Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell, Ga. has a newly renovated feature for students and faculty – a turtle pond featuring native Georgia freshwater turtles. Alongside the help of a few aquarists from neighboring Georgia Aquarium and Paradise Ponds and Waterfalls, the pond was reconstructed and the turtles’ home revived. The pond and its turtles have been a feature at Clarkdale Elementary for several years and serves as a tranquil spot, but also a visual and tactile learning aid to students about ecosystems and aquatic animals.

Clarkdale's newly renovated turtle pond and plaque dedication

On Friday, February 28, 2020, Clarkdale Elementary students, faculty, and Cobb County Schools administrators unveiled the new turtle pond with a ribbon cutting ceremony. A plaque was also dedicated to Georgia Aquarium and Paradise Ponds and Waterfalls as a thank you for their work.

Senior Director of Fish & Invertebrates at Georgia Aquarium, Chris Coco, and Clarkdale Elementary School Principal, Dr. Liss Maynard during the ribbon cutting ceremony

Georgia Aquarium had an additional surprise for the students in attendance. Through its Sponsored Education Admissions (SEA) Program, the Aquarium supplied the 4th grade class with free admission for a future field trip to the Aquarium. To learn more about Georgia Aquarium’s SEA Program, please click here.

Administrators and aquarists from Georgia Aquarium, Paradise Ponds & Waterfalls, Clarkdale Elementary, and Cobb County Schools at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new turtle pond

Georgia Aquarium and Paradise Ponds and Waterafalls donated their time and materials to help Clarkdale and its turtle pond to ensure its students will continue to learn about freshwater ecosystems and the animals in our waterways.

For more high-res photos for download, please click here.
For b-roll and interview package for download, please click here.
Names for interviews in order of appearance:

  • Dr. Liss Maynard, Principal, Clarkdale Elementary School
  • Chris Coco, Senior director of fish & invertebrates, Georgia Aquarium
  • John Roper, 4th grade teacher, Clarkdale Elementary School
  • Jeff Krenner, Paradise Ponds & Waterfalls 
Clarkdale Elementary School's renovated turtle pond