The third annual Kid’s Kenai River Spring Cleanup took place May 5-6 along the banks of the mighty Kenai River.
The idea of Mark and Cindy Glassmaker, this year’s cleanup saw seven schools participate in the two-day event.
“The idea came out of several groups like the Professional Guides Association, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Alaska State Parks and the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and others who saw it as an opportunity to foster good stewardship of the River among our youth by getting them to help clean up and basically give back to the community,” explained Mark Glassmaker. According to Cindy Glassmaker, last year the kids collected more than 3,600 pounds of debris not intended to be in the river.
“This year over 650 students from various schools participated,” Cindy Glassmaker said. “Volunteers from Kenai River guides to teachers and parents helped make this a big success. It takes everyone’s cooperation to make this happen and just as an example when we proposed the idea to Redoubt Elementary they never even hesitated but said ‘absolutely, what can we do to help?’ and over the last three years that attitude has spread to every school that is participating.”
On the first day, more than 1,800 pounds of debris were collected from the four locations of Swiftwater Park, Isaac Walton, Soldotna Creek Park and Rotary Park.
Participating schools were Redoubt Elementary, Sterling Elementary, Soldotna Elementary and Connections Home School Program on Thursday and Soldotna Elementary, Sterling Elementary and Kalifornsky Beach Elementary on Friday.
Nearly two-dozen local business helped out with cash contributions to help pay for the bus transportation and fishing rods for the every student of the school that collected the most trash.
“Soldotna Professional Pharmacy donated first aid kids for the event and big shout out to Pizza Boys, Magpyes, Big Daddy’s Pizza and Bub’s Pizza for generously donating pizzas to the schools who participated,” added Cindy Glassmaker. “Mark Glassmaker works so hard to pull everything together; I am extremely proud of my husband who coordinates this event and what we help foster with these kids. Huge thank you to all of the kids who are excited to participate each year.”
Elizabeth Walter teaches fourth grade at Redoubt and was returning for the third year.
“The kids love it and it’s a great opportunity for them to serve, because they get a lot of things given to them by the community from people who are always helping us out at school and it’s nice for them to have a chance to give back and do something for the community,” Walter said.