Tennessee Aquarium Celebrates 850,000 Service Hours During National Volunteer Week

Monday, April 07, 2014 - by Thom Benson

Fran Hiestand started volunteering at the Tennessee Aquarium in April of 1993. Over the years, she has accumulated more than 9,150 hours of service and continues donating her time at the Aquarium four or more days a week across five separate departments.

Ms. Hiestand admits that she wasn’t completely sold when she first heard the chatter around town about building a freshwater aquarium. Nonetheless, her family purchased a membership when the Tennessee Aquarium was completed in 1992 and she says that her attitude changed immediately. “I saw that a freshwater aquarium was fascinating and fell in love with the entire experience,” she said. “I was amazed and learned something new each time we visited.”

She often found herself seeking more than what she had discovered on each trip, which eventually inspired her to take the aquarium’s docent class. Fran began volunteering once she had completed the in-depth training sessions. “The more I learned, the more excited I became and I wanted to share this knowledge with others,” she said. Then, after learning the ropes as a docent, she became curious about the plants at the aquarium. “Before I knew it, I moved into volunteering in the horticulture department.”

That same curiosity later led her to begin assisting aquarium staff with seahorses and then to helping with the housekeeping duties inside the penguin exhibit, her favorite task.  “I don’t complain about scrubbing when I have a penguin on my foot!” she said.

Ms. Hiestand prides herself on having recruited many other volunteers through the years. She always tells them, “You learn so much.  I never go home at the end of the day without learning something new. And I come here a lot.”

This week is National Volunteer Week and the Tennessee Aquarium is proud of all the exceptional volunteers like Ms. Hiestand who have helped make the aquarium the top-rated Aquarium in the nation for overall guest satisfaction.

Aquarium volunteers welcome and educate guests, care for plants and animals, assist in offices or volunteer behind the acrylic walls as SCUBA divers. In 2013, more than 700 volunteers gave more than 58,000 hours of service. Since 1992, it is estimated  that volunteers have contributed more than 850,000 hours at the aquarium.

“Our volunteers are a big part of what makes the Aquarium so special. They are a very passionate group of people who are dedicated to giving visitors the best experience possible,” said volunteer manager Chris Bowman.

Anyone interested in joining the Aquarium’s volunteer team can learn more by going to: http://www.tnaqua.org/GetInvolved.

Historic Rugby Hosts Late Summer Workshop Series

Over the next two months, Historic Rugby is offering a series of late summer workshops giving participants the chance to learn skills for traditional hobbies that include knitting, basket weaving and even making and playing a dulcimer. The 1880 museum village, with its unique Victorian architecture, lodging in historic buildings and wooded river gorge setting, is an ideal location ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tourism Round Up: Art, Festivals, And Pioneers

Tennessee’s upcoming tourism news is consolidated for your convenience below. For a complete list of Tennessee events, visit tnvacation.com/calendar . Ongoing Memphis -–  Purchase a pair of season tickets for the 2014-2015 Broadway Season at The Orpheum Theater between now and Aug. 4 and receive a free $50 gift certificate to The Majestic Grille. July ... (click for more)

EPB Files With FCC To Expand TV, Phone, Internet Offerings Outside Electric Service Area

 EPB announced Thursday that it has filed a petition to the FCC "in an effort to respond to neighboring communities’ requests for access to the company’s gigabit enabled high-speed Internet service." Officials said, "EPB offers high-speed Internet access, video programming and voice services using a fiber optic communications network that allows the company to deliver these ... (click for more)

Black Creek Developers Say They "Followed The Rules" On $9 Million TIF: To Continue Project

The developers of the Black Creek project at Aetna Mountain said Thursday they "complied precisely by the rules when we applied for and received approval of the TIF district." Doug Stein said the group plans to continue on with the project, which he said earlier would include the creation of a small town on a huge undeveloped tract on the mountain above Black Creek (formerly ... (click for more)

Cell Phones And Roundabouts

I read the article written by Chris Morgan about the use of cell phones in vehicles and the Chattanooga Roundabouts. Cell phone use in vehicles especially in crisis intersection situations is extremely dangerous. I also agree with his assessment about the roundabouts. One problem I see with roundabouts is that on the two-lane roundabouts where they are coming in from ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The NCAA’s “Division IV”

Jonathan Jensen and Brian Turner are two very smart guys. Not long ago the two sports researchers at Ohio State authored a story that appeared in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports that focused on the most successful college football teams in the country and, earlier this week, a writer named Ben Cohen broke it down in understandable terms for a fascinating Wall Street ... (click for more)