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Corps Lakes Gateway > Florida > Lake Okeechobee > Partners in Action


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Partners in Action

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American Red Cross, Lee County
Florida Department of Transportation

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Protecting Lives Through Education

Park Ranger Robert Schnell shows a young student how to get into and adjust a PFD while in the water.
Volunteers Earl and Carolyn Rich instruct a class of students in the proper fir for PFDs.

Lake: Okeechobee Lake, FL

Partners: USACE; American Red Cross, Lee County

Partnership Type: Challenge Cost Share Agreement

Corps POC: Robert Schnell, Park Ranger

Story: In a mutually benficial agreement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the American Red Cross, Lee County Chapter (ARC) have teamed up to work cooperatively to make water safety education materials available to elementary school students throughout south Florida. The partners have teamed up for the next five years to stretch their budgets and expand mutual projects while reaching a larger number of students. Through combining the Corps water safety campaign with the ARC "Whales Tales" curriculum and using volunteers and Park Rangers to "float" the message, over 20,000 kindergartners through fifth-grade students were taught in the fall of 2002 and winter of 2003. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the state of Florida leads the nation in water-related accidents and deaths. So why not be prepared - and who better to prepare? Our youth - that's who! At Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway we take water safety seriously, especially when we have the second-largest freshwater lake in the continental United States and 152 miles of navigable waterway with over 6 million project visits annually. Park Rangers and volunteer staff promote water safety year-round by providing informative talks to children and adults, attending community festivals and events, and distributing water safety items.

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