With a nod to Earth Day, Dr. Anna George, director of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, gave students from Ivy Academy a lesson of hope Thursday as they helped place 36 lake sturgeon into the Tennessee River at Coolidge Park.
Lake sturgeon have a dinosaur-like appearance and can live about 100 years. The fish are listed as endangered in Tennessee because of overfishing, water pollution and habitat destruction when the rivers were dammed.
George and the Ivy Academy youngters released 6- to 7-year-old fish that were raised in North Georgia by the conservation institute. Since 2000, the aquarium and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have reintroduced about 90,000 sturgeon in East Tennessee, re-establishing a self-sustaining population will take many years.
If the fish survive, they may could grow to 8 feet long and 300 pounds.