Some members of the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery had a fun experience at the last meeting. The group was gathering in the Rainbow Room for the meeting when a Great Blue Heron landed on the lip of the pond nearest the building. We got to watch the heron as he (or maybe she) stood quietly watching the trout.
Like a stealth bomber he suddenly swept down into the water and nabbed a small trout. He struggled to get back out of the water, but he finally made it, only to lose his catch in mid-air.
The fish he had caught was a bit too big for him, as are most of the trout in the outdoor ponds.
He perched once again on the edge of the water and shook himself vigorously, slinging water aside. After drying himself, the great bird decided to fish elsewhere.
But the friends got a great view of nature at work, even though sometimes, even in nature, events don’t always work out as planned.
Speaking of fish, the friends group is planning a special Christmas ornament which will also honor the 125th anniversary of the hatchery. It will truly be one of a kind because of the anniversary significance. Also unusual, the ornament will go on sale in July as part of the 125th anniversary celebration. It will be available in the friends bookstore at the hatchery from July 12 through Christmas.
The ornament is ceramic, with a green background and gold lettering on the front. The back shows a holiday garland and a fish. The selection of that fish was a major decision because the hatchery, over 125 years, has hatched and raised more than 100 species. Which of those fish should be chosen to represent the hatchery? Finally, the decision was made to “just use a Christmas fish.”
So a colorful fish (probably a perch) was selected to compliment the equally colorful garland on the back of the ornament.
The ornament would be a great Christmas gift, especially for anyone who grew up in Neosho. Another nice thing is that you can buy it early and have it ready to go this December. It will be on sale July 12 at the hatchery bookstore and be available all the rest of the year. This special “Christmas fish ornament” will cost $12, and profits from it will help fund the good work done by the fish friends group.
We hope many people will come out to help us celebrate on July 12. I don’t think it will be a big deal — just cake and punch. But we would like to see all of you because the people in this town are so supportive of the hatchery. More information will be made public as the date gets closer.
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.