Lake Shelbyville- Maj. Gen. Michael Wehr, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division commander, presented Okaw Valley School District with the 2016 Excellence in Partnership Award today, during a special ceremony at Okaw Valley High School.
The school district was awarded for their efforts in providing middle and high school students with opportunities to assist Corps of Engineers staff at Lake Shelbyville with hands-on projects such as recreation facility improvements and environmental stewardship. Students volunteered a total of 895 hours with an estimated value of $21,086.20.
The partnership includes an agreement for two agricultural leases on Corps land which will serve as an outdoor 'living laboratory' where students gain hands-on experience conducting experiments, recording data, learning sustainable farming and natural resource management practices, accounting, and stewardship of the land.
Local businesses have advanced the partnership by donating farm equipment, seed, fertilizers and computers to assist the students in managing their crops.
“This partnership allows students the opportunity to explore and connect to their public lands,” Wehr said. “Students are gaining real world experience to master skills and increase their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math related fields.”
The unique partnership between the Okaw Valley School District and Lake Shelbyville is an investment in the students, providing work and life skills that will allow them to become responsible citizens in the business and social community.
“Students at Okaw Valley are influential advocates for spreading the Corps’ mission to our future generations,” St. Louis District Commander Col. Anthony Mitchell said. “It is indeed an honor to present the 2016 National Excellence in Partnership award to the Okaw Valley School District.”
Release no. 17-019