Atlanta, GA (November 1, 2005) – Thanks to the vision of Bernie Marcus and the support of Turner Broadcasting System school groups that visit the Georgia Aquarium will not only have animal encounters, interactive activities and research opportunities, but their own level of the Georgia Aquarium, solely dedicated to the students and teachers. The "Learning Loop" is located on a level totally separate from the general public, with its own entrance, cafeteria and learning areas, a concept that has never been attempted in any other aquarium. "I am particularly proud of the educational aspect of the Georgia Aquarium," said benefactor of the Georgia Aquarium, Bernie Marcus, "and the fact that 25 percent of the total facility is dedicated to learning. Our Learning Loop is unlike anything anyone has ever done before. Children and teachers alike are going to be excited and inspired by what they see and do here." Sponsored by Turner Broadcasting and enhanced by the generosity of other donors, the education lessons are aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards and meet National Education Standards, promote a student's academic success and satisfy their curiosity about the aquatic realm. "Education is one of the areas in which our company focuses its local giving, and the Learning Loop at the new Georgia Aquarium is a good fit with our stated commitment to creating and supporting meaningful learning opportunities in the community," said Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. "We are pleased that Turner Broadcasting will make possible a core component of the Aquarium and look forward to working with the staff there to develop a rich environment for young visitors." School group visits will begin January 17, 2006, and more than 70,000 students are expected to experience the Learning Loop each year. Program costs have been kept below $10 per child. "As a former teacher, I take particular pride in the educational aspects of the Georgia Aquarium," said Brian Davis, Director of Education. "As students learn about the waters of the world, they will be entertained and see things they've most likely never seen before-learning all the while. By separating the student and the general public areas, we have enhanced the experience for both groups, allowing visitors room to explore and students on the Learning Loop to focus on the lessons in front of them." An education advisory committee, consisting of thirty individuals who represent various aspects of the educational community, including representatives of the State Board of Education, teachers, administrators, federal agencies and corporations, worked with Aquarium leadership on the programming. Four state-of-the-art classrooms offer students real-life learning using hands-on, inquiry-based investigations. The Georgia Aquarium, through generous corporate donors, offers a sponsored admission program for select schools that need outside resources to participate in the education program. Applications for the sponsored admission program will be available in January 2006. School groups have a choice of two time slots. The morning session is offered 10:00 AM-12:30 PM and the afternoon session is from 1:30 PM until 3:30 PM. Programs are $9.50 per child. Reservation bookings begin October 31, 2005, and appointments can be made by visiting www.georgiaaquarium.org or by calling 404-581-4000. Programs have been created for students based on their age and school level. Here are examples of what the school groups will experience: Deepo Detectives (Grades PreK - 5): The Deepo Detectives program takes students through an underwater mystery. Deepo, the Georgia Aquarium's mascot, helps students crack the case. This exciting program integrates current technology with traditional story telling and allows students to direct the course of the program based on their conclusions! Along the way, they will learn about the life history of some of our aquatic animals and uncover the solution to the mystery using cooperative learning strategies. Aquatic Adventures (Grades K - 8): The Aquatic Adventures program is a guided adventure through three galleries on the learning loop. Students will explore both freshwater and marine environments. They will rotate among the Freshwater, Coral Reef, and Research Galleries. The Freshwater Gallery will focus on the river ecosystem and its inhabitants. The Coral Reef Gallery explores the reef as a living organism. The Research Gallery presents current research topics in an interactive way. Eco-Explorers (Grades 3 - 8): The Eco-Explorers program provides an in-depth look into various parts of the aquatic world. Students will participate in hands-on activities that introduce them to the concept of scientific inquiry, allowing them to interact with animals and collect data for analysis. The intimate setting of our learning labs provides an opportunity for more directed learning while animal interactions reinforce the concepts taught. After participating in our Eco-Explorers program, the junior explorers will emerge from the aquarium with a greater understanding of the role that research plays in their lives. Sea.S.I. (Grades 9 - 12): The Sea.S.I. Program is an investigation into how the nation's largest aquarium operates. The program will begin with a brief overview of the Georgia Aquarium followed by two detailed lessons. Teachers will have the option to choose from the following: Animal Husbandry - Care and maintenance of aquatic animals at the Georgia Aquarium. Research and Conservation - Current research and conservation initiatives at the Georgia Aquarium. Aquatic Engineering - The aquarium's life support systems. Aquatic Appetites - Dietary and nutritional needs of the aquarium's animals. The Georgia Aquarium also offers professional development opportunities for educators. Teachers can immerse themselves in learning and gain valuable content knowledge through hands-on experiences. Offered in the summer, participants are guided through field experiences at various locations along a chosen watershed. Courses include: Creeks to the Coast (3 Professional Learning Units) - Teachers trace a river system from its headwaters to the coast and explore water related issues, and Rivers to Reef (3 Professional Learning Units) - Teachers wade into the water world as they learn about watersheds water quality, and aquatic ecosystems. Additional information on how teachers can take part in these professional development opportunities will be available on the Aquarium Web site in spring 2006. For additional information, contact Donna Fleishman, 404-720-8149 or 770-241-8252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ABOUT THE GEORGIA AQUARIUM The Georgia Aquarium will open in Atlanta, Georgia on November 23, 2005, as the world's largest aquarium facility. With more than 8 million gallons of marine and fresh water, and more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species, the Georgia Aquarium is a gift to the people of Georgia from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, and his wife Billi, through the Marcus Foundation. The Aquarium will be overseen by a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibitions and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and entertaining visitors' experiences, and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Visit www.georgiaaquarium.org for more information. 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