Channeling the energy and ambition of Tennessee's youth to take action in hands-on conservation
Director of Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, Anna George is passionate about conserving and restoring southeastern aquatic species and habitats. She organized the first three meetings of the Southeastern Fishes Council—a gathering of scientists and managers—which has produced publications on prioritizing rivers for fish conservation, best practices for the captive propagation of imperiled fishes, and conservation needs for the 12 most imperiled fish species in the Southeast. She has also initiated a partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Conasauga River Alliance to restore the habitat of a spring in northwest Georgia that contains a rare species of fish, and leads a twice-yearly, hands-on program in regional rivers that gets area students involved in improving their watershed, among her other conservation ventures.
For her TogetherGreen Fellowship project, she created a new residential summer camp for high school students, Conservation Leadership in Action Week (CLAW). Twenty students attended a week-long camp to explore the southeastern conservation community and learn how to become environmental leaders. Each day of the week addressed a different conservation theme for activities. Students participated in paddling, hiking, snorkeling, and biking trips, sampled local foods and learned how to prepare meals that are healthy for them and their environment.
Anna empowered her campers by providing them with knowledge of hands-on projects for conserving freshwater ecosystems and protecting biodiversity.
She has already had her second CLAW program and she hopes to continue the thriving summer camp with a week for new campers and a two-week session for returning students who are ready to tackle more challenging conservation projects.