Nikiski Captures First Place Honors In 13th Annual "Caring For The Kenai" Competition

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Kristen Frederic, a sophomore at Nikiski High School, seized the coveted "Caring For the Kenai"(CFK) trophy last night, and a $1,500 cash prize by taking top honors in the 13th Annual CFK environmental competition sponsored by Unocal Alaska and Agrium.

Frederic's idea was to convert a shut-in Cook Inlet oil production platform into an alternate energy experimental facility for harnessing tidal and wind power. "I was shocked, I was hoping to do well, I knew I had a good project and that it was up to me to give a good presentation, but I was shocked to win it," said Frederic. Kristen is the daughter of Nikiski science teacher Rick Frederic who was the first teacher to make CFK a classroom assignment 13 years ago.

Taking second place was Jennifer Werth, a SoHi student from Pat Nolden's science class, whose project was to teach little kids what they can do to help protect the Kenai River. For her efforts Werth won $1,000 cash.


Kristin Frederick

In third place and claiming an $800 prize was Matthew Meacham from SoHi. Meacham built a trail that leads from Redoubt Elementary to the Kenai River connecting archeological sites and educational opportunities. "Entering the CFK was an opportunity to give back to my community that has given so much to me," said Meacham.

Taking fourth place honors and $600 was Tatiana Butler of Nikiski High School who has an idea to clean up fish waste that accumulates from dip netters every season.

Coming in fifth and winning $450 was Whitney Cushing, of Homer High, for a recycling project undertaken at his school.

Sixth place and $300 went to Andy Kircher, a freshman at SoHi; Kircher designed a road to allow access to the Kasilof River while preventing erosion.

In addition to the $5,000 in cash awards for the finalists this year, Agrium and Unocal distributed over $7,500 to the science departments of schools that participated in CFK 2003. This year, Homer, Soldotna, Skyview, Nikiski, Seward, and Ninilchik all used CFK as a classroom assignment. Each school receives $500 for participating and the remainder of the $7,500 was allocated to the schools of the finalists proportionately as to how they placed. Again this year the Kenai River Professional Fish Guides Association has invited all finalists on a guided King Salmon fishing trip Sunday, May 17th.

Other finalists who earned $150 cash awards were Cymberly Brendible of SoHi, for her public use fish cleaning table. The team of Kelly King and Brittany Osland of SoHi for their project for river access clean up. From Ninilchik High, A.J. Berger designed a fish waste grinder to help keep Deep Creek beaches clean. Shandra Dahlen of Nikiski created a project to increase awareness of water contamination. Paul Morin of Nikiski circulated a petition on ground water pollution. Laura Rooper of Nikiski enlisted National Honor Society students in a recycling project at her school and the team of Sara Jensen & Allie Schoessler of SoHi had a volunteer plan to collect data on the King Salmon Fishery catch. In addition to the cash awards, all finalists received a 2003 CFK original sports jacket and T-shirt, and will attend an awards banquet hosted in their honor by Unocal and Agrium April 25th, featuring the popular Mike Morgan as the featured entertainment. Again this year all participants will receive the CFK '03 original T-shirt just for entering the contest.

Joining the CFK Judges Panel this year was Lt. Governor Loren Leman, who was born in Ninilchik and graduated from Ninilchik High School. Other judges included Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley, KPBSD Superintendent of Schools Donna Peterson, Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Operations Plant Manager Mike Nugent, Unocal Alaska Operations Coordinator Chris Myers, Executive Director of the Kenai Peninsula Sportfishing Association Brett Huber, Environmental Specialist for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Deric Marcorelle and last year's CFK winner Katlin Vadla, a junior at Soldotna High School.

Assisting backstage with the event was Katie Moerlein, of Ninilchik, Christey Fuhrmann and Heather Barrett, from Skyview. Stage Manager was Teri Loomis of HEA, and George Stein of Lamb, Tuter and Wagner CPA's did the tabulation.

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