MOBILE, Ala. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division has recognized Lake Sidney Lanier Park Ranger Rachel Rush for her outstanding efforts to promote the Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) initiative during the first quarter of 2018.
To take home the top individual honors for the quarter, Rush visited several local schools and spent time with 675 fourth graders.
“I took an idea from a previous district I worked at… and we went out to four local elementary schools and did an hour water safety program and handed out passes,” said Rush. “I really enjoyed engaging with the students and it was a good way to deliver the message.”
While Rush is happy to receive the award, the real prize for her was the opportunity to encourage the kids to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our national park system.
“We live in a technology based society and if you can tear them away from the video games, phones and computers and get them outside, then you can kind of adapt them before they get to old,” she explained. “There are a lot of them who have never been to one of our parks and don’t know what kind of recreation we have to offer. By coming out to the schools they see the type of activities that you can do at the parks, like picnicking and swimming.”
For her efforts, Rush will receive 8 hours paid vacation and a certificate. Looking back on her accomplishment, she credits her success to hard work and dedication to her job.
“I was really excited,” she said. “It is really the effort that I put in that paid off.”
Former President Barack Obama started the EKIP initiative in 2015 to educate children on the natural beauty of our national park system. Under the program, fourth graders and their guardians receive free admission to any U.S. national park for a whole year.
To find out more about the Every Kid in a Park initiative visit https://www.everykidinapark.gov/. To find out more about the recreation opportunities at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project visit http://www.corpslakes.us/.