Ford City, Pa. (May 8, 2013)--Most days, parents run out of the house for work and leave their children to attend school, but April 25 was not like most days for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District employee and his daughter.
Bring Your Child to Work Day is an event designed to open the eyes of children to the opportunities that awaits them in today's workforce.
This year, Crooked Creek Lake hosted Maggie Isler, 10, daughter of Bob Isler, a district maintenance worker.
Maggie was exposed to the daily efforts of project personnel, and was very excited to have an opportunity to come and spend the day with Ranger April Hawkey.
"Months ago, Bob asked me if Maggie could spend the day with me," Hawkey said. "Maggie is at the age where she wants to learn. All I had to do was make it somewhat interesting."
Having Maggie participate in the program was important to Isler, but it was just as important to have her spend the day with right ranger.
"Maggie reminds me a lot of April, they're both intelligent, love the outdoors and love nature," Isler said. "That's why I asked April to spend the day with Maggie. I knew she would be a good influence on her."
Maggie assisted Hawkey in completing various tasks, including collecting water samples, conducting safety inspections of the facility's recreational sites, and what Maggie called the "high-points of her day," observing one of the resident Bald Eagles flying and feeding her two eaglets.
Additionally, Maggie, who likes black and white cows or Belted Galloway cattle, saw them for the first time while passing a cattle farm riding from one site to the next.
"You never know when or where kids are going to learn," Hawkey said. "I could hear her whisper 'whoa' the first time she saw the eagle flying back to the nest. Then, 'I can see two' when we confirmed there were two eaglets in the nest. But, when she saw the cows, her eyes just about popped out of her head."
"I had the opportunity to show her two things she had never seen before. Now that's cool," Hawkey said.
Coincidently, Maggie's fourth-grade science class is learning about dam uses and construction.
For Maggie, learning about dams in school was one thing, but seeing one first-hand was, as she described it, "pretty cool and really big."
"Maggie is a smart girl that isn't afraid to ask questions, and I could tell she was really interested," Hawkey said.
Bring Your Child to Work Day is an educational program that evolved from Take Your Daughter to Work Day a few years ago when it started including sons.
Last year, Isler brought his eldest son to work, but this year was Maggie's turn because he said he wanted her to appreciate the environment and learn some science.
Next year, Isler plans to bring his youngest child to work.
"This program teaches work ethics," Isler said. "I always tell my children that I'm not going to support them the rest of their lives. This program reinforces the principle that with a little bit of blood, sweat and yes, tears -- you get a great reward in the end. Plus, they get to experience what their parents do to make their lives easier. I think this program is great."