Newsletter February 2022

Roanoke Logperch, photographed at CFI, in the background on General Hospital

Welcome to the first installment of our quarterly newsletter! From here on, CFI will be sending out a newsletter four times a year to keep our friends, family, and supporters up-to-date on the Happenings Around the Hatchery. In case you missed it, a photo of our Roanoke Logperch, taken by Joel Sartore, was featured in an episode of General Hospital, which showcased a gallery of Joel’s work. Who’d have thought that an endangered darter would make it’s big break on a soap opera!

On Giving Tuesday in November, we had a huge fundraising push to support our facility expansion. Thanks to your tremendous support, we raised 8-times more money during Giving Tuesday 2021 than we have raised on Giving Tuesday all prior years combined! Our staff is so appreciative for the outpouring of support that we received during that campaign. If you missed Giving Tuesday, or would like to contribute to our mission during other times of the year, there are a few options. Firstly, we are always accepting donations through our website. Several supporters have set up recurring monthly donations, which are normally used towards purchasing food for our fish. Secondly, you can choose to support our organization when making purchases through Amazon by using Amazon Smile (and searching "Conservation Fisheries"), or when making purchases at Kroger, by adding CFI as your organization for the Kroger Community Rewards Program (our organization number is CB017).

A newly replumbed and sanitized recirculating system

Thanks to a generous Community Agency Grant from the City of Knoxville, we have replumbed two recirculating systems and fully sanitized ten recirculating systems in the hatchery. Full system sanitations are a new protocol utilized to eliminate Hydra (a freshwater cnidarian pest that has found its way into several of our tanks), and as a sterilization method after moving one species out of a recirculating system before welcoming a new species into it. Speaking of welcoming new species! Over the last few months we have taken in 20 Yellowcheek Darters (below, top photo) to propagate young for research being done at the University of Arkansas, as well as 18 Bluemask Darters (below, bottom photo) from the Rocky River to refine propagation protocols for potential future reintroductions into historic habitats. Our Green Room has also welcomed new species! Over the last few months we have added cultures of Moina, Dero Worms, and a plethora of terrestrial arthropods to fill in food-size and nutritional gaps in our feeding routine.

Last fall we received an email asking if anyone at CFI could be job shadowed as a requirement for a Leadership Education Exploration Program. Layla, a junior at Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy in Maryville, TN, has been a positive and valuable presence to the hatchery. After her hourly requirement is fulfilled she will stay on as a volunteer. Additionally, two volunteers were brought on last December as we debuted our new and improved CFI Volunteer Program. Curt and Kaitlyn, both seniors at the University of Tennessee, have been an immense help as we’ve tackled large winter projects in the hatchery. We anticipate having them with us through the summer. As for continuing the Volunteer Program, we are halting new recruits for the spring due to a high number of COVID cases in Knoxville. We hope to accept new volunteers for the summer season (June-August). Information about summer volunteers will be available in late spring on our website and social media accounts.

Above: Yellowcheek Darters (Etheostoma moorei); Below: Bluemask Darters (Etheostoma akatulo); Photos by Joel Sartore
Pygmy Sculpin egg clusters

Last but not least, we are gearing up for the Spawning Season! The springtime is when we can look forward to our fishes coloring up and keeping us in business. We’ve already seen eggs from our Pygmy Sculpin, who breed pretty regularly because they are kept at a constant temperature which mimics the temperatures in the spring pond where they are native. We anticipate others to follow close behind them. It’s about to get real busy around here!

As always, we appreciate your support and interest in keeping up with our work. We all feel so grateful to be a part of the work that we do.

-- The CFI Staff