Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Celebrating a Conservation Milestone

Recently, first grade students from Normal Park Elementary helped the Tennessee Aquarium and Tennessee River Gorge Trust celebrate a conservation landmark.

Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters collected from the coin drop in the Aquarium’s River Journey building have now added up to $250,000 since the coin drop was installed on Earth Day in 1996. As the Normal Park Elementary students learned, this money helps support the Tennessee River Gorge Trust’s efforts to preserve Tennessee’s Grand Canyon. “This milestone is symbolic of how small, individual conservation efforts can produce huge, collective results,” said Charlie Arant, Tennessee Aquarium President and CEO. “We are pleased to help the Tennessee River Gorge Trust protect vital habitat in Chattanooga’s backyard.”

TRGT’s Executive Director, Jim Brown, agrees. “The Tennessee Aquarium's "coin drop" concept to fund local habitat conservation within the Gorge has reaped dividends beyond our wildest dreams.” “With each roll of the coin, visitors to the Aquarium have converted their spare change into forests, flowers, and abundant wildlife.”

Miss McCoy’s and Miss McTier’s students were at the Aquarium to study the Rivers of the World and Ocean Journey exhibits as part of their nine-week unit on rainforests. These students were surprised to learn that the Tennessee River Gorge could be considered a temperate rainforest because of the vast array of plants and animals found just downstream from Chattanooga.

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