2018 MN State Fair - Fish Pond Talks

What are Fish Pond Talks?

  • 15-minute informal, fun presentations for the fairgoers that gather around the DNR fish pond 
  • The talks are to identify some of the more prominent fish and to share some fun facts about some of the 40 – 50 species of Minnesota Fish on display in the pond.


How do I give a Talk?

  • Training and materials will be provided by experienced staff before your first shift to ensure you’re well prepared
  • Introduce yourself and the DNR’s fishing and aquatic education program (the MinnAqua Program) and welcome everyone to the DNR Fish Pond
  • Engage the crowd for 15 minutes
  • Share some information about the fish in the pond that the folks would probably want to know more about
  • Share some fun fish facts about Minnesota Fish and our lakes, rivers and streams in MN
  • Make the talks your own!
  • Linger for a bit after your talks to share fish stories and answer questions folks might have!
  • Refer folks to the DNR Fisheries and Conservation Officers staffing the DNR’s Information Booth if they have questions you can’t answer.


Qualifications Needed:

  • Comfortable with public speaking in informal settings with large groups.
  • Some experience with interpretation, environmental education, education, or public speaking and giving presentations are all helpful.
  • Knowledge of Minnesota Fish, Fish Identification, Fish habits and habitat, and aquatic ecology (training and interpretive information will be provided)
  • Some knowledge of fishing in Minnesota
  • Some knowledge of DNR Fisheries Management work
  • Ability to lift and set up or take down and secure the speakers and PA system (training will be provided)
  • Some experience with fish identification, aquatic ecology, and fishing in Minnesota.
  • Having fun at the State Fair!


Training provided:

  • Information cards to prepare you for your fish pond talks:
  • MN Fish Identification
  • Fun Minnesota Fish Facts
  • Minnesota’s aquatic and fisheries resources and management background
  • An in-person training session before the Fair, if needed
  • How to set up and use the PA system
  • Safety training in heat related illness and State Fair logistics



  • Inquire about meals and mileage reimbursement.
  • Admission tickets will be provided for each day you volunteer.



The Fish Pond Talk Schedule:

Fish Pond talks begin at 9:45 AM each day, starting 15 minutes before the hour and last 15 minutes, ending at the hour mark. Talks are repeated each hour until the last talk of the day at 6:45 PM.


This year we are scheduling two staff/volunteer shifts for each day of the State Fair:

  • First Shift:    9:15 AM – 3:15 PM    (Six talks)

    First shift staff arrives by 9:15 AM and sets up PA equipment and speakers at the Fish Pond before their first talk which starts at 9:45 AM.

      9:45 - 10 AM

    10:45 – 11 AM

    11:45 - 12 Noon

    12:45 - 1 PM

      1:45 – 2 PM

      2:45 - 3 PM


  • Second Shift: 1:30 PM – 7:30 PM   (Six talks)

    Second shift staff finishes their last talk at 7 PM, answers any questions people might have after the last talk and then takes down and secures PA equipment for the night.

    1:45 – 2 PM

    2:45 – 3 PM

    3:45 – 4 PM

    4:45 – 5 PM

    5:45 – 6 PM

    6:45 – 7 PM

 NOTE: First and Second Shift overlap for the 1:45 PM talk and the 2:45 PM talk.

  • This allows for transitions and to ease new presenters into their first Fish Pond talks in the afternoon
  • These two mid-day talks can be divvied up however the two workers choose - or to train in or coach a new Fish Talk person coming for the second shift.
  • If someone is not doing the talks, or training in a new second shift person during the overlapping transition time, they should do roving interpretation around the pond during the transition talks.



If you haven’t helped us out with Fish Pond Talks before, please sign up to work a Second Shift spot on your first day so an experienced “lead person” can help you get started for your day.



State Fair Safety Training

  • All volunteers must complete an online safety training quiz to be eligible to work at the Minnesota State Fair. 
  • Please go to the DNR State Fair Safety Training page for instructions.


Schedule Summary

This activity generally occurs on

  • Monday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Tuesday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Wednesday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Thursday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Friday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Saturday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Sunday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening