Nevada

Let’s Make Nevada’s Big Give Bigger in Northern Nevada

Join thousands of Nevadans in supporting your favorite nonprofit organization on Thursday, March 23 for the 6th annual Nevada’s Big Give. Nevada’s Big Give is a statewide 24-hour online giving initiative to raise awareness of, and funds for, all nonprofits and schools that improve the quality of life for Nevadans.

The concept of Nevada’s Big Give was developed and initiated by NevadaGIVES board member, Stacey Wedding, a lifelong Nevadan who has committed her professional life and much of her personal life to the philanthropy sector. Wedding presented the concept to the NevadaGIVES board in early 2011. Soon after, Nevada was celebrating the first ever Nevada’s Big Give. In just the first year, online donations totaled $413,048 from 2,063 generous individuals throughout our great state. Fast forward to 2016. Nevada raised over $638,000 from 5,567 individuals. That’s a 35 percent increase in funding in five years. These numbers show that Nevadans have big hearts when it comes to giving.

So far, there are 33 Northern Nevada nonprofit organizations that you can help support on Nevada’s Big Give – including Sierra Nevada Journeys, Note-Able Music Therapy Services, Immunize Nevada, Reno Philharmonic Association, Nevada Humane Society, Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, to name a few. Some organizations have even partnered with each other to double their impact in the community.

For example, Sierra Nevada Journeys is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada for the second year to send 20 Littles to Sierra Nevada Journeys’ Summer Camp at Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, Calif. Summer camp immerses children in outdoor learning, teamwork and leadership, promoting achievement well past the campfire. To send 20 Littles to summer camp, Sierra Nevada Journeys has set a fundraising goal of $11,980. Donations will be matched up to $3,000 by a generous donor.

Note-Able Music Therapy Services is seeking $5,000 to provide weekly music therapy at The Eddy House, helping engage at-risk youth with music. Music has shown to be a powerful way for people to express difficult emotions, while experiencing the joy of expression and creating art.

The Reno Philharmonic Association wants to offer a free children’s concert at Wingfield Park, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, to Artown this July. This event will help introduce children in our community to classical music in an engaging setting. In order to bring the performance to Reno, the Reno Philharmonic Association needs to raise $7,500.

These three examples are just a glimpse of what organizations are fundraising for during this year’s Big Give.

Seek out your favorite nonprofit organizations or learn about new ones that match your passions, be it education, arts and culture, children and family, or the environment. Visit www.nvbiggive.org and make Nevada’s Big Give even bigger in Northern Nevada by participating and donating on March 23.

- Written by Megan Duggan, Marketing and Communications Director for Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys Receives $10,000 Grant from NV Energy

Reno, NV – Jan. 12, 2017NV Energy recently awarded Sierra Nevada Journeys a $10,000 grant to support their Classrooms Unleashed program. Through this grant, 324 northern Nevada elementary students will have access to effective, high-quality science instruction during the 2016-17 school year.  

"Sierra Nevada Journeys is proud to have the support of the NV Energy Foundation,” said Karen Senger, director of development for Sierra Nevada Journeys. “Their partnership is helping to build a community of youth who are leaders, scientists and stewards of the natural world.”

Students in grades first through sixth 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 subjects. 

Classrooms Unleashed uses hands-on, experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn. The program is aligned to state and national standards and the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Guidelines for Excellence. 

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 have access to high quality science education. 

Sierra Nevada Journeys Receives $10,000 Grant from PPG Industries

Reno, NV – Jan. 9, 2017 PPG Industries recently awarded Sierra Nevada Journeys a $10,000 grant to support their Classrooms Unleashed program. Through this grant, Sierra Nevada Journeys will deliver Classrooms Unleashed to 324 northern Nevada students in second through fifth grade during the 2016-17 school year.  

"Sierra Nevada Journeys is proud to have the support of PPG Industries,” said Karen Senger, director of development for Sierra Nevada Journeys. “We applaud their commitment to enriching children’s live through outdoor science 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 subjects. 

Classrooms Unleashed uses hands-on, experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn. The program is aligned to state and national standards and the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Guidelines for Excellence. 

Sierra Nevada Journeys is dedicated to improving Nevada’s below average science education ranking (44 out of 50) by bringing science to children and supporting the educators who teach them. In 2015, 90 percent of students attending our Classrooms Unleashed programming demonstrated improved understanding of science standards based on assessment data.

Build more science time in and out of the classroom

On our hikes together, my curious 5-year-old son collects rocks and brings them home to organize in various jars by color and shape. As educators and outdoor enthusiasts, my wife and I encourage his geologic exploration.

Tapping into natural curiosity like my son’s is what makes science the perfect tool to engage children in critical thinking and a lifelong love of learning.

Science has taken a back seat in recent years in the elementary classroom to the “core” subjects: math and English. An unintended consequence of the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001, which sought to build more accountability in public schools, was the increased focus on student testing in math and English, shifting classroom instructional time away from the sciences, social studies, and even the arts and physical education. A recent Vital Signs report shows less than 1.7 hours per week of science is taught in elementary classrooms in Nevada.

In Northern Nevada, with the recent arrival of the big tech companies like Switch and Tesla, it is critical to focus on preparing our youth now for the tremendous growth in knowledge-based careers. Clearly, there is need to increase access to high-quality, impactful educational opportunities for youth in our community.

Here’s the good news: Science and engineering are the perfect vehicles to teach interdisciplinary lessons, so we can have strong science education in the classroom without taking time away from the core subjects. Additionally, in 2014 the Nevada Department of Education adopted a new set of academic standards for science edducation. This adoption was based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a set of K-12 benchmarks for science education in the classroom. The standards have been adopted in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Locally, Sierra Nevada Journeys has been taking a lead on designing and delivering student programming and teacher training grounded in the NGSS.

If you have children in your life or teachers in your family, you may have heard of Sierra Nevada Journeys, a local nonprofit founded in 2006 on a simple premise: to build the next generation of citizens, scientists and stewards through hands-on science education. We’ve created unique educational programming to help teachers build more science time in and out of the classroom. We have an excellent team of credentialed teachers that design and deliver fun, high-impact elementary programs that take place in the classroom, on overnight trips to our Grizzly Creek Ranch campus, and on one-day field trips to local natural areas. Armed with our mission to deliver innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship, Sierra Nevada Journeys programming affects more than 15,000 Nevada students and 400 teachers annually.

Whether it’s rocks, or beavers, or bugs, or earthquakes, science offers so many ways to engage the curiosity of young people. Why not take advantage of that to increase the quality of all of our children’s educational experience?

Sean Hill is the director of education for Sierra Nevada Journeys.