Since Courtney Stroh entered her “ROC the Kenai” (Respect Our Community) idea in the annual Caring for the Kenai environmental awareness contest as a Kenai High School freshman she has become a familiar name at City Council meetings and award ceremonies. She has appeared on numerous media news reports and has personally talked with and helped hundreds of visitors during the summer dip net fishery become more aware of the impact improper disposal of fish waste is having on our community. Earlier this year she was chosen as Alaska Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska and will compete for national honors this summer at Disneyland in California. At last weeks Kenai Chamber of Commerce meeting Stroh was presented with another highly esteemed recognition and this time from the President of the United States, Barack Obama for her outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship. “The United States Environmental Protection Agency, through the President’s Environmental Youth Awards Program, congratulates Courtney Stroh on her ‘ROC the Kenai’ project. The EPA is pleased to present this Presidential recognition to Courtney and those who supported and assisted in the project. You have all made an important contribution to the environmental resources of Alaska,” stated the Citation.
According to Sally Hanft, Region 10 President’s Environmental Youth Awards Coordinator, a presentation in Washington D.C. will be announced in a press release at a later date. “It’s an honor for me to receive this award and I’m happy that the City of Kenai is taking measures this summer to mitigate the problem on the beaches with the fish waste. I think it’s a good start and hopefully people will start to pay more attention to the impact they’re having on our beaches when they are dip netting this summer,” said Stroh. So that ROC the Kenai will continue after she leaves for college Stroh has set up a legacy partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs and 4-H, “I hope there will always be youth in ROC the Kenai here, hopefully the fish waste problem will be solved and after that ROC the Kenai and its members can go on to conquer other environmental challenges that our community may have,” she added.
Thursday evening April 18th at 6:00pm this year’s Caring for the Kenai oral presentations will be held at the KCHS Little Theatre, where this year’s 12 finalists will present their ideas on what they can do, create or invent to improve the local environment or prepare for a natural disaster. This year’s finalists will be competing for $28,000 in cash prizes for themselves and their schools. “I would encourage all the finalists to believe in themselves and have confidence in their ideas because ideas become reality and they can all be proud of the work they’ve done thus far and proud to share it with everyone who comes out to hear them. It’s not about where you place in the final 12 it’s about being proud of what you’ve done and willing to work to implement your idea, it’s an exciting opportunity,” advised Courtney Stroh, winner of the 2012 President’s Environmental Youth Award.