This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Caring for the Kenai (CFK) competition. On Thursday April 19th fifteen Kenai Peninsula Borough High School students will take the stage at the KCHS Little Theatre to present their ideas on improving our environment or preparing for a natural disaster in this annual Earth Day competition. The finalists will be competing for over $8,000 in cash prizes plus $20,000 in cash grants to their high schools. The annual event is sponsored by Chevron and Tesoro and is part of the Kenai Watershed Forum's educational program. CFK Community Partners contributing $5,000 to the program are The Kenai River Sportfishing Association, ConocoPhillips and The Kenai River Raven Lodge.
The competition will be streamed live over the internet thanks to the Kenai Peninsula School District and Soldotna High School students. Thursday night's link will be easily available by going to www.caringforthekenai.com and clicking on the home page banner.
This year more than 400 students from high schools Borough wide, including Homer, Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Ninilchik, Skyview, and Cook Inlet Academy submitted entries. "It's great to see Homer back in the program, they had some great ideas and very well written proposals," said Dorothy Gray language arts professor Kenai Peninsula College, who scored the essay portion of the entries.
Many of the projects were on display last week at Wal-Mart in Kenai where there was great interest expressed by shoppers, "These kids and there ideas are amazing, we never had anything like this when I was in high school, these kids are not only learning practical science, they are giving back to our community and improving all our quality of life. Hats off to Wal-Mart for showcasing the concerns and work of your young people," commented a shopper.
The CFK community partnership offers cash awards to the best twelve proposals addressing the prompt, "What can I do, invent, or create to better care for the environment on the Kenai Peninsula, or to improve the area's preparedness for a natural disaster?" All judging is done anonymously with the student's name and school being revealed after the final oral presentations. This year's panel of judges includes Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, KPBSD Superintendent of Schools Steve Atwater, John Zager Alaska General Manager for Chevron, Tesoro Plant Manager James Tangaro, Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche, Jade Gamble ADEC environmental waste water engineer, Howard Ferren Director Alaska SeaLife Center director of conservation, Richard Erkeneff, Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc. board member, Laura Anderson AK Dept. Health & Social Services, and last year's CFK winner Kelsie Leaf. The public is encouraged to attend the CFK oral presentations to experience personally the great ideas coming forward from our youth. The program begins at 6:00 pm.