The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division had one of its own recognized by a national organization. The Aquatic Resources Education Association (www.AREAnet.org) presented Mr. Doug Darr with an award for "Exceptional Support of Aquatic Resources Education Programs by a Member." Darr was recognized both for his leadership in promoting aquatic education and stewardship within Alabama and for his outstanding contributions on a national level.
Darr indicated that, "No one wins an award like this in a vacuum. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division has professional biologists throughout Alabama who take time from their technical duties to teach fishing classes, coordinate community fishing events, and give talks to students and adults. Our conservation officers and wildlife biologists also assist with fishing events for kids, seniors and people with disabilities. Our Web site, www.OutdoorAlabama.com, contains articles and information about places to fish written by our field personnel." While a district biologist in north Alabama, Darr wrote a primer to fishing in Alabama, Basic Fishing, which is still available as a download from the Department's Web site.
Alabama's Aquatic Education Coordinator since 1997, Darr has been coordinating statewide efforts to promote fishing and educate the public about the uniqueness of Alabama's aquatic habitats and fauna. "The people of Alabama need to protect their waters and aquatic habitats because Alabama has a number of unique fish, mussels and snails," says Darr as he seizes an opportunity to educate. "The rivers that drain into Mobile Bay contain 44 types of fish that are only found in this basin, and several of these fish are unique to Alabama. The Alabama portion of the Tennessee River has three fish (spring pygmy sunfish, Tuscumbia darter and Alabama cavefish) that are only found in Alabama."
Darr has also been active on the national level. He assisted the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in the development of new grant programs to provide fishing and boating experiences through physical education instructors and through the staff of parks and recreation programs. He has also assisted with 4-H Sportfishing program training on national and statewide levels. "Working on the national level gives an opportunity to learn new techniques," he says. Darr has served the Aquatic Resources Education Association on the Strategic Planning Committee and as both Secretary-Treasurer and Secretary. The nomination included a note that Darr readily helped other coordinators with their requests for information and was noted for his good nature and sense of humor.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR and Alabama’s state public fishing lakes, visit www.OutdoorAlabama.com.