NANFA Board of Directors
Fritz pausing for a photo while performing
| Fritz Rohde
Fritz Rohde is a biologist with the North Carolina
Marine Fisheries Division where he splits his time among several
saltwater ventures. His real research interests, however, lie in the
freshwater realm. He has co-authored a book on the freshwater fishes of
the eastern seaboard and is the primary author and photographer for
"Freshwater Fishes of South Carolina" released in 2009. In his spare
time, he has described a few species and co-hosted the 2007
NANFA convention in Greensboro, NC. His interests in NANFA
include seeing the high quality of AC maintained, keep continuing good
relations with local DNRs and academia, opening dialogue with members,
and keeping up the standards set at the annual meetings.
Brian with his daughter on the Kokosing
I have been interested in North American Native Fish for almost my
life. My father has photos of me playing in a stream when I was 2 years
old. My parents got me interested in reading by getting me fish books
because I had no interest in reading otherwise. By the time I was in
middle school I knew I wanted to work with fish and by high school it
definitely natives. While still in high school I began breeding fish in
aquariums and built a 1/4 acre wetland just to breed my own grass
in my parents backyard. I then went to college at Heidelberg University
Tiffin Ohio where I double majored in water resources and environmental
biology. Also while there I started Zimmerman's Fish and began selling
native fish to other enthusiasts. I then moved on to Bowling Green
University in Bowling Green Ohio where I got a masters in Aquatic
and completed my thesis on a study of Redside Dace with the help of the
NANFA conservation grant. I have still yet to find a permanent job
completing my masters degree but have had some interesting temporary
positions with a couple of consulting companies and the Ohio Division
Wildlife. While working for ODW I revamped their fish
ID webpage so that
it included descriptions and photos of all Ohio fish species.
I impressed them enough with my work there because after that temporary
position ended I was asked to work on a project through Ohio State
University funded by ODW to revise the well known (at least to fish
people) book Fishes of Ohio by M.B. Trautman. Hopefully I will be
on this project for several year to come and eventually provide a nice
new publication for our membership and other native fish enthusiast.
| Michael Wolfe
Secretary, Board Chair
I really believe in the NANFA mission statement. It
shows a natural
progression that people go through. Many people come to NANFA for
only the first thing "appreciation... of the continent's native
Appreciation can mean angling, it can mean aquarium husbandry, it can
even mean, "hey, look at that pretty little fish my three year old just
caught." That's how I got into natives. I had aquariums and my daughter
wanted one of her own. And 'Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin' had
just come out. And living in Alabama I bought it out of curiosity. Soon
was in a local stream with a couple of little kids seining up "bait".
After the initial exposure and appreciation, I moved on to the
the continent's native fishes." This didn't mean a formal education.
But it does mean an intellectual curiosity that's been acted upon,
invested in, and never fully sated. And I think there are more people
out there, willing to act on that curiosity if we show them how to see
first-hand the "continent's native fishes" in their native habitat.
And that's when people begin to value the fish, and the habitat enough
to be interested in the "conservation of the continent's native
Michael with his official NANFA
collecting shirt at Williamson Swamp Creek
| Tom Watson
Treasurer, Membership Coordinator, Aquarium Society Liaison
Federal Way, WA
I first became involved in fishkeeping when, at ten
years old, I was given three homemade 45 gallon aquariums. The catch
was that I had to transport them the mile and a half from a friend's
house to my own. Because I feared I would be told no if I asked
permission to bring them home, I carried them there without assistance,
a process that took most of three days. Later that summer, I caught six
brown bullhead babies in Lake Washington and transported them home in a
paper cup. They immediately killed all of my tropicals.
I joined NANFA in 1999. Recently, I completed the
scanning and indexing of all issues of American Currents from 1972 to
the present. These issues are now available on a two-CD set. While
there are no fish collecting opportunities here in the State of
Washington, I occasionally take some time for collecting when on
business trips in states where it is legal.
My vocation is that of a "jack of all trades" for a
large corporation where I help to develop and deploy manufacturing and
procurement strategies. I have served on the Boards of two non-profit
organizations and was president of "For the Children of the World" for
I am deeply interested in the preservation of native
fish species and the habitat that nurtures them. I firmly believe that
informed hobbyists can contribute as much toward this goal as fisheries
professionals. It has always been my experience that diversity in
knowledge, education, and background brings strength to any
organization. If you read through the past issues of American Currents,
it becomes clear that that is where NANFA has excelled. It is important
that NANFA continues to support initiatives that will encourage the
same diversity in the future.
Tom in front of an Invertebrate tank with native
snails and Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus shufeldti)
| Bob Muller
Royal Oak, MI
When I was about eight my father took me a few blocks from our home to catch crawfish. That was the start of my primary interest in the animal part of nature in the aquatic world. When in high school I had a small aquarium with tropical, I discovered in the school library “Fishes of the Great Lake Region” and was amazed by the fish that lived around me that I did not know existed. That weekend camping with my parents, I saw schools of top swimming fish in the lake and managed to scoop some up in a frying pan, I think my reactions were a little faster 50 years ago. Fundulus notatus was the fish and the beginning of the change from tropical to natives and have been keeping them ever since. I discovered NANFA on the internet joined and attended the 1999 convention in Illinois, I was amazed at how the members drew in someone they didn’t know and made me feel welcome, and I was hooked. In 2002, I helped plan and host the Ann Arbor convention. Until the last few years most of my interest and work with natives has been learning to spawn and raise them in aquariums. I have written about a dozen articles on this for AC on my efforts and successes. Currently, I am a late in life student working on an environmental studies degree at the University of Michigan Dearborn. This required me to do an internship, and 3 years ago I approached the Friends of the Rouge, an organization working on restoration of Michigan’s most polluted river. I offered to do fish survey work for them; this has led to a new direction in studying native fishes. Between local rivers we are seeing very different effects of aquatic invasive fish and trying to understand why. This could take the rest of my life to figure out. My involvement in NANFA has led to having friends who share my passion for our native fish communities across the country; that alone is of infinite value.
Bob out in the river learning and teaching
Josh doing some NANFA outreach
up in Southeastern Kentucky, I spent a lot of time in creeks, streams,
and mountains. Fishing in the waterways and hiking the
gave me a great love for my state. My enjoyment of nature and
Kentucky came together around 2008 when I found NANFA while researching
native fish aquariums. My love for natives has grown over the
years. The more I read and researched the deeper appreciation
have for our native fishes. Outreach, education, and
have been a priority for me. These priorities lead me to the
Kentucky Regional Representative for NANFA in 2012, and now to the
board of directors. I am also a member of Kentucky Waterways
Alliance & Kentucky River Watershed Watch. In 2011 I
my own webpage, www.kycreeks.com, which is dedicated to the beauty, diversity, and conservation
of the waterways within Kentucky.
I strive to continue outreach and education about native fishes, as
this is the way to get others to care and get involved in their
Matt in the stream during a NANFA convention field
I have been obsessed with nature since childhood. My mom told me
that a ten minute walk with me took an hour. Apparently I had to
stop for every ant, beetle and rock to flip.
Pleasant Plain, OH
fishing at 6 or 7 years old and that started a lifelong passion.
I’ve had many interests and hobbies, but fish, in one capacity or
another, have always been a constant.
I was introduced to
NANFA by Dustin Smith. At about the same time we were building an
online native fish forum along with Andrew Gunthorpe, Richard Kik, and
Uland Thomas. This morphed into the NANFA forum, so of course I
joined the organization and I’m glad that I did. I have learned a
lot and met many great people.
I’m glad to be on the Board of Directors and hope that I can give a little back to an organization which has given me so much.