Twin Cities native, Parr, named Director of DPA Wildlife Dept.
John Parr has begun serving Discovery Park in the role of director of the wildlife department. He has been working part-time as a docent here at Discovery Park while working at Baptist Health Science University as a health science instructor. He served as a coach, science teacher and STEM Ed leader for the Union City School system from 2011 to 2020. He has been an instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dyersburg State and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He received his Bachelor’s in Biology from UT Martin, his Master of Education from William Carey University and a Doctor of Philosophy, Biology and Science Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Additionally, he has experience in writing numerous grant proposals, developing curriculum on a variety of topics.
Discovery Park’s Wildlife department focuses on the natural history of Northwest Tennessee and Reelfoot Lake. Designated by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark, this beautiful scenic lake covers 25,000 acres of water and wetland where a huge variety of plants and animals make a unique ecosystem unlike anything else in the world. Included in Discovery Park’s Regional History gallery is a 20,000-gallon aquarium that features bass, crappie, gar, catfish and other fish native to the region. Housed in several smaller tanks in the gallery are turtles like a red-eared slider, snapping turtle and eastern box turtle.
There are also several snakes, including a speckled king snake, corn snake and northern pine snake. The museum and heritage park offers wildlife-focused classes, educational opportunities and interactive experiences for all ages. “Our mission is to inspire children and adults and to see beyond,” said Jennifer Wildes, Discovery Park’s senior director of collections and exhibits. “Our wildlife is a guest favorite, and we’re thrilled John will be applying his extensive experience in education to this area of Discovery Park.”
For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com or call 731-885-5455.
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