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Topics for talks

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Topics for talks

Post by GaryE on Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:41 pm

I'm fishing around for ideas, especially from newer aquarists here. If you were to attend an aquarium club in your city, what would be a few topics you would want to hear a speaker on?
What would interest you the most, and make you consider going out to a meeting?
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Re: Topics for talks

Post by guppyguy on Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:50 pm

This is a wonderful topic Gary. Considering me, catinthehat and one other run the the Windsor Aquarium Society. I would love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

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Re: Topics for talks

Post by Biulu on Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:03 pm

GaryE wrote:I'm fishing around for ideas, especially from newer aquarists here. If you were to attend an aquarium club in your city, what would be a few topics you would want to hear a speaker on?
What would interest you the most, and make you consider going out to a meeting?

You just came back from the SAM GA?! Spoke with one of their members on Sunday....
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Re: Topics for talks

Post by catinthehat on Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:08 pm

This is something that we always struggle with. There's so many things to think about when trying to get speakers to come in . First since we are from Windsor and most of the speakers come from the Toronto area it's sometimes an issue getting them to come down especially in the winter. And then with so many members with so many different interests it's hard to decide who to try to bring in .
This is why this thread will be closely watched by guppyguy and myself.

Hey Gary , if your ever in the Windsor area !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Topics for talks

Post by GaryE on Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:25 am

I attend both the SAM and MAS in Montreal, but I am one of the organizers of the MAS. I was talking with a young, shiny new member with big plans, and he got me thinking about this topic. Both our clubs were close to dead a few years ago, and have climbed back up the hill to a degree. Compared to 20 years ago, the SAM is about 40% of what it was, while the MAS is a little under half its old size. In the English club, we have an older membership being rejuvenated by an influx of new fishkeepers. To get to half of our old size, we've doubled our membership over 3 years.
We're trying to figure out what would be attractive, and given that many of our Canadaquaria members are in areas with no clubs, it would be helpful if they'd jot down a list of topics they'd like to see people present if they had local clubs. Or, if they are in clubs, what do they like in their region?
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Re: Topics for talks

Post by Biulu on Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:48 am

Maybe people don't consider me to be, but I am a newer aquarist (5 years being serious) plus my observations last Sunday with a young crowd make me think it is not only the topic, but also the format.

I attended a workshop. Of course 'natural aquaria' with plants recreating a landscape or even hotter in Europe, recreating a habitat appeals to many people right now, however, the possibility to interact with each other during the presentation seemed very important for many.

Asking questions, hearing from other members how they had solved certain issues, where to get materials etc. was making the meeting enormously lively and enjoyable for all. It was basically like having a forum but face to face.

The practical aspect of seeing somebody do it (most people are visual) is also very educational. It shows you little tricks, gives you even an opportunity to help out with planting and make the experience yourself.

I suggested last week to our president to do an evening on live cultures, but not only by presentation, but showing how to harvest, make the media during the evening and start a second culture. The first response I got was: great topic, but it will be difficult to do the hands on part....

In the Netherlands they have tank competitions. Once you are in the final group, the judges come to your house to see your tank and discuss it. These evenings become club evenings with a large number of members joining the judges, supporting their club member but at the same time talking 'fish' all night! People love it!

I am a member of MAS for the 3rd year, I think, and honestly, I know very little about other members as the time to interact is so short. During the break, you look at what will be up for auction, maybe go to the toilet, or buy raffle tickets, and then time's up!

My 20 cents are to look into the format of the evening and allow for more interaction, which also creates more community.
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Re: Topics for talks

Post by guppyguy on Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:22 am

Biulu wrote:Maybe people don't consider me to be, but I am a newer aquarist (5 years being serious) plus my observations last Sunday with a young crowd make me think it is not only the topic, but also the format.

I attended a workshop. Of course 'natural aquaria' with plants recreating a landscape or even hotter in Europe, recreating a habitat appeals to many people right now, however, the possibility to interact with each other during the presentation seemed very important for many.

Asking questions, hearing from other members how they had solved certain issues, where to get materials etc. was making the meeting enormously lively and enjoyable for all. It was basically like having a forum but face to face.

The practical aspect of seeing somebody do it (most people are visual) is also very educational. It shows you little tricks, gives you even an opportunity to help out with planting and make the experience yourself.

I suggested last week to our president to do an evening on live cultures, but not only by presentation, but showing how to harvest, make the media during the evening and start a second culture. The first response I got was: great topic, but it will be difficult to do the hands on part....

In the Netherlands they have tank competitions. Once you are in the final group, the judges come to your house to see your tank and discuss it. These evenings become club evenings with a large number of members joining the judges, supporting their club member but at the same time talking 'fish' all night! People love it!

I am a member of MAS for the 3rd year, I think, and honestly, I know very little about other members as the time to interact is so short. During the break, you look at what will be up for auction, maybe go to the toilet, or buy raffle tickets, and then time's up!

My 20 cents are to look into the format of the evening and allow for more interaction, which also creates more community.

This is interesting to read as I think you hit the nail on the head. We also have many who really enjoy the social time and talking to there fellow hobbyist with a sense of community. At every meeting I get approached and talk with many many member's on different topics from plants, to fish breeding, to thoughts on certainly equipment etc. Time are changing and the clubs need to stay with what is popular and of interest for the majority or whats new and exciting. Planted tanks, aquascaping, nano tanks, nano fish, wild caught fish, fish breeding, plant propagation, and bio-tope set up's are all really popular right now. And I think will be for a while. The days of fake plants and colored gravel are dying out and many want to learn how to grow real plants in plant substrates and be successful. In our club alone plants are hugely popular. Many want to breed fish but this has always been popular, so there is wide range of topics there. Nano fish has really caught on big in the last little while as there are so many species available now. And going hand in hand those who want the wild caught fish instead of the domestic varieties also want the bio-topes to go along with it. This is my food for thought for today and how I see things going in the hobby currently.

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Re: Topics for talks

Post by Starfish on Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:35 pm

I still consider myself to be a relative newbie. There is still much that I do not know nor do I have time to focus on the hobby as I would like. Plants are definitely a difficulty for me and I learn by doing. Watching a demonstration is better than just talking, but doing is a much better learning tool. So a workshop where I could be "hands on" with a demonstration would be great.

There are no clubs near me. I guess the closest would be Kitchener/Waterloo. As others mentioned, a big draw to join a club would be to meet other fish hobbyists.  I feel like an island here, in that there are very few people I know that keep fish, and if they do, it is one tank with one or two fish and they do not seem interested in talking "fish". So for that reason, if I were to join a club, there would have to be some social interaction time. Is there a refreshment break? That is a good time for interacting, and food always draws people.
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Re: Topics for talks

Post by GaryE on Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:31 pm

We often get caught by our venues. Both Montreal clubs get a serious Cinderella clause with our Hall - it does limit discussion, and very impotantly, set up and break down time. These are good ideas though, as you never find solutions unless you attack the problem.

The old clubs had bowl shows, food collecting trips, member's home visits - maybe we have to look backwards (before my time - I've only read of these activities) to move forward. Please keep the ideas coming! It's good, as we are not the only club trying to figure these things out.
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Re: Topics for talks

Post by l_l_l on Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:16 pm

Speaking for the youngest,
I have always wanted to go to a meeting, but never did.

Main reasons I never attended are:

1. I have ADD and sitting in front of a presentation is not something I can do easily.
I however am able to participate in conversations and debates and am very proud to do so.

2. My schedule is very full.

3. Topic is irrelevant to my interests.

4. Location.

5. Lack of "hands-on" stuff (workshop).

I'm not sure what would make me go there, but I probably would make time for a couple of workshops for DIY stuff (DIY canister filter, make your own aquarium, etc..)
That and it would need to fit in my schedule.

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Re: Topics for talks

Post by charlie1 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:58 pm

GaryE wrote:We often get caught by our venues. Both Montreal clubs get a serious Cinderella clause with our Hall - it does limit discussion, and very impotantly, set up and break down time. These are good ideas though, as you never find solutions unless you attack the problem.

The old clubs had bowl shows, food collecting trips, member's home visits - maybe we have to look backwards (before my time - I've only read of these activities) to move forward. Please keep the ideas coming! It's good, as we are not the only club trying to figure these things out.
So true, most if not all the clubs that I know of are struggling, I know of 2 long serving clubs in the Toronto region that was forced to shut their doors.
I personally have put sometime in to figure what topics members would like to have at meetings to encourage good attendance, but it always comes back to a few things, mainly in todays world of social media & forums that offer the convenience connecting in cyber world when hobbyist have done preparing supper, settle the kids, or goofing off at work on forums, it becomes an almost impossible task to find a speaker & topic that attracts members & hobbyist out, of course there is always " I don`t keep X so I`m not going out in the cold to hear Y talk about Z.
I agree with some of the suggestions mentioned, such as clubs need to focus on social aspect . We need to have gatherings at family venues , like a Pizza joint, bar etc & have fewer presentations , The few that we do have should be higher profile & on a weekend ( maybe), I know it`s a hard sell to get other club admins to embrace those ideas.
My local club , once attracted 100 + people to meetings so much so that we were asked to find another venue because we were constantly breaking the fire code, now the club has a venue that can accommodate 150 or more , but only 20-30 people go to meetings & 30 would be a good night.
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