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American Eel

There are some words that you don’t get to use very often and when you finally get the opportunity, it’s a big occasion. The word I’m about to throw down might be familiar to some of our listeners – especially those who are knowledgeable about fish. Are you ready?


Are you amazed? Confused? Having a vague flashback to high school biology class? For your awareness, I’m sitting here pleased as punch because catadromous isn’t just a word about fish you don’t get to use very often – it’s also a word that describes a very small subset of fish. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you’re probably sitting in your car or at your desk thinking, “Come on, Brooks – just get to the part where you tell us about eels.”

You’re right, fish fanatics. I’m here to tell you all about our elusive friend the American eel, the only catadromous fish in North America.

W. Brooks Paternotte took the helm of Irvine Nature Center as executive director in July 2013 and immediately began building on the strong 35-year foundation. Brooks is a Baltimore native who was a teacher, coach, advisor, dean and Head of the Middle School during his 13 years at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore. He is also an instructor and ambassador of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and is a Leave No Trace Master, as well as an avid outdoorsman and a features writer for FlyLife Magazine.