sierra nevada journeys

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


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

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

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

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

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.

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