With less than three tenths of a point separating the top two contestants Olivia Pfeifer, a KCHS freshman took top honors and a $1,500 cash prize at the annual Caring for the Kenai (CFK) environmental awareness and disaster preparedness competition, sponsored by Chevron and Tesoro, "My father is an air traffic controller and he was sharing with me the problems local airports are having with birds so my idea is to acquire a trained border collie to chase the birds from the runway areas to prevent airplane bird strike and having to shoot birds," said Pfeifer.
Taking second place was a Nikiski sophomore and member of the Kenaitze tribe Mandee Jackson, "My mom and I have been making party favor bags from Capri-Sun juice bags for some ten years, so when I was searching for my CFK idea we designed a line of different sized bags and now we're collecting the throw-a-ways at elementary schools and we will be making and selling them this summer, but I'm excited that my idea actually went this far," said Jackson who won $1,000 cash as runner up.
In third place and claiming an $800 prize was Anton Krull, another KCHS freshman from Kristi Davis's science class, Krull created a "DV8 Lego community" that teaches energy conservation, "The design is to spread innovative and creative environmental concepts that younger kids aren't usually exposed to," explained Krull.
Taking fourth place honors and $650 was Matt Fellman from Mr. Emery's class at SoHi, a repeat finalist who applied his bio-waste kits to emergency disaster preparedness. Coming in fifth and winning $550 was Cody Dutcher another SoHi student from Mr. Emery's class, who produced an instruction video for catch & release salmon fishing. In sixth place and winning $400 was Cody Warfield of SoHi who had a plan to build a bio-fuel plant on the Kenai Peninsula.
In addition to the $6,000 in cash awards for the finalists this year Tesoro, Chevron and the Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc, awarded $15,000 to the science departments of schools that participated in CFK 2009. This year SoHi, Nikiski, Ninilchik, Kenai, Skyview, Hope and Cook Inlet Academy all used CFK as part of their classroom curriculum. Each school receives $500 for participating and the remainder of the $15,000 will be allocated proportionately to how their students placed last night. Additionally, 30 some semi-finalist entries received special recognition awards from community sponsors.
Other CFK finalists who earned $250 cash each for their oral presentations were Garrett Bosick from SoHi and Mr. Hansen's class who created an original "Trash Talk" game. Katie Dutcher of Cook Inlet Academy in Mr. Leaf's class developed a home hazardous waste education plan; Mr. Nolden's student Dakota Elsey of SoHi designed a public bus route for the Kenai Peninsula. Alice Han of Mr. Frederic's KCHS science class proposed heated sidewalks for winter safety, and Austin Neal Murray of SoHi made a convincing case for the installation of highway delineators on the Sterling highway. Another Kenai Kardinal from Mr. Frederic's class Aaron Williams devised a plan to remind people to remember to use their reusable bags.
In addition to the cash awards all finalists received a 2009 hooded CFK sweatshirt. Monday April 27th, all finalists and guests will attend an awards banquet hosted in their honor by Chevron and Tesoro at The Peninsula Conference Center at the Alaska Christian College in Soldotna. The banquet will feature entertainment by Mike Morgan and Dan Pascucci. All students who participated in CFK 2009 received a custom Nalgene CFK "I did it!" water bottle.
CFK Oral Presentation Judges included Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey, KPBSD Superintendent of Schools Steve Atwater, John Zager, Chevron Alaska General Manager, Steve Hansen, Tesoro Nikiski Plant Manager, Jessica Moore Kenai Watershed Forum Board of Directors, Cindy Gilder Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Non-point source manager, Dennis Gease Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Scott Forgue, AK Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and last year's CFK winner and 2008 President's Environmental Youth Award recipient, Lincoln Wensley. The oral presentation program was streamed live over the internet to an international audience and is available for viewing at www.caringforthekenai.com
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