After selling their Cook Inlet assets Chevron announced this summer that they will continue to be a major sponsor of the Caring for the Kenai environmental awareness contest along with Tesoro Alaska. Kevin Donley, senior council for Chevron Alaska, visited the Peninsula earlier this summer to tour the new Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) facilities in Soldotna and present executive director Robert Ruffner with a $44,000 check for the 2013 Caring for the Kenai (CFK) educational partnership. “For us at Chevron this contribution to continue the Caring for the Kenai program administered by KWF reflects our gratitude to this community and what they have done to support us during all the years we have had here and we felt it very appropriate to continue our presence here by continuing to sponsor this great educational program for 2013. We have been a proud sponsor of CFK since we acquired Unocal’s Cook Inlet assets who was the program’s original sponsor. The program has a long reputation of awards and successes and it’s wonderful to hear as I did today from a past CFK winner Olivia Pfeifer that she got into college because of her CFK project,” said Donley.
Commenting on Chevron’s continued support Ruffner said, “For Chevron to continue to invest in Caring for the Kenai is a significant testament to their corporate citizenship that after having divested themselves of their investments here to recognize the value in continuing these educational programs means a great deal to us. Over the years as I have worked with Chevron personnel on various projects here on the ground it really is heart warming to continue to have their support and we are very appreciative of it,” said Ruffner. The top three CFK finalists this year were all successful in implementing their ideas this summer. Jenna Hansen began her business of turning trash bottles into Sea Glass jewelry, Allison Ostrander organized the Peninsula’s first Salmon Run Series of 5K races that raised over $5,000 to go toward the eradication of invasive plant species that threaten local salmon streams, and for the second summer Courtney Stroh’s R.O.C. the Kenai (Respect Our Community) beach patrol gained statewide media recognition for informing dipnet fishers how to properly dispose of their fish waste and her group effort with 4-H and Boys & Girls Club members to clean up the Kenai beach.
In addition to the Caring for the Kenai program KWF’s education programs include summer day camps for ages 6-12, “KWF strives to enhance the knowledge about watersheds and our environment to both adults and K-12 students. We aim to reach local residents as well as visitors and increase the community’s awareness and knowledge about water and our environment,” explained Ruffner. The CFK program, created by Sikorski Consulting, now in its 23rd year challenges high school students to answer the prompt, “What can I do, invent, or create to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or to help improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?” Annually over $28,000 in cash awards are divided among the top 12 entries and their school’s science classrooms.
According to Donley Chevron will retain their interests on the North Slope and continue to invest in Alaska through those interests. For information about the 2013 CFK contest go to www.caringforthekenai.com and to learn more about all the activities of the Kenai Watershed Forum log on to www.kenaiwatershed.org or like them on Facebook.