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GLIN==> News Release - Lights, Camera, Exotics!



                                MN SEA GRANT
                                NEWS RELEASE

10/12/99                                             Contact:  Marie Zhuikov
                                                     (218) 726-7677
                           LIGHTS, CAMERA, EXOTICS!

Boater education is one of the best ways to prevent the accidental spread of 
exotic aquatic plants and animals.  In an attempt to provide a dose of fun along
with an educational message, the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program and 
several federal, state, and business partners from across the nation have teamed
up to produce a 10-minute clean boating video, designed with owners of personal 
watercraft, motorboats, and sailboats in mind.

The clean boating message is being delivered by John Ratzenberger (a.k.a. Cliff 
Clavin of the television show, "Cheers").

"John RatzenbergerÕs character was key Š it was the detail-oriented, know-it-all
character that we thought would fit well with getting across the videoÕs message
of how to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species." Said Doug Jensen, 
Exotic Species Information Center Coordinator for Minnesota Sea Grant.

"Mr. Ratzenberger agreed to do the video as a public service because heÕs an 
avid angler and sailboater who understands the importance of this issue," said 
Jensen.  "We wanted to produce a video that was entertaining, could be used in 
workshops to educate boaters, and could be used in other public venues like 
environmental learning centers, and even in recreational fishing shops."

"I got a call awhile back from somebody in Minnesota who said they needed some 
help," said Ratzenberger.  "So who else were they going to turn to but yours 
truly?  ThereÕs the Mounties, the FBI and me."

Ratzenberger said heÕs been involved with the environment since the late Ō60s, 
even funding development of a substitute for Styrofoam thatÕs used as a packing 
material.  He spends a lot of time on the water.  "I had my first boat at 8 
years old Š as a matter of fact, before I got my first bicycle.  And IÕve been 
fishing ever since.  ItÕs going on 40-some-odd years now," said Ratzenberger.

Ratzenberger learned about the problems exotic species pose by working on the 
video project.  "YouÕve got power plants and water treatment facilities, and if 
those intakes or outputs get clogged up by the mussels and whatnot, it will shut
them down and then youÕve got millions of people impacted by something thatÕs no
bigger than that," he said, holding up his hand with his thumb and index finger 
slightly apart.  "They can shut down a city.  ItÕs not the big monsters like 
Godzilla that we have to watch out for, itÕs the tiny ones."

Filming took place this past September at two locations near Brainerd, 
Minnesota.  Ratzenberger spent two nights at the Grandview Lodge in Brainerd and
one night at the Radisson in Duluth.  The video is being produced by ProVideo 
Productions, Inc. of Duluth and is expected to be completed this winter.  
Logistical support was provided by In-Fisherman, Inc.  Project partners are Sea 
Grant, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Minnesota 
Department of Natural Resources, and SeaLand Technology, Inc.

                                --30--

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