Caring for the Kenai (CFK) recently announced that Tesoro has committed to be the signature sponsor for the organization’s national award winning environmental awareness competition. Now in its 24th year, CFK offers high school students on the Kenai Peninsula the opportunity to make a difference in their local community. The annual contest awards students and schools for the best proposals to the prompt, “What can I do, invent, create or improve to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or to better prepare for a natural disaster?”
“Today’s students are the driving force behind tomorrow’s communities. They must be given every opportunity to learn and to believe in themselves, academically and personally,” said James Tangaro, Vice President Tesoro Kenai Refinery. “Tesoro is proud to partner with Caring for the Kenai, an organization that delivers this opportunity and truly inspires our future leaders.”
The innovative ideas shared through this program have encouraged Kenai residents to be better prepared for natural disasters and to be proactive in protecting the community. CFK maintains a close partnership with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD), and many of CFK’s project submissions come from the collaborative curriculum in the science and language arts classrooms.
“One of our challenges is providing real life learning opportunities for students to apply the skills learned in school. The Caring for the Kenai competition is a great way to meet this challenge. This competition is a mainstay of our high school experience and is a unique way to bring several community entities together. KPBSD is grateful for Tesoro’s sponsorship of this event and knows that this support benefits many of our classrooms,” said Dr. Steve Atwater, KPBSD superintendent. CFK explores and uncovers the thoughts and ideas of area youth to discover ways to be better environmental decision makers.
“It’s just awesome that the Kenai Peninsula has the opportunity to have a meaningful environmental education program that is based on high school students’ ideas and actions. This is not a program structured with ideas provided to our young people by someone, but rather one where their life experiences here on the Kenai Peninsula are used to help solve real-world concerns that they have. Our staff and board are very appreciative of Tesoro’s willingness to step forward as the signature sponsor of Caring for the Kenai community partnership,” said Robert Ruffner, Executive Director Kenai Watershed Forum.
Courtney Stroh, KCHS junior whose Caring for the Kenai “ROC the Kenai” idea won her the ’13 Presidents Environmental Youth Award will be honored at an EPA environment summit scheduled in Anchorage in February.
Learn more at CFK’s remodeled website at www.caringforthekenai.com.