Marit Hartivigson seized the coveted "Caring For the Kenai" (CFK) trophy last week and a $1,500 cash prize by taking top honors in the 14th annual CFK environmental competition sponsored by Unocal Alaska and Agrium.
Hartivigson started looking for her idea four years ago when her brother Pehr won 1st Place in CFK 2000. As an elementary school student at K-Beach, Marit was part of the Adopt-a-Stream program and noticed that the kids good work was having a negative impact on the banks of Slikok Creek. Her winning idea is to build a metal grate walk for the students to use that will protect the vegetation along the creek bank.
Taking second place was Elena Bird of Kenai Central High School whose idea is to help fishers and guides that practice catch and release to replace nylon fish nets with a less harmful rubber net. For her efforts Bird won $1,000 cash.
Community based judges panel, avaluates this year's CFK presentations.
In third place and claiming an $800 prize was Brittany Dalberg from Seward High School and a science student in Mr. Fantz's class. Brittany wrote a book which is a Teen guide to caring for the environment. "I got my idea when I heard one of my peers grumbling about the assignment and I thought we are part of the problem, so I wrote the book to appeal to teens and show them that we can make a difference," said Dalberg.
Taking fourth place honors and $600 was another SoHi student Justin Oleson who dazzled the audience with his original and creative environmental calendar.
Coming in fifth and winning $450 was Nick Byrne, of Skyview High School with his phytoremediation idea, using nature as a cleaning machine for the Kenai Watershed. This was Byrne's second time to make the CFK finals and was a new idea.
Sixth place and $300 went to Alyssa Emery, of SoHi, who researched river power as an alternative energy generating source.
2004 CFK 1st Place winner Marit Hartvigson of SoHi.
In addition to the $5,000 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 2004. 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 they placed. Additionally, over 40 semi-finalist entries received special recognition awards from community sponsors.
Other CFK finalists who earned $150 cash for their oral presentations last night were Brittany Howard of SoHi, for her home use bio-remediation clean up kit. From Nikiski Sarah Herrin proposed recycling machines be introduced to the Kenai Peninsula to increase recycling and reduce solid waste. Danielle Stafford of SoHi promoted burning of used oil as a cleaner energy source to wood. Jack VanVleet another Pat Nolden student from SoHi showed the judges the advantages of a water soluble packing peanut. Patrick Moore of SoHi researched a method to reduce the amounts of glycol used in deicing aircraft, and Sean Whitmore of SoHi built an oil can receptacle draining system that reclaims oil from disposable oil containers. In addition to the cash awards all finalists received a 2004 CFK sports vest and T-shirt, and will attended an awards banquet hosted in their honor by Unocal and Agrium, last Friday April 30th, featuring the popular Mike Morgan as entertainment. Again this year all 400 participants will receive the CFK'04 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, Charles Pierce, Unocal Alaska Vice President, Jim Senn Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Operations Business Superintendent, Ricky Geese, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Sportfishing Assoc, Jeri Lohmer Environmental Health Officer for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and last year's CFK winner, Kristin Frederic, a junior at Nikiski High School.
In the 14-year CFK history, SoHi has taken first place honors seven times, Nikiski four, Homer, Skyview, and Cook Inlet Academy have each claimed the traveling trophy once.
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