We start this week’s episode at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, to speak with aquatic conservation biologist Bernie Kuhajada about the prehistoric lake sturgeon. Erick learns about this amazing fish, and their threatened status, before heading to Sturgeon Fest. Here, he meets Renée V. Hoyos, Executive Director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, who explains how her organization helps keep our waterways vibrant and safe. Sturgeon Fest, where families participate in celebrating and releasing over 2,000 young lake sturgeon into our lakes and rivers, is an important part of that work.
Jason Henegar, Assistant Chief of Fisheries for TWRA, takes Erick and the crew out on the water to see the results of the work started by events like Sturgeon Fest. They catch mature sturgeon to take tissue samples and insert a PIT tag before releasing them back to the water.
Erick and the crew take a step back from looking to the future and go to Shiloh, where Superintendent Dale Wilkerson explains the importance of remembering the devastating toll of the Civil War battle that took place here. Erick learns why men like Lee Miller of the 51st Tennessee Infantry Regiment take the time to follow in the footsteps of men who died 150 years ago.
This is an episode that reminds us of how our actions today can affect the future. We can pollute our environment to decimate populations of natural species, or we can work to care for our beautiful state and its native inhabitants. We can also choose to honor the past in the hopes that we won’t repeat its devastating mistakes.