First Kenai River Cleanup yields tons of trash

The City of Soldotna teamed up with the Kenai River Professional Guide Assoc. (KRPGA) and the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce this year to host the first Kenai River Spring Cleanup from May 11th through the 17th. As part of the cleanup, KRPGA hosted a Kid’s River Cleanup day Friday the 16th, “The Kid’s day” came about as a replacement for the Take a Kid Fishing day, because of the king salmon closure on the river this year. It was an event that the guides really liked and we didn’t want to discontinue working with the kids so we thought doing this with the school kids would be an excellent way to give back to the river and teach the kids stewardship of the wonderful resource we all enjoy so much,” said Mark Glassmaker, KRPGA member.

All the trash that was collected on Friday was brought to Centennial Park where Soldotna Mayor Dr. Nels Anderson presented awards in the following categories: Most Trash Picked Up By a School: Redoubt Elementary 840 lbs. Sterling Elementary, Cook Inlet Academy & Connections Home School program kids also picked up trash. 1,783 lbs was the combined total for schools. Most Trash Picked Up by a Group went to Integrity Janitorial with 301 lbs collected. Most Trash Picked Up by an Individual was Osrick White coming in with 168 lbs of trash. The combined grand total equaled 2,494 lbs. Guides along with their teachers worked alongside the kids and all wore personal floatation jackets.

Ms. Jen Wardis, Redoubt Elementary 6th grade teacher was on hand with her kids and told the Dispatch, “We were very excited to help clean up one of our favorite community resources and it was the perfect culmination to a lot of what my students learned this year in school about respecting nature and giving back.” Sixth grader Dillon said, “We’re finding metal, fishing line, fishing poles and lead weights and a lot of other garbage and debris that doesn’t belong in the river,” he told the Dispatch. Plans are underway to make the Kenai River Spring Cleanup and Kids Day an annual event.