Move over penguins, the Tennessee Aquarium’s sharks and Mother Nature are now getting a little face time on the Internet

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Tennessee Aquarium education programs manager George Bartnik and education coordinator Jennifer Latour learn about the new weather instruments atop the IMAX 3D Theater from WeatherBug meteorologist Clayton Fain.

Tennessee Aquarium Launches Two New Web Cameras

NOAA Funds Provide Real-Time Tools to Explore Weather and Secret Reef

Chattanooga, Tenn. (October 19, 2010) Move over penguins, the Tennessee Aquarium’s sharks and Mother Nature are now getting a little face time on the Internet. Thanks to a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Aquarium has two new tools to inspire young scientists – an underwater streaming webcam in the Secret Reef exhibit and a real-time weather station with an HD webcam.

The Tennessee Aquarium’s largest exhibit, the Secret Reef, offers 26 windows for viewing marine creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower Garden Banks, one of 13 National Marine Sanctuaries. Guests touring Ocean Journey discover amazing facts about this protected ecosystem and how inland residents are both connected to, and dependent upon, healthy oceans. Offering a virtual dive in the exhibit that models the Flower Garden Banks extends the invitation to learn well beyond Chattanooga.  “We hope this live video feed is fun and educational for people all over the world,” said Tim Baker, the Aquarium’s director of education. “Like our Penguins’ Rock webcam, this technology spurs curiosity about the animals and their habitat, leading viewers to search our website and the Internet for more information.” Take a virtual dive to see SCUBA divers, shark feedings and colorful reef fish at: http://www.tnaqua.org/OurAnimals/SecretReefcam.aspx

The world’s oceans not only support an amazing diversity of life underwater, they also govern climate and weather, making life on land possible. Dr. Sylvia Earle, once NOAA’s chief scientist, reminded inland residents of these connections during a recent visit to the Tennessee Aquarium. “The ocean produces most of the oxygen we breathe and acts as a sink for carbon dioxide,” said Earle. “We need to understand the relevance of the ocean in our lives.”

A new, real-time weather station has been installed atop the IMAX 3D Theater. Instruments are now constantly monitoring and recording weather conditions in downtown Chattanooga. Aquarium educators will use climate data from this new tool in ocean literacy and watershed programs. “This is a great opportunity to build upon our classroom activities,” said George Bartnik, the Aquarium’s education programs manager. “By bringing real-time weather and climate data into programs, students will gain a better understanding of the water cycle, runoff, water quality as well as an appreciation for our water footprint.”

Anyone can now check out the current weather conditions and take a look at downtown Chattanooga 24/7. A live, high-definition webcam is streaming the view of what’s happening in the sky above the Aquarium’s glass peaks. View it at: http://www.tnaqua.org/Education/WeatherBug.aspx

This new weather station may also be added to smart-phones by downloading the WeatherBug app. The real-time view and information can also be shared with friends and family members by adding the Tennessee Aquarium’s weather station to your blog or Facebook page. Download the widgets at: stickers.weatherbug.com.

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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder, appreciation and protection of water and all life that it sustains. Admission is $24.95 per adult and $14.95 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 $29.95 for adults and $19.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Cruise tickets are $29.00 per adult and $21.50 per child (3-12). Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. 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.

ONLINE press kits & downloadable images:
http://www.tnaqua.org/News/Newsroom.aspx

Thom Benson

Communications Manager

Tennessee Aquarium & IMAX Theater

201 Chestnut Street

Chattanooga, TN 37402-1014

direct 423-785-3007   mobile 423-309-7674   fax 423-265-2871

www.tnaqua.org

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www.tnaqua.org

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