Sierra Nevada Journeys receives $4,500 from the Community Foundation of Western Nevada

DSC05819.jpg

RENO, Nev. — July 8, 2019 — Sierra Nevada Journeys received a $4,500 Community Fund grant from the Community Foundation. Partnering together, Sierra Nevada Journeys and Desert Research Institute will provide 10 Family STEM Nights reaching 1,500 children and families from local elementary schools. Family STEM Nights are a fun evening with interactive science-themed stations that reinforce STEM concepts learned in the classroom.

The partnership between Sierra Nevada Journeys and Desert Research Institute (DRI) will step up the level of Family STEM Nights by providing access to DRI faculty in addition to Sierra Nevada Journeys educators and expose children at an early age to STEM education and possible future STEM careers.

Based at school sites, each Family STEM Night is a hands-on, two-hour event that includes mini- challenges, family-based competitive projects and dinner, appealing to the whole family to build comfort in STEM subjects. Each event ranges in attendance from 100-200+ students, parents and siblings. This exciting, family-friendly approach can be especially effective for students who have difficulties in a classroom setting.

In addition to our staff teachers, we have a model in place to seamlessly integrate volunteers into our Family STEM Nights. This is a rich experience for volunteers and provides interaction between the community and the school.

Nevada has a science education deficit in elementary schools. Nevada ranks 44 out of 50 states in educating students in early-age science. Elementary teachers self-report spending less than two hours a week on science in the classroom. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do.

“Family STEM Nights provide a great opportunity for families to engage in STEM activities together and help bridge the science gap. Also, parents getting involved with their child’s school has been effective in improving a child’s learning and fosters positive environments both at school at home,” Eaton Dunkelberger, CEO, Sierra Nevada Journeys said.

“Sierra Nevada Journeys and DRI have great synergies in supporting K-6 education by providing tools, resources and inquiry-based STEM curriculum in our community; we look forward to partnering with Sierra Nevada Journeys on Family STEM Nights so all students can learn more about science and the environment,” said Amelia Gulling, Science Alive STEM Education Director at DRI.


To learn more about Family STEM Nights or to schedule one for your school, please visit sierranevadajourneys.org/fsn.

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. For additional information about Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit sierranevadajourneys.org.

About DRI

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in basic and applied interdisciplinary research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe. Since 1959, DRI's research has advanced scientific knowledge, supported Nevada's diversifying economy, provided science-based educational opportunities, and informed policymakers, business leaders, and community members. With campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI is one of eight institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education. More about DRI can be found at dri.edu.
 

About Community Foundation

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada strengthens our region through philanthropy and leadership by connecting people who care with causes that matter. For more information on the Community Fund grants, visit nevadafund.org.

Nevada Rangeland Station at Family Science Nights educates youth and parents about current rangeland issues

RENO, Nev. — March 14, 2019 — The Nevada Rangeland demonstration at Sierra Nevada Journeys’ Family Science Nights is one of our most popular stations. Family Science Nights are an evening event held at local schools where students and parents come together to participate in interactive science activities. The rangeland station uses “touch boxes” where students reach inside and feel an item such as a feather. Using clues from the display, they discover the feather represents Nevada’s sage grouse. It’s a fun and hands-on approach to learning about Nevada Rangeland topics like the importance of Nevada’s ranching community, grazing, the small game bird sage grouse (also known as the sagehen), wild horses and the impacts of wildfires.  

With the support of Nevada Rangeland Resources Commission, Golden Productions created a video spotlighting us at the rangeland station so you can see interactions firsthand.

To learn more about Nevada Rangeland Resources Commission, check out their documentary series “Stewards of the Rangeland.” The series has been featured on KNPB Channel 5 Public Broadcasting and focuses on topics including how to prevent the sage grouse becoming an endangered species; challenges that open ranges face due to wildfires; exploring the state’s most precious resource — water; and livestock management strategies of five northern Nevada ranching families.

View video of Nevada Rangeland demonstration directly on Sierra Nevada Journeys’ YouTube channel.

Sierra Nevada Journeys was selected by NatureBridge as a top 10 environmental education leader to create industry Social and Emotional Learning framework

RENO, Nev. — December 21, 2018 — Sierra Nevada Journeys was selected by NatureBridge as one of 10 organizations that will work collaboratively to develop systems that will effectively incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) frameworks, research, and preferred practices into residential environmental education programming.

More than 65 organizations expressed interest from across the U.S. and Canada but only 10 were chosen based on our geographic reach, organizational capacity, diversity of participants served and unique perspectives on SEL. 

The Residential Environmental Education Partnership (REEP) convened on October 1, 2018, in San Francisco, California and tackled four key areas:

  1. Understanding of the participating organizations’ SEL competencies.

  2. Seeking SEL commonalities in similar residential school programs shared by the REEP participants.

  3. Mapping program outcomes and associated practices.

  4. Establishing a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Partnership is scheduled to meet again in January 2019, to continue its work on building SEL frameworks.  “We’re thrilled to be involved at the ground level of this initiative.  Since the beginning, Social Emotional Learning principles have been integral to what we do at Sierra Nevada Journeys, but only recently have we been identifying and building SEL practices more intentionally in the work we do.  This partnership is a fantastic way for leaders in our industry to work collaboratively on creating common language, measurement tools and an overarching framework for what SEL does and should look like in outdoor education.  It’s exciting work, and we are so thankful to NatureBridge for recognizing our organization as a leader in the outdoor education industry, and including Sierra Nevada Journeys on this groundbreaking project.” Said Sean Hill, Education Director, Sierra Nevada Journeys.

NatureBridge is the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service offering programming in six national parks. Thank you to the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for funding this collaborative effort among leading outdoor environmental education organizations.

How about giving the gift of Summer Camp with Sierra Nevada Journeys

owl_low_res.jpg

RENO, Nev. — December 14, 2018 — Memories last a lifetime and summer camp is at Grizzly Creek Ranch is the perfect setting for fun and making new friends. Register for Summer Camp 2019 and come by our office at 190 East Liberty Street, Reno, to pick up a certificate and a FREE stuffed bear or owl to put under the tree.

We have a variety of camp sessions for kids ages 8 to 17. Every camper will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of classic camp activities including swimming at our pool, kayaking on the pond, archery and plenty of arts and crafts. In the evening, campers can hang out by the campfire singing songs and spending time making new friends. Also, campers will test their skills on our challenge course and zip line!

Check out sierranevadajourneys.org/camp to learn more about summer camp sessions.

While supplies last. Registration and deposit must be made online at sierranevadajourneys.org/camp. The certificate will be ready the following business day for pick up at 190 East Liberty St., Reno, NV. Sorry, we cannot mail or deliver certificates and stuffed animals. Registrations must be made on or before Dec. 20 and certificate and stuffed animal to be picked up no later than 5 pm on Dec. 21, 2018. One certificate and one stuffed animal per registration. 

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

robot.jpg

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.”

Links to photos from 2018 Girls in STEM camp:

Photos shared by Girl Scouts of Northern Nevada

Sierra Nevada Journeys photo site

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.

IMG_4801.JPG
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

246.JPG

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

IMG_8930.JPG

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

IMG_9587.jpg

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

DSC01724.jpg

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.