(Friends In Support of the Hatchery)
- Who are the F.I.S.H. and what do we do?
F.I.S.H. stands for Friends In Support of the Hatchery. We are a non-profit organization made up of people who support the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery. F.I.S.H. promote awareness of what the hatchery does and how it benefits people, fish, and wildlife not only in the Natchitoches area but also in the entire southeast United States. The F.I.S.H. are committed to enhancing environmental awareness through educational programs. We also work to provide cultural education concerning the Caddo Indians as the hatchery site was once a Caddo Indian village. And finally, we work to ensure that the hatchery will remain open for years to come so that all can enjoy our environmental, educational, and cultural resources.
- I thought the Federal Government paid
for everything that goes on at the fish hatchery. Why should there be a
non-profit group trying to raise money there?
Friends groups, like F.I.S.H., give concerned citizens a chance to take an active role in preserving our delicate earth ecosystem through education and public conversation about important issues. Although federal funds provide for the operation of the hatchery, funding for public education programs is limited. There is a real need for environmental education in our area. Teachers from kindergarten through college have expressed concern that there is not enough exposure to programs that teach our youth about the environment and their role in protecting and preserving our valuable wildlife. All of us need to learn about the habitat that must be preserved in order for future generations to enjoy and benefit from fish and wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service welcomes friends groups, like F.I.S.H., that give concerned citizens a chance to take an active role in educating the public about how our National Fish Hatcheries and National Wildlife Refuges are working to protect and preserve our natural heritage. The friends group also serves to keep up with political issues that may affect the laws governing stewardship of our natural heritage.
- What will I get to do if I join F.I.S.H.?
Each year F.I.S.H. helps sponsor the Open House at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery promoting National Fishing and Boating Week in early June. Members of F.I.S.H. enjoy all the games and activities, including a fishing tournament for children, a bait-casting contest, art projects, examining pond water under a microscope, and touring the hatchery.
In addition to the annual Open House, members of F.I.S.H. are invited to walk the levees at the hatchery, enjoy the natural environment through bird watching, participate in environmental education programs, collaborate with local artists and researchers to preserve the Caddo heritage of the site, and much much more.