This year's Fall Mega Auction has come and gone. There was a plethora of items. In fact, there were so many we had to start selling items two at a time to make it through everything before we got kicked out of our space! As always, there were a ton of great deals for buyers. There were several tanks of different sizes, including a cool 40 gallon tank with a stand included.
We were lucky to have several donations from two local fish stores for our bi-annual raffle. 6th Ave Aquarium donated two Aqueon Aqua Springs 8.8 gallon kits. 6th Avenue has always been a great supporter of SFAS and a lot of our members are regulars there. Say hi to Bill or David and tell them SFAS sent you!
Hung Ming Aquarium provided us with several aquarium items at a helpful discount. There was a cool rimless 10 gallon tank setup that one lucky winner got to take home. Congrats to all the raffle prize winners and thank you to 6th Ave Aquarium and Hung Ming Aquarium. Some of the local fish stores (including these two) around the Bay Area will provide SFAS members discounts if they are presented with your membership cards. So make sure you mention you're a member!
In November, Amber Menard visited us to talk about wild bettas. It was easy to see how passionate Amber was about the betta genus. She currently runs >100 tanks, mostly filled with her 58 wild betta species, and all requiring water changes by hand! The CARES (Conservation, Awareness, Recognition and Responsibility, Encouragement and Education, and Support and Sharing) Preservation Program honored Amber as a species ambassador to recognize her dedication to curating bettas.
Amber discussed a wide range of topics and answered a ton of great questions from the audience. She was a little shy, but once she got talking about bettas she really shined. One interesting topic she discussed was how fragile collection sites are. Often, they are carefully guarded secrets because of how quickly they can be destroyed if the wrong people irresponsibly over-harvest. Just like other parts of the world, deforestation and illegal mining represent unique dangers to the betta fish habitats. Conservation of these species is critically needed to preserve their presence in the hobby. Amber has some collection/documentation trips to Southeast Asia soon so keep an eye on her YouTube Channel: Big City Bettas. She hasn't posted anything to her Instagram yet (@bigcitybettas) but hopefully she will share some of her tanks and fish soon!
The President of SFAS, Kate Skinner, also presented the "State of the Club" to summarize the accomplishments of the SFAS BoD for 2019. It's been a ton of work but we accomplished quite a lot this year including: replacing the non-functional club laptop for presentations, acquiring a copy of our IRS affirmation letter confirming we are a nonprofit corporation of California, renting a secure US Post Office box, securing a San Francisco business licence to legally run the corporation, providing training to the board to recognize and avoid phishing attempt looking to scam the club, documenting the jobs performed by various members of the BoD to assist future board members, streamlining interactions with local fish stores to manage club discounts and donations, and making the auctions more efficient while improving auction record keeping.
Finally, the board drafted an updated version of the by-laws (with the help of a lawyer who specialized in nonprofit work) to conform with federal and state law. After much debate, the board agreed that new new version of the by-laws would be a great benefit to SFAS and voted to recommend the new version for a vote to the membership. The club held a vote at the November meeting. The vote passed with 26 votes for vs. 2 votes against. Both versions of the by-laws are on the About page of the SFAS website.
This Friday's meeting (December 6th, 2019) will be another busy meeting. We have Jimmy Nguyen, famous as the videographer for Aquarium Co-Op, speaking about the photography of fish and aquariums. Jimmy is an accomplished photographer and you can view some of his stunning work on his Instagram. We will also have our annual Christmas party with dinner (roast chicken, sides, and apple pie!) served. Vegetarian options will also be provided. Finally, we will hold elections to the board and there's still time for nominations. If you have been a member for at least one year and are 21 years or older, you can be nominated to serve as a board member to SFAS. It's extremely fulfilling work to serve on the board of a non-profit corporation and you will learn a ton of skills useful for other jobs.
Jeff Jackson, SFAS Webmaster