On March 13, 1999, I joined the Brookly Aquarium Society (one of the largest in the nation). The speaker for the evening was the extremely well known hobbyist and author Julian Sprung. He gave a 2 hour presentation on his trip to the Solomon Islands and some of the beautiful inhabitants that live there (he brought some excellent slides) along with sharing with society members what are the current trends in the reef keeping industry and just how far the hobby has evolved over the last 5 years. The evening ended with a live stock and dry goods auction. I ended up purchasing a dual 36" VHO lightstrip with an Ice Cap 430 ballost for get this, $42.00. Live Stock and hardware were donated by members and went for less than what you could buy it for in the store (or even on the net).
I spoke to many hobbyists and manufacturers who were very knowledgable on the subject reefkeeping. It is nice to be amongst people at all levels of the hobby because it's a great opportunity to share both good and bad experiences. In addition, if you propagate corals, it is an excellent opportunity start a network in which to trade inhabitants (along with anything else related to the hobby). Manufacturers from all over the country were displaying their products, giving away free samples, and auctioning off thier products and donating the proceeds to the aquarium society.
The society caters to both the salt and fresh water hobbyist. One of the things that I like best about the hobby is that they have special sub-groups called "SIG's" or special interest groups. Special interest groups meet periodically to share experiences and view one anothers aquariums. These SIG's tend to meet once a month and not on the same weekend as the society meetings.
The society produces a monthly news letter which is mailed out to society members. It has a number of articles written by hobbyists, advertisements for local aquarium shops, and lets hobbyist know of upcoming society and SIG meetings. It also provides the phone number for board members in case you need to talk to a society organizer. I was pretty impressed with this newsletter. It was about 10 pages in legnth and came in the form of a small booklet.
Brookly Aquarium Society meetings are held on the second Friday of each month except for the months of July and August which is a recess period. The society meets at the Brooklyn Aquarium's Library on West 8 and Surf St in Brooklyn, New York. SIG meetings are normally held off-site at a hobbyists house or aquarium store.
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