will see what I can do about providing a blog space, which has been a long standinbg project anyways.

tchill93x
09-02-2009, 09:46 PM
:xmas3: Awesome Alex...it is a major part of what I hope to accomplish in this school... Thanks for all your help along the way bud! :wink:

Glaive
09-03-2009, 11:22 AM
Meh de nada it was you and the Cares peeps who did the work. Let me get down the hill where the net access is better and we'll get something figured out.

tchill93x
09-03-2009, 07:57 PM
Very Kewl :) thank you.....it would be amazing to have a page that we can work with. I have a lot of emails and paperwork/urriculum to go through a flury of emails last weekend...everyone has been so generous and helpful...it's so appreciated...and fun :) Can't wait to show some of it once it gets up and running properly :D