Park Ranger Sarah Peace, a natural resource specialist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s Center Hill Lake in Lancaster, Tenn., is the Employee of the Month for January 2014.
Peace is being lauded for serving as project lead for water safety and environmental education programs at the lake and taking the initiative to form a Junior Ranger Program in partnership with DeKalb West Elementary School.
At the school, Peace shares her expertise about water safety, natural resources, hydropower, wildlife, Corps history and other topics with the second-grade students. She spends time in the classroom and the kids occasionally take field trips to locations around the lake to learn about the Corps of Engineers’ missions.
“Sarah’s superb commitment to water safety and involvement with the local community reflect positively on her,” said Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander.
Hudson said Peace’s dedication goes beyond this new program, noting that she recently coordinated the Caring Adults Touching Children’s Hearts (CATCH) fishing event and an Environmental Awareness Day and scheduled weekly water safety programs at Lighthouse Christian Camp.
Peace has been a park ranger with the Corps for five years and at Center Hill Lake for almost a year. Before that she served two years at Cordell Hull Lake, which is just down the road in Carthage, Tenn., and previously worked at Lake Cumberland in eastern Kentucky.
During the recreation season, Peace said she embraces her responsibility to look after the safety of people who come to recreate and play in the water.
“I enjoy meeting people and having influence on their lives while they’re out there – I want them to have fun while they’re at the lake and I also want to make sure they are safe and just enjoy everything that we have to offer,” Peace said. “I like seeing happy people and knowing I helped with that.”
She said being a park ranger has transformed her into a “people person.” That makes her happy and, according to her supervisor, well suited to working with kids and the public in general.
Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake natural resource manager, said Peace has formed strong relationships with community civic organizations and received great support from the entire staff.
“In terms of educating the public on the benefits of Nashville District’s multipurpose lake projects, Ranger Sarah Peace is one of the most dedicated and creative individuals I know,” Salvilla said.
Salvilla added that the staff at Center Hill Lake is proud to work alongside Peace and often compliment her initiative and can-do attitude.
“Center Hill Lake is lucky to have Sarah as a member of the team and we are looking forward to her initiating many great water safety and environmental education programs in the future,” Salvilla said.
Peace said her selection as employee of the month came as a surprise, but noted that it is nice being recognized for her work with kids, which is the activity where she gets the most reward.
“I just love seeing them, like how excited they get to learn about something that’s not just sitting in the classroom writing on the board,” Peace said. “And they get to learn a bit more about the Corps and the rangers and see what we’re doing.”
Peace also gives credit to her coworkers and supervision that often help her with the community initiatives.