Coloring pages about freshwater fish and their habitat are now available from www.outdooralabama.com, the website for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). Alabama has more than 300 types of freshwater fish. The numerous types of freshwater habitats, the high number of river basins, Alabama’s five geological provinces, and the high rainfall in Alabama contribute to a diversity of freshwater organisms. Links to the coloring pages may be found at, www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/fish/link.
The purpose of the coloring pages is to help school children understand the diversity and uniqueness of Alabama’s freshwater ecosystems. Third grade students learn about Alabama’s unique freshwater habitats. Fourth grade students will study the state and learn about the five geological provinces in Alabama: Highland Rim, Cumberland Plateau, Ridge and Valley, Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Knowing there are unique fishes in each region helps make the five regions relevant to the students.
Coloring pages for habitats and fish are currently available for six species: largemouth bass, bluegill, vermilion darter, orangefin shiner, Tallapoosa shiner, and Alabama hog sucker. Officially Alabama’s “State Freshwater Fish,” the largemouth bass is found throughout Alabama. Bluegill is a colorful and popular sport fish found in more locations of Alabama than any other fish. An endangered species only found in Alabama, the vermilion darter is limited to the Turkey Creek basin just west of Birmingham. The orangefin shiner is a minnow that is common in the Coastal Plain of Alabama. Only found in the Piedmont of Alabama and Georgia, the Tallapoosa shiner is an orange and steel-blue colored minnow. The Alabama hog sucker is only found in the Mobile Basin; it is also the mascot of the new Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) hands-on education program “Creek Kids” at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park.
The coloring pages are the result of WFF employees stepping beyond their usual job tasks. Julie Mitchell is a WFF administrative assistant; she drew the specific freshwater habitats and incorporated the fish outlines. Thomas Tarpley, a WFF biologist aide, drew some of the invertebrates on the coloring pages.
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, visit www.outdooralabama.com.