The 30th annual Caring for the Kenai program ended up finishing virtually, given the coronavirus pandemic, but the winning projects will make real-world differences.
The program usually ends in April with students giving their presentations and standing for questions from judges. But that part was put on hold until August, with the final judging happening over videoconferencing Aug. 6.
“We did a lot of planning, a lot of thinking and we had a lot of ideas of what we wanted to do for our 30th anniversary and, of course, everything changed. And this shows how the real-world experience of Caring for the Kenai helps the next generation change. And what you’ve learned from this, what we’ve learned from this, gives us all a lot of hope for the future,” said Merrill Sikorski, program founder and director.
Caring for the Kenai challenges high school students to come up with a project to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster. Finalists and their schools get cash prizes. Students can participate with the same project more than once but repeat entries are judged on what they’ve done to further their project in the last year, rather than the initial idea.