KCHS takes 1st CFK Championship in 15th Annual CFK competition...

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2005


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  1st Place CFK winner Hannah Watkins of KCHS, 2nd Place Katie Thornton & Kelsey Shields, of Skyview, and 3rd Place Maureen McCombs of Ninilchik take top honors at last week's CFK competition.

CFK finalists Katie Thornton & Kelsey Shields make their oral presentation at 15th CFK finals.

For the first time in the 15 year history of the "Caring For The Kenai" (CFK) environmental awareness contest, a student from Kenai Central High School has captured the coveted CFK trophy. Last night Hannah Watkins from Chris Bergholtz's science class won the $1,500 cash prize by taking top honors in the 15th annual CFK environmental competition sponsored by Unocal Alaska and Agrium. Watkins wrote and illustrated a series of natural disaster preparedness books for pre-schoolers, and said she will save the money for college.

Taking second place was the team entry of Katie Thornton and Kelsey Shields from Skyview High School who devised a plan to recycle plastic bottles from area schools. The team wrote and sang an original composition that accompanied their presentation. For their efforts the team won $1,000 cash.


1st Place CFK winner Hannah Watkins of KCHS, 2nd Place Katie Thornton & Kelsey Shields, of Skyview, and 3rd Place Maureen McCombs of Ninilchik take top honors at last week's CFK competition.

In third place and claiming an $800 prize was Maureen McCombs from Ninilchik High School, who devised a program to increase public awareness about flooding. "I created a volunteer program so people would have warning of pending floods so they can take action to prevent destruction to their property or get residents to safety," said McCombs.

Taking fourth place honors and $600 was a SoHi student Michael Bruxvoort who dazzled the audience with his alternate energy producing "Gadget" that generates power from a paddle wheel placed in a river. Burxvoort has obtained a permit to test his "Gadget" this summer.

Coming in fifth and winning $450 was Katarina Hall another Ninilchik student from Penny Vadla's class. Her idea was to combine recycled plastic with beetle killed spruce tree chips to produce an extruded lumber product.

Sixth place and $300 went to the team of Jennifer Werth and Sarah Jensen from Skyview who demonstrated an alternative to high saline producing water softeners.

In addition to the $6,000 in cash awards for the finalists this year Agrium, Unocal, and the Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc, awarded $10,000 to the science departments of schools that participated in CFK 2005. This year Soldotna, Skyview, Nikiski, Seward, Ninilchik and Kenai all used CFK as a classroom assignment. Each school receives $500 for participating and the remainder of the $10,000 will be allocated to the schools of the finalists proportionately as to how their students placed. Additionally, 40 semi-finalist entries received special recognition awards from community sponsors.

Other CFK finalists who earned $150 cash for their oral presentations were Harley Maxon of Skyview, for his proposal to use a "sock buoy" to skim hydrocarbons from the Kenai River. Ellen Holt from SoHi designed and utilized an environmental coloring book and lesson plan for students K-2nd grade. The team of Sarah Clinton and Camille Eberline from Skyview proposed an idea to reduce indoor air pollution using plants. A Soldotna High School team of Brittany Osland and Deana Glick created an idea to utilize wind power as an alternate energy source for private homes. Jenna Merriman designed a CFK Monopoly like board game to teach kids environmental lessons, and Leslie Krusen, of KCHS got the panel of judges thinking about his idea to stop bluff erosion at the mouth of the Kenai River.

In addition to the cash awards all finalists received a 15th Anniversary CFK hooded sweatshirt and a CFK T-shirt in their school colors, and will attend an awards banquet hosted in their honor by Unocal and Agrium, next Friday April 29th.

Lt. Governor Loren Leman will join the CFK winners to present awards. The banquet also will feature the popular Mike Morgan as entertainment. Again this year all 500 participants will receive the CFK'05 original T-shirt just for entering the contest.

CFK Oral Presentation Judges this year included Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor, Dale Bagley, KPBSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Peterson, John Zager, Unocal Alaska General Manager, Bill Boycott Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Operations General Manager, Ricky Geese, Executive Director of the Kenai Peninsula Sportfishing Assoc, Deric Marcorelle from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and last year's CFK winner, Marit Hartvigson a sophomore from Soldotna High School. This year's oral presentations were streamed live over the internet to an international audience and will be available for viewing at www.caringforthekenai.com.

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