The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI) has announced plans tobuild the only freshwater science center in the Southeast. The 14,000 square foot facility will be located on the south campus of Baylor School in Chattanooga. The biological field station will house propagation systems for reintroduction programs, three fully-equipped labs for researchers, a spacious teaching lab for rising high school and college students, as well as meeting space for collaborative projects with other scientists.
“Our role in collaborative conservation planning allows our research to have a direct and lasting impact throughout the region,” said Dr. Anna George, director of TNACI. “We work with other conservation managers in the Southeast to ensure that as our region grows, we are able to preserve the freshwater animals and habitats that support our quality of life.”
Leading up to creating a centralized hub, TNACI has been hiring additional experts. Scientists with extensive backgrounds in conservation genetics, field biology, cave biology, and geographic information systems are now on staff. The team’s scope of work is expanding to include new research projects with turtles and salamanders. Dr. George plans to have eight to 10 scientists and educators moving into the new building when the doors open in the late summer or fall of 2016.
The new location will connect TNACI to the Tennessee River, and opens the door for more educational opportunities throughout the region. These programs will focus on high school, college, and graduate students who are dedicated to careers in environmental science.
With continued community support, the Aquarium hopes to grow its commitment to freshwater science to $8 million over the next five years.
Source: Some information from the Tennessee Aquarium