Excited youngsters eagerly donned life jackets on April 14, 20017
for the chance to learn about navigation and water safety on board
several Corps of Engineers boats docked on the Cumberland River at
Music City’s Riverfront. Throughout the day they participated in
lots of fun activities, learned about Nashville District operations
and missions, and their parents did a lot of "show and tell" on
"Take Your Kids to Work Day".
April 14, 2017 - Civil Engineers Noel Smith and Cody Flatt talk
about hydrographic surveying with kids who boarded the district’s
navigation survey boat as part of the district’s “Take Your Kids to
Work Day” activities at Riverfront in Nashville, TN. (U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers photo by Leon Roberts)
Bobby Jackson, natural resources specialist in the Nashville
District Natural Resources Branch, organized the day’s activities
and asked the children a poignant question about their future when
he gave his opening comments.
“What are you going to do for
the rest of your life for work?” Jackson asked. “You are going to be
working a third of your life and you need to know what you are going
to be doing. Hopefully this event will help guide you.”
Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District
commander, welcomed the kids to the district headquarters and
explained that the work their parents do is important to building,
operating and maintaining the nation’s infrastructure.
the Corps of Engineers we do some incredible things,” Murphy said.
“Your parent works for an organization that is almost as old as the
nation and has been instrumental in making the United States what it
Murphy informed the kids that throughout history
the Corps of Engineers built a lot of great structures, including
the Washington Monument, Pentagon, Panama Canal, not to mention the
modern dams in the Cumberland River Basin.
“We are really
glad you get to come here today to see what we do and what your mom
and dad do,” Murphy said.
Eric Pagoria, civil engineer and
Construction Branch chief, said the Corps of Engineers’ employees
are the nation’s problem solvers who work to support the military
around the world and build the nation’s infrastructure projects such
as levees and dams to reduce the risk of flooding for public safety.
“We are building all these things that help your cities,”
Pagoria said. “We make sure we have clean water. We protect our
nation’s water by cleaning the areas that are contaminated, and
taking care of the environment so you can enjoy it.”
Parks, Nashville District Operations Division chief, said when
projects are constructed, her team is charged with operating and
maintaining them, which include dams, hydropower plants, navigation
locks, recreation areas, hiking trails, campgrounds, playgrounds,
and designated swimming areas.
She added that commodities
such as coal, sand and gravel are moved throughout the inland
waterway system and hydroelectric power makes it to the grid because
of the collective efforts of the district’s maintainers, operators,
navigation experts, water managers and electrical engineers.
The kids were divided into age groups and escorted to Riverfront
Park in Nashville by the Cumberland River. James Sowell and Tim
Rochelle, emergency managers, gave them a tour of a command and
control vehicle. Cordell Hull Lake Park Ranger Ashley Webster talked
about water safety and wildlife. Ben Rohrbach, chief of hydraulics
and hydrology, gave a wetland model demonstration to show the kids
how development can sometimes be harmful to the environment and
increase the risk of flooding.
Carina Long, who spent her
ninth birthday with her father Brad Long, Nashville District Soils
and Dam Safety chief, boarded a navigation survey boat with him
where she saw how the Corps maps the river bottom. Civil Engineers
Noel Smith and Cody Flatt talk about hydrographic surveying with all
of the kids who boarded the district’s navigation survey boat.
“I loved it,” she said. “I liked how the boat rocked back and
April 14, 2017 - Cordell Hull Lake Park Ranger Ashley Webster gives
a presentation on hydropower, water safety and natural resources to
kids participating in the district’s “Take Your Kids to Work Day”
activities at Riverfront in Nashville, TN. (U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers photo by Leon Roberts)
Park Ranger Pamela Backus from Old Hickory Lake supervised kids on a
patrol boat at the dock and encouraged them to stay safe when
boating and swimming at Corps lakes.
"I was really trying to
promote awareness with the safety materials that are on the boat,”
Backus said. “We talked about making sure you stay in the right
navigation channel. We talked about having the right sound-making
equipment. We talked about having the right communication device and
the right size fire extinguisher. They can pass along this
information and know that safety awareness is a big issue.”
She said some kids had never ever been on a boat, so she stressed
that wearing a properly-fitted life jacket is always the number one
In the afternoon the kids toured the district
headquarters and received a hydropower presentation from David
Mistakovich, supervisory electrical engineer and chief of the
Nashville District Hydropower Branch. Brad Bishop, Navigation Branch
chief, gave a presentation about navigation on the Cumberland and
Tennessee Rivers and Mark Elson, Geology Section and Civil Design,
led an interactive activity designed to show how limestone presents
challenges to engineers who design dams.
participated in a number of interactive activities such as building
dams with Legos, working with CAD drawings, and using software for
Peyton Dawson, 7, daughter of Ashley
Williams, administrative specialist in the Civil Design Branch, said
she had a great time going to work with her mother.
learned about electricity and rocks,” Dawson said. “I liked how they
smashed the rocks. I saw boats and this big car. They have this
thing that goes down into the water – it’s a camera to see how deep
the water is. We saw Bobber and learned to always wear a life
A’monte Briscoe, a student at Northwest High School
in Clarksville, Tenn., said he came with a friend and had fun
learning more about the Corps of Engineers and the various career
fields that are available within the organization. He said he
enjoyed learning about engineering and building structures and
At the end of the day, kids received certificates
and had their pictures taken with the commander and Bobber the Water
By Leon Roberts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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