published on 12/05/2008
NFL Star Chad Pennington Helps Aquarium Score New Wheels
Communications Manager Tennessee Aquarium & IMAX Theater
The Tennessee Aquarium is well known for bringing huge catfish, toothy sharks and playful penguins to downtown Chattanooga, but many people may not know about the Aquarium’s education department and the efforts to bring environmental science programs into classrooms throughout the region.
Each year, the Aquarium provides more than $1 million in free educational programs and services to communities within 150 miles of Chattanooga. Many of these programs are delivered by Bill Haley, the Aquarium’s education outreach coordinator. Since 1997, Haley has almost literally driven the wheels off the Aquarium’s original outreach van. In the education outreach world, Haley has put up some hall-of-fame stats in the past ten years:
- Logging over 150,000 miles traveling to area schools and public libraries.
- Delivering nearly 5,000 programs.
- Reaching over 260,000 people.
- Receiving the 2007 Informal Environmental Educator of the Year from the Chattanooga Environmental Educators Association.
To help keep this educational drive alive, NFL quarterback Chad Pennington has passed along a generous grant so the Aquarium could purchase a new outreach vehicle. Thanks to Pennington’s 1st and 10 Foundation, the Tennessee Aquarium was able to purchase a 2009 Saturn Vue hybrid electric vehicle. “We wanted something with a smaller carbon footprint than our current van, but large enough to have sufficient cargo space for education materials and animal transport containers,” Haley said. “Plus, this one has a real snazzy vehicle wrap that should help get students excited about our lessons.”
Haley’s new ride ensures he won’t be sidelined by the maintenance needs of an aging, high-mileage van. Like a scrambling quarterback, it’s hard to know where you’ll catch up to Haley. With this new grant and ongoing support for educational outreach programs provided by Tennessee American Water, Haley will continue to serve 33 counties in Tennessee, 15 Georgia counties and eight counties in Alabama. “Ultimately we hope to reach an additional 300,000 people over the course of the next ten years,” said Tim Baker, the Aquarium’s director of education.
The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $19.95 per adult and $12.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $8.50 per adult and $6.00 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $25.95 for adults and $17.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities.