News Stories

Park Ranger Schaefer wins SAD First Quarter Educational Award

USACE, Mobile District
Published May 28, 2024
Park Ranger standing in front of a building.

Park Ranger Shannon Schaefer stands in front of the Walter F. George Project Management Office on May 10, 2024, in Eufaula, Alabama, for her Quarter 1 South Atlantic Division Education Award. (U.S. Army Photo by Joshua Davis)

Park Ranger showing students how to put on a life jacket.

Park Ranger Shannon Schaefer teaches a water safety lesson to Eufaula second grade students on April 15, 2024, in Eufaula, Alabama. This lesson is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collaboration with the Eufaula Recreation Center for the Water Safety Program. (U.S. Army photo by USACE Volunteer)

Three people standing in front of a booth.

Park Ranger Shannon Schaefer and USACE volunteers present water safety facts a booth during the National Peanut Festival on May 9, 2024, in Dothan, Alabama. They distributed free lifejackets as prizes and promoted water safety. (U.S. Army photo by USACE Volunteer)

By Travis England

Eufaula, AL. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Shannon Schaefer has been recognized by the South Atlantic Division for her outstanding dedication to community education at the Walter F. George Lake project. Through meticulously planned programs and innovative outreach efforts, Schaefer has engaged audiences of all ages and made a significant impact on the community.

“Shannon does an excellent job with our water safety program,” said Josh Davis, Walter F. George Lake Chief Ranger. “She coordinates our efforts to get the water safety message our far and wide here at Walter F. George Lake. She works with the Eufaula Parks and Recreation to enhance their program that teaches youth how to swim.”

Two programs stood out during the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 among the many impactful initiatives. Shannon conducted poolside water safety programs with Eufaula, Alabama, second-grade students, where they learned about personal floatation devices (PFDs), water safety, and rescue techniques. These sessions, held in collaboration with the Eufaula Recreation Center’s staff, provided hands-on experiences that reinforced safety practices.

Additionally, Shannon’s participation in the National Peanut Festival was noteworthy. By distributing free PFDs as booth prizes, she effectively employed resources and promoted water safety among children and their families. These unused PFDs found a new purpose in enhancing community safety.

“Firstly, I need to get in contact with organizations and schools to see what their needs and interests are. Once an audience is gained, I must engage them with interactive games and prompting questions, like the capsized boating simulation for water safety or animal charades with environmental education,” Shannon explained.

Shannon’s approach to education emphasizes interactive, hands-on experiences and visuals to engage her audience. Her efforts have been well-received, particularly the annual collaboration with the Eufaula Recreation Center, where second graders eagerly participate in learning swimming skills and water Safety.

Through innovative programming and engaging presentations, Shannon educated more than 3,000 students throughout the first quarter. Her dedication and creativity in community outreach have educated and inspired the community, leading to a noticeable improvement in community safety and awareness. This makes her a deserving recipient of this award.

“This award means that it’s not just a job, and it’s not just looked at like it’s just a job; it’s more,” Shannon said. “I am grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to make a difference in my community.”