Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 29, 2019

Film explores Appalachia’s hidden aquatic wonders

The brilliant yellow and red spawning colors of the Tennessee dace contrast against the lush green forests surrounding a small stream in the Cherokee National Forest. - Photograph provided

The complex lacework of rivers and streams flowing through Southern Appalachia teems with a variety of rarely-seen wildlife.

More than 1,400 aquatic species live within a 500-mile radius of Chattanooga, including three-quarters of the United States’ fish species, 90 percent of American mussels and crawfish, 80 percent of North America’s salamanders and half of its freshwater turtles.

Yet despite the nearness of this biological abundance, few Southerners have had the opportunity to peek below the surface to see their aquatic neighbors for themselves.

The Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater will premiere April 4 a new documentary, “Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia,” which offers the next best thing to trekking to a nearby stream with a snorkel and dive mask.

Freshwaters Illustrated began working on “Hidden Rivers” in 2011 with the aim of documenting the unseen beauty of animals living in Appalachian waters. After almost a decade of biannual visits to the region for shoots lasting six weeks or more, the filmmakers have captured scenes packed with vividly colored animals and behaviors seen by few outside the conservation and scientific communities.

Audiences will witness neon-bright spawning fish, minnows that build nests from pebbles and mussels who lure fish close enough to immobilize them and force them to serve as caretakers for their larvae.

To celebrate the debut of “Hidden Rivers,” the IMAX 3D Theater will host a premiere event sponsored by TVA on Thursday, April 4. The evening will begin with a reception in the theater lobby at 6 p.m., followed by the screening at 7 p.m. and a post-film discussion with the film’s producer.

Tickets include the screening, a drink ticket and light appetizers. Register online

Source: Tennessee Aquarium