100 Young Women to Attend Girls in STEM Camp at Grizzly Creek Ranch

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RENO, Nev. — November 6, 2018 — Over the weekend of Nov. 9, we’ll be hosting 100 girls, ages 10-to-14-years-old, to take their love of STEM to the next level. This innovative partnership brings industry and nonprofits together creating a jam-packed weekend at Grizzly Creek Ranch.

Using Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada and Sierra Nevada Journeys’ STEM programming, and Women in Tesla volunteers, this weekend camp is sure to inspire and ignite. More than 30 volunteers will support Sierra Nevada Journeys’ educators in STEM activities ranging from building geodomes to testing their skills on our challenge course.  

Additionally, thanks to the donation of a 100 robot kits by REC Foundation, Friday evening’s activities will kick off with each camper building a working robot. As part of REC’s VEX IQ Curriculum, the young women will follow assembly instructions, build, document their process, and then test the finished robots.

Moreover, the Girls in STEM Camp is paid for by a grant awarded by Tesla to Sierra Nevada Journeys, as part of their initial Nevada K-12 Education Investment Fund and there was no cost for the 100 students to attend camp other than a $25 registration processing fee. The investment by Tesla focuses on Nevada K-12 STEM and sustainability education as part of the Nevada DoE Education Gift Fund.

“We were thrilled that Tesla selected Sierra Nevada Journeys to help deliver outdoor science education to children — especially for low-income and under-served students,” said Eaton Dunkelberger, Sierra Nevada Journeys CEO. “With this investment, we hope that experiences such as the Girls in STEM Camp, could change the life trajectories of these young women and inspire future careers in the STEM field.”

Congratulations to 2018 Q.A.R.E. Award Recipients

On Nov. 4, we celebrated our fourth annual Q.A.R.E. (Quality. Accountability. Respect. Unique Experiences.) awards honoring team members that exemplify our four core values. The festivities were held at Grand Sierra Resort’s bowling center with pizza and bowling. New this year was the addition of a fifth category, volunteer award, recognizing individuals who support Sierra Nevada Journeys with their volunteerism. See all the photos from the evening on our photo site.

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 Pictured: Corrie Calderon and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Corrie Calderon and Eaton Dunkelberger

Quality. Corrie Calderon, Part-Time Educator, started her career here as a field intern, was promoted to Field Educator, and then to Part Time Educator for her outstanding work with science and education with our program participants. During her time here, she has grown in her teaching skills and is passionate for the work she does with us. Corrie comes to every meeting prepared, takes copious notes, and implements changes and suggestions into her practice in the classroom and field. Additionally, she facilitates discussions with ease, follows up with student responses with poise, understanding, and pushes them to think critically.

 Pictured: Kayla Reeser and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Kayla Reeser and Eaton Dunkelberger

Accountability. Kayla Reeser, Core Educator, always gives 110 percent. She is flexible meeting the demands of the schedule in Sacramento’s programming. Also, she was diligent about going above and beyond the day-to-day role of her job by hosting visiting ROSIs at her house; often stayed late to help with programing and scheduling; lead multiple staff trainings and mentored new staff. Kay helped make this season a success.

 

 Pictured (missing) Mario Andres Hernandez and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured (missing) Mario Andres Hernandez and Eaton Dunkelberger

Respect. Mario Andres Hernandez, Grizzly Creek Ranch Cook, is one of our most stellar employees. He is dedicated to our mission he makes each and every shift for which he is scheduled. Mario brings a strong sense of purpose with him and is rock-solid in performance. His unwavering work ethic brings consistency and high-quality meals for our guests. Also, Mario creates a positive work environment, is collaborative and substantially contributes to the team efficiency and effectiveness. Most importantly, he is a terrific cook!

 Pictured Chauncy Foster and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured Chauncy Foster and Eaton Dunkelberger

Unique Experiences. Chauncey Foster, Residential Outdoor Science, gives every student that visited Grizzly Creek Ranch, a unique and memorable experience. He regularly sings songs to lighten the spirits of the kids, has random bursts of high energy and connects with each student. The kids leave having gained something more for their experiences with Chauncey than when they arrived at camp. He has excelled with a constant growth mindset and a level of positivity that consistently lifts his colleagues. We appreciate Chauncey for his great energy that he brings to work every day.

 Picture Marlys Pryor and Eaton Dunkelberger

Picture Marlys Pryor and Eaton Dunkelberger

Volunteer. Marlys Pryor is the epitome of a dedicated, invested and caring community volunteer. Marlys is highly trusted in any role at our Family Science Nights — even lead educator. She is reliable and is a great STEM advocate in her varied roles as a volunteer in our community. Additionally, she regularly brings community organizations for partnership with Sierra Nevada Journeys. We are lucky to have Marlys on our team.

And if you’re wondering what attributes comprise our core values, here’s what we strive to achieve each and every day:

  1. We are committed to outstanding quality (Q)

    1. We strive to improve through rigorous evaluations of our actions

    2. We flexibly embrace change that makes our programs and operations better

    3. We celebrate actions that demonstrate our commitment to excellence

  2. We are accountable (A)

    1. We do what we say we'll do for each other and for our stakeholders

    2. At all levels of our team, we set, commit to, and reach specific goals

  3. We respect each other and ourselves (R)

    1. We foster a respectful work environment by using supportive actions and words to positively impact our teammates and ensuring our co-workers do the same

    2. We work to understand the goals and challenges of our team, participants, and donors, and integrate these considerations into our actions

    3. We believe that a diverse set of backgrounds and skills adds value to our organization

  4. We provide unforgettable experiences (E)

    1. We keep participants' safety, education and experience at the forefront of our actions

    2. We recognize the uniqueness of our experience for our participants, and show up each day ready to deliver

Bowen Cardoza and Regina Stanback Stroud join Sierra Nevada Journeys’ Board of Trustees

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RENO, Nev. — October 19, 2018 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the appointment of two new board members of its Board of Trustees, Bowen Cardoza and Regina Stanback Stroud, RN, Ed.D.

Cardoza of Modesto, California is president of the family-owned Cardoza Corporation and vice president at CoSol Commercial Real Estate where he’s involved in the sales and leasing of industrial and office properties throughout the western United States. He founded and served as chairman of Stanislaus County’s Capital Club, currently the president of Miracle League of Stanislaus County and past chair of Sierra Vista Child & Family Services in Modesto. He has served on a variety of boards including Howard Training Center, Opportunity Stanislaus, and Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“Community involvement has always been a part of my life. I feel it’s terribly important to be active in our community whether is philanthropically or being hands on for a specific cause like Sierra Nevada Journeys. I hope to demonstrate the importance of community involvement to my kids, just like my parents did for me,” said Cardoza.

Dr. Stroud is president of Skyline College in San Bruno, California and has been an educator in California community colleges for more than 25 years. Under her leadership Skyline College became a National STEMconnector, a consortium of private and public entities committed to increasing the number of STEM-ready works in the global talent pool. Additionally, she serves on the STEM Higher Education Council of STEMconnector as part of the Diversity Committee. 

Dr. Stroud began as a professor of nursing at then named, Rancho Santiago College of Santa Ana. She went on to become the dean of workforce and economic development at Mission College in Santa Clara and the vice president of instruction at Skyline College. Stroud is highly regarded at local and national levels for her knowledge and perspective on student equity and diversity; education and industry collaboratives; community workforce and economic development; and regional and state system policy implications for successful programs and services. 

“I look forwarding to bringing my experience on diversity, equity and inclusion to Sierra Nevada Journeys, as they continue to refine their programs to resonate with the highest need youth that they serve,” said Dr. Stroud.

“Cardoza’s experience in real estate and operating a deep-rooted history of his family company, will be immensely valuable as we kick off our capital campaign to purchase Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, California — located north of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains,” said Eaton Dunkelberger, CEO of Sierra Nevada Journeys.

“Additionally, Stroud’s expertise in building partnership among education and industry will help us create innovation in our programs and strengthen our ability to mint new STEM workers at an early age said Dunkelberger. “We look forward to the addition of our exciting board leadership as we continue to grow our programs and their impact on building the next generation of leaders, scientists and stewards across northern California and Nevada.”

For additional information about Sierra Nevada Journeys, call 775-355-1688 or visit sierranevadajourneys.org. Here’s a complete list of current 2018/19 board members.   

Astronaut Susan J. Helms Visits Out of This World Summer Camp

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RENO, Nev. — August 8, 2018 — Campers at Sierra Nevada Journeys’ space-themed summer camp, Out of This World, had a very special otherworldly guest visit them at Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, Calif. Astronaut Susan J. Helms, Lieutenant General, USAF, was the first woman to go where no woman had gone before – to live aboard the International Space Station and spent the morning with campers sharing her experiences in space.

In 1976, Helms broke barriers as part of the first Air Force Academy class to admit women. “Back in the 70’s the military was one of the places women could get equal pay for equal work,” said Helms. Her military career in aeronautics led to being selected for the astronaut program. During her career, Helms made five trips to space, including spending six months on the Space Station. Now, Helms spends her time encouraging young men and women to explore the science and technology fields.

“If you don’t feel like you have barriers, then what you can accomplish becomes ever so much more expansive,” said Helms. Her stories and can-do spirit that broke space barriers may have inspired some future astronauts and scientists.

About Helms’ Career

  • Helms has logged 5,064 hours in space and holds the world record for the longest spacewalk.

  • Her first mission was in January 1993, aboard STS-54 space shuttle Endeavour. The primary objective of this mission was to deploy a $200 million Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-F).

  • Her second mission was aboard STS-64 in September 1994 as a flight engineer and the primary Remote Manipulator System (RMS) operator.

  • From June 20 to July 7, 1996, aboard STS-78, Helms was the payload commander and flight engineer on the longest space shuttle mission to date. The mission included studies sponsored by 10 nations and five space agencies.

  • Helms flew again aboard STS-101 in May 2000 and performed critical repairs to extend the life of the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) on the International Space Station.

  • From March to August 2001, Helms became the first woman to live and serve aboard the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition-2 crew. Helms installed the Quest Joint Airlock to the Unity module using the newly installed Canadarm2. The crew welcomed a visiting Soyuz crew that included the first space tourist. Helms also performed a world record 8-hour, 56-minute spacewalk to install hardware to the external body of the laboratory module.

  • After a 12-year career with NASA that included 211 days in space, Helms returned to the U.S. Air Force until retiring as a three-star general in 2014.

  • In 2011, Helms was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Sierra Nevada Journeys Hosts Fourth Annual NGSS Bootcamp for Educators

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RENO, Nev. – May 16, 2018 — Sierra Nevada Journeys hosted more than 100 teachers from northern Nevada and northeastern California for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) training. The three-day program held at our Grizzly Creek Ranch Campus in Portola, California, shared how to incorporate NGSS standards into their classrooms through outdoor-based education.

Sierra Nevada Journeys Education Director, Sean Hill, said, “It has been our best year ever with 110 attendees including teachers, specialists, administrators and pre-service teachers that represented 11 districts across two states.”

NGSS has three distinct dimensions to learning science — crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices and disciplinary core ideas. “Many science educators are familiar with this framework but what is not commonly known are the shifts in teaching philosophy, instruction and assessment that teachers need to know in order to effectively teach students using the current research,” said Hill.

NGSS Bootcamp brings industry thought leaders together to share ideas and best practices for STEM-based programming that focuses on the outdoors. This year’s program wouldn’t be possible without supporters such as Project Learning Tree which presented all teachers with several free lessons through PLT’s new online curriculum, or “e-units”. Additional partners included: Catamount Fund, Ltd., Intel’s Folsom campus, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada’s Northwestern Professional Development Program for Education, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Washoe County School District, North American Association for Environmental Education EE360 program and Desert Research Institute’s Science Alive program. Collaborations between private, public and nonprofit companies like these fuel Sierra Nevada Journeys’ mission to deliver innovative outdoor, science-based education for youth as well as educators through continuing education.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

PPG Industries Foundation Donates $10,000 to Sierra Nevada Journeys

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RENO, Nev. – December 30, 2017 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the $10,000 grant awarded by PPG Industries Foundation. The grant supports our Classrooms Unleashed program for northern Nevada students for the 2017-18 school year.

“We are thrilled that the PPG Industries Foundation continues to partner with Sierra Nevada Journeys to help deliver outdoor science education to elementary children,” said Karen Senger, Sierra Nevada Journeys development director. “PPG Industries is an outstanding partner committed to youth education.”

Students will receive three hands-on classroom-based lessons and one field-study experience to help increase their understanding of science standards and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and uses experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn.

Nevada currently ranks 44th in the nation on the Science and Engineering Readiness Index. With support from partners like PPG Industries Foundation, Sierra Nevada Journeys aims to improve these low scores and works diligently to ensure that all students regardless of their economic background have access to their high quality science education programming delivered by licensed teachers.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

Truckee Meadows Water Authority Donates $11,000 to Sierra Nevada Journeys

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RENO, Nev. – December 29, 2017 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the $11,000 grant awarded by Truckee Meadows Water Authority. The grant will help provide funding for northern Nevada third through fifth grade students with the Watershed Education Initiative (WEI) for the 2017-18 school year. WEI helps promote the health and protection of our local watershed and to increase conservation efforts.

“We’re so grateful for the continued support of Truckee Meadows Water Authority,” said Karen Senger, Sierra Nevada Journeys development director. “Truckee Meadows Water Authority and Sierra Nevada Journeys are both committed to educating elementary children about the importance of our watersheds and how to preserve and protect them.”

Students will participate in our Classrooms Unleashed program and receive three hands-on classroom-based lessons and one field-study experience to help increase their understanding of science standards and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and uses experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn.

Nevada currently ranks 44th in the nation on the Science and Engineering Readiness Index. With support from partners like Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Sierra Nevada Journeys aims to improve these low scores and works diligently to ensure that all students regardless of their economic background have access to their high quality science education programming delivered by licensed teachers.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

NV Energy Foundation Donates $10,000 to Sierra Nevada Journeys

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RENO, Nev. – December 28, 2017 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the $10,000 grant awarded by the NV Energy Foundation. The grant supports our Classrooms Unleashed program for northern Nevada students for the 2017-18 school year.

“We are so grateful to the NV Energy Foundation for its continued support of outdoor science education for elementary children,” said Karen Senger, Sierra Nevada Journeys development director. “NV Energy is an important partner in the work we do to get children excited about and engaged with science.”

Students will receive three hands-on classroom-based lessons and one field-study experience to help increase their understanding of science standards and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and uses experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn.

Nevada currently ranks 44th in the nation on the Science and Engineering Readiness Index. With support from partners like NV Energy, Sierra Nevada Journeys aims to improve these low scores and works diligently to ensure that all students regardless of their economic background have access to their high quality science education programming delivered by licensed teachers.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

2017 Golden Pinecone Sustainability Awards

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, Sierra Nevada Journeys was awarded Educational Program of the Year during this year's Golden Pinecone Sustainability Awards hosted by GREENevada. Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Impact for United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, Lulleen Lamar, presented the award to our Education Director, Sean Hill. Sean may or may not have done a happy dance on stage when given the award for the success of our Classrooms Unleashed program.

Below was our nomination:

Sierra Nevada Journeys is celebrating their 10-year anniversary and 100,00th student served in 2017, over half of which are from low-income families. To put this into perspective, Sierra Nevada Journeys now serves 20 percent of the total elementary students across five counties in northwestern Nevada every year.

Classrooms Unleashed, one of Sierra Nevada Journey's school-based programs, is an outdoor science education program with three in-class lessons and one field study at a local nature area. It uses hands-on, experiential, and outdoor education as a framework for young people to study, think, and learn. Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and the Northern American Association for Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence. External evaluation by the University of Nevada's Center for Program Evaluation showed that in 2016, five percent more students at schools that participate in Sierra Nevada Journeys' programming score at the proficient level on the State Science assessment than students at comparison schools. During the same year, the Classrooms Unleashed program was delivered to 6,800 students in Northern Nevada.

Thank you to all who have helped grow our Classrooms Unleashed program - staff, volunteers, community and financial partners, and our trustees. Congratulations to all the other outstanding individuals and organizations that were nominated!

Enjoy a few photos from the night!

2017 QARE Award Recipients

On Nov. 3, we celebrated yet another year of success educating youth in Northern Nevada and California by testing our bowling skills at Grand Sierra Resort.

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When we celebrate our successes, we remind ourselves each year about our core values which we call "QARE."

  1. We are committed to outstanding quality (Q)
    1. We strive to improve through rigorous evaluations of our actions
    2. We flexibly embrace change that makes our programs and operations better
    3. We celebrate actions that demonstrate our commitment to excellence
  2. We are accountable (A)
    1. We do what we say we'll do for each other and for our stakeholders
    2. At all levels of our team, we set, commit to, and reach specific goals
  3. We respect each other and ourselves (R)
    1. We foster a respectful work environment by using supportive actions and words to positively impact our teammates and ensuring our co-workers do the same
    2. We work to understand the goals and challenges of our team, participants, and donors, and integrate these considerations into our actions
    3. We believe that a diverse set of backgrounds and skills adds value to our organization
  4. We provide unforgettable experiences (E)
    1. We keep participants' safety, education and experience at the forefront of our actions
    2. We recognize the uniqueness of our experience for our participants, and show up each day ready to deliver

We are excited to announce the four individuals who we thought best represented each value in 2017.

 Pictured: Maribel Aguirre and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Maribel Aguirre and Eaton Dunkelberger

QMaribel Aguirre is a Grizzly Creek Ranch Campus Housekeeping Assistant and is our Employee of the Year representing the core value of quality. The ledger of Maribel’s daily work is a model of dedication to mission and commitment to excellence. There is not a single camper or guest evaluation that does not highlight the neat, clean and orderly image of the campus. Further, our American Camp Association visit this season documented the exceptional sanitary standards Grizzly Creek Ranch maintains. Of particular note, Maribel assumed leadership of all housekeeping functions during part of the season and oversaw Grizzly Creek Ranch service. Congratulations, Maribel!

 Pictured: Brian Broumas and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Brian Broumas and Eaton Dunkelberger

A - Accountable fits this person to a tee. As soon as he started working with Sierra Nevada Journeys this year, he was fired up with enthusiasm and drive. He dove into learning about the organization and crafted our Sacramento growth story. He was on the phone within just a couple of weeks connecting with potential supporters. He knew if he could just share the Sacramento impact with people who had an interest in outdoor science education, they would be impressed. He was right. His persistence and follow-through have led to new funding opportunities for our science programs. Congratulations on all your hard work, Brian Broumas!

 Pictured: Sheena Wong and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Sheena Wong and Eaton Dunkelberger

RSheena Wong is a Grizzly Creek Ranch Campus Residential Outdoor Science Instructor and is our Sierra Nevada Journeys Employee of the Year representing the core value of respect. Sheena is one of our frequently cited instructors for her mastery of our outdoor school curriculum and her unique teaching style. Sheena is also a thoughtful contributor to not only programs but also campus operations. She has offered and implemented campus improvements regarding emergency response and protecting and conserving natural resources and education. Sheena also has volunteered to advise and represent Sierra Nevada Journeys in a diversity initiative. Congratulations, Sheena!

ENatalie Pritchard brings 110 percent to everything she does. She is so passionate about the work we do and is always working to ensure that our programs are the best they can be. When developing training experiences for new leaders or revising lessons, she’s thoughtful and thinks critically about the experience of the participants and prioritizes their satisfaction and optimal learning. She’s an outstanding leader and a tremendous asset to the Sacramento team. Congratulations, Natalie!

Thank you to our entire team for a tremendous year! We're looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us!