The Annual "Caring For The Kenai" (CFK) environmental awareness contest sponsored by Unocal Alaska and Agrium Nitrogen Products is in full swing.
For the last 12 years the CFK community partnership has challenged high school students to answer the question, "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?"
The deadline for entries was March 15th, the day before spring break for Peninsula students. Entries from high schools, private, and home schools throughout the Kenai Peninsula School District were received at the Kenai River Center in Soldotna, and the CFK evaluation process launched.
More than 20 community volunteers from a cross section of local businesses and organizations went to work to select this year's 12 CFK finalists. From all of the entries submitted, 120 were selected as Semi-finalists. Then the more than 20 Semi-finalist sponsors selected entries for special recognition that included a variety of awards that ranged from Challenger Learning Center missions, to Tesoro gas coupons, outings with a renowned beetle biologist, certificates and cash, to Kenai Fjord cruises.
SoHi science teacher Pat Nolden, Deric Marcorelle, ADEC, and Lisa Parker, Agrium public relations, review some of this year's CFK Semi-finalists award winner entries.
Additionally, the Kenai River Professional Guide Association will be taking all 120 of the CFK Semi-finalists on a guided fishing trip May 19th. "Our Guide Association received permission to do two charitable fishing days this year from Alaska State Parks and the Department of Fish & Game, so our board decided to reward these high school CFK kids who have worked hard to come up with the best ideas to improve our local environment with one of those days," said Steve McClure, Vice President of the Guide Association.
A panel of 8 judges, made up of educators and local professionals, spent all day March 26th selecting 12 of the 120 Semi-finalists to make oral presentations of their ideas and compete for $5,000 in U.S. Savings bonds for themselves, and $5,000 in cash for their school's science department.
The names and schools of the 12 finalists are always kept confidential until after the judging of the oral presentations, so that there is no perceived bias by the judges. Following the April 12th finals at the KCHS Little Theatre, names, photos and descriptions of the 12 winning ideas are published in the Peninsula Clarion and the Dispatch, compliments of the contest sponsors. All students who entered the contest will receive a CFK 2002 T-shirt, produced this year by Ann Wilson's Soldotna High School art department.
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