Family Science Nights

Help Support Science Education for Youth during Big Day of Giving on May 4

Sacramento, Calif. (April 25, 2017) — Sierra Nevada Journeys is participating in the Sacramento region’s fifth Big Day of Giving on Thurs., May 4. Sierra Nevada Journeys is new to the Sacramento area, yet has been growing at an incredible pace. To keep up with the demand, Sierra Nevada Journeys is seeking financial support to continue to deliver hands-on and engaging science programming to first through sixth graders.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) literacy is in critical demand nationwide. According to the Science and Engineering Readiness Index (SERI), California ranks 34 out of 50, which is considered to be below average, in educating students in science. Sierra Nevada Journeys’ mission is to improve these scores, and to create the next generation of environmental scientists, geologists, ecologists and engineers.

After evaluating pre- and post-assessment data after one of Sierra Nevada Journeys’ core programs, Classrooms Unleashed, 90 percent of the participating students show an increase in comprehension of state science standards. Classroom teachers love the program and educational practices to teach and engage their students.

“The engaging materials and lessons were designed in a way as to make them accessible, tactile, and therefore memorable and meaningful,” said Mike Pickering, a sixth grade teacher at William Land Elementary School.

Sacramento programming includes the school-based programs Classrooms Unleashed and Family Science Nights. Classrooms Unleashed is a blended in-class and field trip experience taught by Sierra Nevada Journeys, which has grown from 12 schools and 930 students in 2015 to 30 schools and 4,500 students this year. A Family Science Night is an interactive and rewarding way for students and their families to engage with their schools through STEM-related activities. In 2016, they hosted 25 Family Science Nights across the Sacramento region. Sierra Nevada Journeys growth can be greatly attributed to the dedication and leadership from Sacramento Program Director, Sarah Barnes.

“Our programs give kids an opportunity to problem solve, collaborate and connect with nature,” said Barnes. “It makes me feel like we’re helping to grow capable future stewards of our world.”

To support the work of Sierra Nevada Journeys and ensure an exciting future for students and community success, please support Sierra Nevada Journeys and science education during this year’s Big Day of Giving. Help build the next generation of leaders, scientists and stewards.

For more information or to donate, please visit:

Retired Aerospace Engineer Volunteers for SNJ

 Marlys Pryor volunteers at a Family Science Night at Caughlin Ranch Elementary School.
Science and math are critical to the future of this country and the planet.
— Marlys Pryor

When volunteering for Sierra Nevada Journeys, you become an integral part of our mission:

Deliver innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship.

Our volunteers are looking for a way to make a difference in the world, share their love of science and the great outdoors. This is what brought Marlys Pryor to Sierra Nevada Journeys after relocating to Reno, NV in 2015.

Marlys is a retired aerospace engineer from Indianapolis, IN who worked for Rolls-Royce Aircraft Engines, Douglas Aircraft Company and General Electric Aircraft Engine Business Group, to name a few. She has her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from New York University and her Master of Science in Business Management from the University of LaVerne.

She met Eaton Dunkelberger, CEO of Sierra Nevada Journeys, at a Soroptimist meeting soon after moving to Reno. They got to talking. All who have had the pleasure of talking to Eaton about Sierra Nevada Journeys and our mission become involved in some manner. As Marlys puts it, “I met Eaton and the rest (volunteering) is history.” She attends and lends her knowledge during our Family Science Nights at local elementary schools.

Volunteering takes time, dedication and a strong passion for an organization’s mission. When asked why Marlys volunteers for Sierra Nevada Journeys, she said “I am a staunch advocate of exposing young people to the sciences, whether it be relating to the outdoors or outer space. Science and math are critical to the future of this country and the planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

Marlys “definitely” recommends volunteering with Sierra Nevada Journeys to others because, “Children are the future. We need to impress upon them that if the planet is to continue supporting life in a sustainable manner, everyone has to care and exercise stewardship of our natural resources.”

Many thanks to Marlys and the countless hours she has put into the organization and the education of our youth.

 Marlys Pryor (left) and Jennifer Robinson (right) at a Family Science Night at Caughlin Ranch Elementary School.

Marlys Pryor (left) and Jennifer Robinson (right) at a Family Science Night at Caughlin Ranch Elementary School.

We are always looking for passionate volunteers for our Outdoor Field Studies and Family Science Nights. If interested, please contact Jennifer Robinson at

If you're unable to volunteer your time, please consider making a donation to support SNJ programs.