Dr. Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of theological ethics, has partnered with the Tennessee Aquarium and Freshwaters Illustrated to develop an environmental curriculum for churches. Thompson wrote “Wherever the River Goes,” a faith-based reflection guide designed to accompany the aquarium’s documentary film, Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia.


Hidden Rivers is feature length one-hour film that explores the rivers and streams of the Southern Appalachian region, North America’s most biologically rich waters. The film follows the work of conservation biologists and explorers throughout the region, and reveals both the beauty and vulnerability of this aquatic life, and how many people are finding ways to protect it.


Hidden Rivers premiered regionally at the Tennessee Aquarium’s IMAX Theater in April 2019, and has since been screened at various regional events across the Southeast.


“Wherever the River Goes” highlights themes from the film and provides a framework for reflection that incorporates scripture, prayers, theological reflection, and poetry and prose selections from a diverse collection of authors. It also offers discussion questions that invite participants to apply the film’s themes in their communities, imagining ways they can protect the freshwaters in their own areas. The reflection guide is divided into four parts that correspond to sections of the film, so the curriculum can take place over three or four meetings, or in one single screening.


Thompson and his collaborators have received a Creation Care grant from The Episcopal Church to produce the guide and to cover screening fees for a pilot cohort of churches. At this point, the team is seeking churches interested in screening the film and hosting a discussion, with the help of aquarium experts, at no cost to the church. Interested churches can contact Andrew Thompson (arthomps@sewanee.edu) or Dr. Anna George (alg@tnaqua.org) for more information about facilitating this exciting curriculum.

For more information about this project, visit https://www.freshwatersillustrated.org/hidden-rivers-reflection.