Tennessee Aquarium Launches Education Fundraising Campaign

Monday, February 25, 2013 - by Thom Benson
School groups, like this one enjoying the penguin exhibit, are challenged by rising transportation costs. The Aquarium is seeking community support to replenish funds needed to help schools cover bus transportation costs.
School groups, like this one enjoying the penguin exhibit, are challenged by rising transportation costs. The Aquarium is seeking community support to replenish funds needed to help schools cover bus transportation costs.

Giggles of delight are heard throughout the Tennessee Aquarium as students from around the region come face-to-face with penguins, touch lake sturgeon or have a colorful toucan fly overhead. These encounters not only leave a lasting impression, they also help teachers reinforce lessons taught in the classroom. “My students come here and they’re like little sponges,” said fourth grade teacher Susan Gaines after a recent Aquarium visit. “It’s a grand learning experience.”

Seeing sharks, giant catfish and other creatures is certainly fun, but it also helps fuel some lasting benefits. Studies have shown that students who receive environmental education programs score better on standardized tests, improve their overall GPA, stay in school longer, receive higher-than-average scholarship awards and display better classroom behavior. “We know interactive field trips, especially when combined with a standards-based environmental education, enrich the lives of children and help them academically and socially,” said Tim Baker, the Aquarium’s director of education.

Unfortunately, tight budgets force many school systems to make tough choices when it comes to experiential learning. In fact, 92% of teachers surveyed report that transportation costs are a major barrier when considering educational field trips to the Aquarium. Particularly hard hit are schools that serve low income areas, like the system Mrs. Gaines works for. “This year was crunch time and we would not have been able to visit without some assistance from the Aquarium,” said Ms. Gaines.

In 2012 alone, the Tennessee Aquarium covered admission and program costs for more than 30,000 underserved students and offered reduced price admission to another 55,000 students. The Aquarium has always been dedicated to covering admission costs for students in need, but today some school budgets are so lean that there is no money available for transportation costs.

The Aquarium was able to reimburse the cost of transportation for Title 1 schools from 2010-2012 thanks to a three-year grant. During that time students from 190 schools were able to come to Chattanooga to learn about the natural world.

To help bridge the transportation funding gap facing many schools, the Tennessee Aquarium has launched a fundraising campaign. The “$20 For 7 Drive for Schools” is an opportunity for individuals throughout the Tennessee Valley to help. Each $20 contribution covers the cost of transportation for seven students. “We hope people recall the impact of field trips they, and their children, experienced and will want to help ensure others have that same opportunity,” said Mr. Baker.

To support the $20 For 7 Drive for Schools, make a gift to the Tennessee Aquarium at www.tnaqua.org/contribute or via mail: Drive for Schools, P.O. Box 11048, Chattanooga, Tn. 37401.

Learning Blade Announces "Hack Attack" Computer Science Mission

Chattanooga-based Thinking Media’s Learning Blade announced the new “Hack Attack” Computer Science Mission to over 400 attending the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC) Annual Conference in Hot Springs this week. Arkansas has led the nation by the passage of Computer Science Education and Jobs Act of 2015, which provides computer coding classes to all Arkansas high ... (click for more)

Baylor Elects 2016-17 Honor Council

Members of Baylor's 101st Honor Council have been elected for the 2016-17 school year.  They are Trey Freeman '18, Annie Dethero '17, Alison Anderson '17, Lauren King '17, David Thompson '17, Ashton Jenne '17, Kristopher Kennedy '19, Connor Duffy '20, Chase Radpour '20, Jonyca Jiao '19, Sarah Talley '18, Matthew Davis '18, Alex Robinson '19 and Mats Pokela '18.  ... (click for more)

Domestic Assault Charge Dismissed Against Bobby Stone In Case Involving Mayor's Top Advisor; Stone Says Berke Had Inappropriate Relationship With His Wife; Says Berke And Fletcher Conspired To Arrest Him; Lacie Stone Says Charges Completely False

A charge of domestic assault was dismissed Friday morning against Bobby Stone in a case involving a top advisor to Mayor Andy Berke.  Afterward, Mr. Stone told reporters that the mayor had an inappropriate relationship with his wife, Lacie Stone. He also charged that Mayor Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher conspired to arrest him. Mr. Stone is expected to file ... (click for more)

Christopher Padgett Taken Into Custody

A Chattanooga man who went on the lam after cutting off his ankle monitor and failing to show up for the third day of his felony murder trial is back in custody. Christopher Padgett was arrested by Chattanooga Police in the 3200 block of South Street at 12:55 a.m.  He was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Hamilton County Jail for booking. ... (click for more)

Bobby Stone, Is It Really A Win?

It brought a smile to my face this morning when I saw where the case was thrown out of court against Mr. Stone and the domestic violence charge.  I have supported his cause from the beginning, but I do feel heartbreak because his personal life had to be tossed out there for all of us to see.   I truly hope and pray things turn around for him and his wife, while I feel ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Prayer Over Despair

As a strong proponent of early voting, I joined hundreds at the Hamilton County Election Commission headquarters on Amnicola Highway yesterday to exercise what I consider one of our greatest freedoms – “for the people, by the people.” Candidly, I have never been as upset or as disappointed over my choices for President in my life. Locally I am fine with our candidates but to pick ... (click for more)