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Join the Fun! - Aquarium's Party for the Planet is April 24

4/15/2010 9:47:43 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             Contact: Thom Benson 423-785-3007

Tennessee Aquarium Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
Fun-Filled Party for the Planet is Saturday, April 24th

Kids having fun during the Aquarium's 2009 Party for the Planet

Chattanooga, Tenn. (April 15, 2010) – What do alligators, sharks, penguins and butterflies have in common? Besides being animals visitors can meet face-to-face at the Tennessee Aquarium, these animals, and all others, depend on healthy habitats in Chattanooga. “Most guests don’t associate river otters with leafy sea dragons before they visit,” said Tim Baker, the Aquarium’s director of education. “But hopefully after meeting some of the world’s most fascinating creatures here, they will understand that our connection to the world at large begins with the Tennessee River.”

Forty years ago spotlighting these connections sparked the first Earth Day celebration, a grass roots movement to protect our vital natural resources. In recognition of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Aquarium is joining more than 100 other zoos and aquariums across North America by hosting a Party for the Planet celebration.

On Saturday, April 24th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors will find family fun, entertainment, special feedings, educational demonstrations and close-up encounters with animals throughout River Journey and Ocean Journey as well as outside on the Aquarium plaza including:

• Backyard Habitat Information with Master Gardeners
• SCUBA divers performing an underwater cleanup of the Tennessee River
• Aquarium costumed characters meet and greet
• Musical Entertainment on the Aquarium Plaza
• Games & learning activities with the Aquarium’s education outreach coordinator Bill Haley  
• Conservation booths and hands-on activities by member organizations of Chattanooga Environmental Education Alliance who will address what people can do to conserve energy, water and clean air
•  “Wild Ocean 3D” at IMAX explores how conservation on land helps marine life
• “Hubble 3D” takes audiences to the edge of the known universe and back, emphasizing the unique and fragile nature of Earth.

Plaza activities are free to members and the public and are presented by Comcast, an official sponsor of the Tennessee Aquarium. (Optional Aquarium Admission is additional for non-members.)

Baker says the Aquarium’s Party for the Planet will be a day of fun that inspires visitors to save green by going green. “Many of the conservation measures not only make sense, they help everyone save money. It’s good for us, good for our waterways and good for the animals that depend upon a clean environment.”

Did you know trash travels?
According to a report released by the Ocean Conservancy on April 13th, 2010, marine debris is one of the greatest global pollution problems. Items discarded along coastal areas and inland waterways, such as the Tennessee River, continue a slow journey to the world’s oceans.

During the 24th annual Coastal Cleanup last year, volunteers removed and recorded 7.4 million pounds of trash in 108 countries. Volunteers found:

- 336 marine animals, including 138 birds, entangled in marine debris. 120 of the animals were still alive and released. Fishing line and nets were some of the most dangerous items, trapping over 200 animals.
- 512,517 cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons, enough to provide a full set of dinnerware to over 100,000 people.
- 58,881 bottles of oil/lube during the cleanup. This is the amount that would be used to change the oil in nearly 12,000 mid-sized cars.

According to Christine Bock, Tennessee River Rescue organizer, last year’s local cleanup effort removed 19 dump trucks full of trash from 18 zones in Bradley, Hamilton and Marion counties. “We urge everyone to pick up what’s left behind by others throughout the year to ensure our trash doesn’t become someone else’s problem,” said Bock.

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