Call time was a cold and dark 5 a.m. on April 16. Floodlights illuminated a patch of grass at La Jolla Cove where hundreds of energetic fans and supporters crowded around famous “Today” show weatherman Al Roker, who was there to make San Diego the first stop on his annual “Lend a Hand Today” charity road trip.
Broadcasting live from the cove that morning, NBC’s Roker revealed Aquatic Adventures, a long time partner with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, as the first charity “Lend a Hand Today” would support. The organization, which provides educational programs to over 90 San Diego schools about marine life, was showered with donations such as scuba gear, computers and office supplies, camping gear, clothing, and more — all unloaded from an 18-foot Penske truck chock full of goods.
Birch Aquarium Director Nigella Hillgarth was also on hand to donate a complimentary full moon Scripps Pier walk to Aquatic Adventures students on-the-air on behalf of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
“We love Scripps!” expressed an overwhelmed Sharla Fisler, executive director of the 8-year-old Aquatic Adventures, upon presentation of the gift.
Other donors helping “lend a hand” to Aquatic Adventures were: Ocean Enterprises, Nike, Columbia Sportswear Company, Office Depot, Sea World, General Mills, Sara Lee, and Penske.
Visit http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/18132515/ to view footage of Scripps’s appearance on the “Today” show.