By Brannen ParrishJuly 30, 2018
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, Park Ranger, Shawna Polen was recognized recently for her outstanding contributions in interpretation and environmental education based upon her demonstration of creativity and originality to provide a positive experience for visitors to Canton Lake, Oklahoma.
Polen's traits include a unique ability to infuse creativity, innovation and teamwork into the Canton Lake Project Office's interpretive program, which she demonstrated as a member of the Tulsa District's Innovations Team.
Polen, an original Innovations Team member, has been working on the Junior Ranger App project for the past two years.
"The Junior Park Ranger App mission is to teach the public about the Corps of Engineers and the nature aspects of what we do," said Polen. "The whole program is geared toward ages six to 12. And when they play through the app, work through the app, from beginning to end, they'll have learned something new," said Polen.
"After completing the Junior Ranger Program, the child can visit the lake office to receive a certificate and meet the lake office staff," added Polen. "So not only does it grow our Junior Ranger Program for the Corps of Engineers, they get a learning experience along with it and get to make face-to-face contact with a park ranger at the end."
According to Don Underwood, Canton Lake Manager, Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Polen's performance in interpretive programs benefits the visitors and lake office staff enormously.
"I don't think we could ask for anybody that's more in tune with what we do ranger-wise. She's very people oriented, and aware of our image, " said Underwood. "She's engaged in that interpretive world. She has a knack for being able to just bring little mundane things like construction paper and few staples to life."
The Tulsa District, Innovations Team is the first of its kind in the Corps of Engineers. Its members select projects that will improve processes and service to visitors of Corps projects for the public good.
The Junior Ranger App is still in production and Polen said they hope to release it to the public in the next few months.