Saturday started great and got better. First, Ben and I helped Julee Goodman, vice president for development at Center in the Square, with training for the Tank Team — the people who will show you around Center when you come to visit. We showed them a power point about what would be going in the various aquariums in Center’s lobby, and then showed them the aquariums themselves. If you’ve been reading along, you know that today was the first day we had fish in the Center Reef tank. By the time the Tank Team arrived, sunlight was streaming in from the skylights five stories above and the fish were swimming in beautiful, dappled light. It was a sight to behold.
As much fun as it was to engage our volunteers in something I truly love, Ben and I had even more fun this afternoon when we went scavenging for pieces of driftwood and river rock that will become a part of the Roanoke Logperch aquarium.
You haven’t heard much about this tank because it was a bit of a late-comer to the party. But the 400-gallon aquarium that is now positioned at the base of Center’s famous spiral staircase, will be a new focal point for the Roanoke River and the fish that live in it — specifically the fish you never hear about. There are more than 30 species of fish that live in the Roanoke River and most of them would be what you’d call “minnows.” To be a bit more specific, they are darters, chubs, shiners, dace and suckers. The king of them all is the endangered species Percina Rex, or the Roanoke Logperch.
I am as excited about the Roanoke Logperch aquarium as I am the massive reef aquarium. Though the reef will be the main attraction, the Roanoke River tank holds the promise of showing the community a side of the Roanoke River they have never before seen. People will see colorful fish such as the Roanoke Darter (which only lives in the Roanoke River) and other beautiful fish they never knew existed. I will write chapters before all is said and done with this aquarium.
Before you can see it, we need to set it up. That could happen as early as tomorrow or Monday. (May 5 & 6). With the help of Tank Team volunteer, Darrell Morris, Ben and I filled the back of Ben’s pick up with carefully selected river rock and driftwood from along the banks of the river. These we power washed and then took to Center to dry. The next step will be to recreate the feel of a section of rapids in the river so the “minnows” will feel right at home — in a space where the public an enjoy learning about them, and hopefully appreciating the need to protect and improve their native habitat.
If you would like to join Center’s Tank Team, Click here to fill out the form.