Finalists chosen for 23rd Annual "Caring for the Kenai"

With high schools from Seldovia to Seward participating in this year’s Caring for the Kenai (CFK) environmental and disaster preparedness contest, a panel of eight judges from the professional community has selected twelve Kenai Peninsula Borough high school students to compete for over $28,000 in cash awards in the oral presentation phase of the CFK program sponsored by Tesoro and Chevron.


From the more than 400 entries submitted in this year’s CFK over 160 were advanced to the semi-finalist round of judging. Semi-finalist entries will be on display Saturday April 6th at the Wal-Mart store in Kenai.

The CFK competition offers over $8,000 in 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?” Participating schools this year included Voznesenka, Seldovia, Homer, Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Skyview, Ninilchik, and Seward.

“The District’s students greatly appreciate both Chevron and Tesoro’s generous sponsorship of this important annual event,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendant Steve Atwater.

“The opportunity that Caring for the Kenai offers our students to showcase their creativity and ingenuity is unsurpassed,” added Dr. Atwater. The CFK educational partnership is part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District science curriculum. This year $20,000 will be awarded to participating schools thanks to a matching grant from Chevron, Tesoro, Kenai River Raven Lodge, Kenai River Sportfishing Association Conoco Phillips and Hilcorp. The $20,000 in CFK grants will be divided proportionately to participating schools based on where their students place in the final oral presentation competition to be held Thursday, April 18th at the KCHS Little Theatre, starting at 6:00pm.

Melissa Crezee is a Process Engineer for Tesoro Alaska who entered CFK in 1993 when she was a sophomore at Skyview High School and this year was drafted to be a member of the judge’s panel that was tasked to select the top 12 to give oral presentations. “I’m amazed at the diversity and originality of ideas the students have come up with, judging is so much different than doing the assignment. My teacher that assigned CFK when I was in high school influenced me loving science and pursuing it as a career. What I missed back then was the practicality and implementation that today’s CFK students are putting forth with their real life projects and that is exactly what I do today as an engineer at Tesoro,” said Crezee in an interview.

In addition to the recognition and prizes that go to the 12 finalists each year, CFK’s Student Recognition award program continues to grow with over 30 local sponsors presenting special recognition awards to entries of the sponsor’s selection. Recipients will be announced in a Peninsula Clarion full page ad. The 12 CFK finalists will remain anonymous until after their oral presentations Thursday, April 18th.

This year’s CFK competition will be streamed live over the internet by Soldotna High School technology students and has been viewed in the past in countries such as Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Greenland and Japan. The live feed, complete history and details of the CFK program are available at . Become a Facebook friend of Caring for the Kenai or CFKenai on Twitter. CFK is part of the Kenai Watershed Forum’s educational program.