ACA is proud to present a Presidential Award to the College of Life Foundation! This award is given by the President of the ACA Board of Directors to individuals for outstanding service to the ACA on a national level.
As an ACA Paddle America Club, the College of Life Foundation has developed programs in the following categories: Competition, Stewardship, Education and Instruction, and Community Outreach.
They launched Calusa Palooza as an ACA sanctioned race which will become an annual event. The race included canoe, kayak, and SUP categories with a free 1 mile Kid race.
College of Life Foundation planned and facilitated a restoration project along the Estero River. The 7 mile river was littered with debris, crippled by non-native, invasive species, blocked by downed trees, and an eyesore for families as a railroad bridge was covered in graffiti. The Foundation partnered with Lee County Natural Resources on removal and treatment of the invasive species and removal of the downed trees. Within two weeks, native vegetation began to grow! The Foundation partnered with local businesses and volunteers to paint the graffiti covered Seminole Railroad Bridge; a climbing club from FGCU rappelled over the bridge to reach the suspended parts over the river. ACA/LL Bean provided a grant for this project and liability coverage. Then, the Foundation organized a trash / litter pick up of the 7 miles of Estero River that empties into the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve.
Partnership was key in completing this project. The Seminole Railroad only granted permission after the Foundation had requested permission to paint the bridge - after three years of emailing and letter writing. Partners in the community rallied around this event and were so grateful for a clean river to enjoy paddlesports with their families.
Thank you for all of your work that has improved the paddling community!
If you would like more information about the ACA's National Awards, please follow www.americancanoe.org/Awards