Lucia Micciche presents her proposal for new warning signs around Cook Inlet mud flats to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Lucia Micciche presents her proposal for new warning signs around Cook Inlet mud flats to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Bucket trees take top award at 34th Caring for the Kenai

A solution to help campers safely and successfully extinguish their fires won top honors at the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition on Thursday at Kenai Central High School.

Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, won $1,600 for “Bucket Trees,” which they described as a series of wooden structures they created and have already deployed at some local campsites that hold loanable buckets for dousing flames, according to a release from Caring for the Kenai.

During the final presentations Thursday night, 12 projects were presented to a panel of judges including Clayton Holland, Bruce Jackman, Ben Wright, David Thomas, Pegge Erkeneff, Tim Dillon and last year’s winner Paxton McKnight.

At the event, the winning troop spoke about their project, saying they were looking to provide easy and free access to an important tool for putting out personal campfires.

They said that in 2022, they put out eight trees at campgrounds in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Responses were so positive that they deployed an additional 10 in 2023.

The blueprints for the simple wooden structures are also available for anyone to use.

They said they considered people of different abilities, ensuring that the lowest branch of each tree would be low enough to be easily accessible.

“We gave people a fun and proper way to put out their fires,” the scouts said. “Our hopes for the future of this project is to expand to campgrounds all over.”

Taking second place and $1,100 was Lucia Micciche, who presented an idea to revamp signage and other notices for the dangers of Cook Inlet mud flats.

In the release, Micciche says, “Many people who were just out for fun have lost their lives in the mud flats. My idea is to put further signage along the flats to ensure that tourists and Alaskans are safe and aware of the dangers there.”

Xinlan and Xiling Tanner won third and $900 for producing a video encouraging youth to get interest in sustainable agriculture.

John Guerra and Caden McKinney won fourth and $750 for creating a hydroponic grow kit.

Abigail Crumline won fifth and $650 for creating an informational brochure intended to inform the public about the threat chokecherry trees can pose to moose and ways to mitigate that risk.

Afton Roberts won sixth and $550 for a proposal to revive local ham radio clubs in the interest of disaster preparedness.

Other presenters included Ava Spurgeon, Hadley Howell, Rylan Broyles, Emma Semmens, Asher Franey, and a team including Ruby Davis, Isla Crouse, Annemarie Lacy and Lucia Carson. Each will receive $400 for making it to the finals.

The release says that in addition to the $8,000 in cash prize awards, a total of $20,000 will be distributed to schools who used Caring for the Kenai as part of their curriculum, including Soldotna High School, Cook Inlet Academy, Homer High School, Nikiski Middle/High School and Connections Home School.

The prize pool comes from support by Marathon Petroleum, Kenai River Raven Lodge, Peninsula Community Health Services, Sweeney’s Clothing, Eyewear Express, Hilcorp, ConocoPhillips, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Homer Electric Association and KSRM radio group.

“The creativity and resiliency of our community and our youth over the years never ceases to amaze me,” Caring for the Kenai creator Merrill Sikorski says in the release.

For more information, including a full video archive of the presentations, visit caringforthekenai.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Rylan Broyles presents his idea for recycling plastic beach debris into fishing equipment to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rylan Broyles presents his idea for recycling plastic beach debris into fishing equipment to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read