SNJ Culture

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

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!

100% Giving Board Award 2017

 2017 100% Giving Board Certificate

2017 100% Giving Board Certificate

Special Note from Lauren Renda

Program Officer at Community Foundation of Western Nevada

I’d like to congratulate you and your board for having achieved 100% giving of personal, financial contributions, by your Board members in 2017. 

The 100% Giving Board Award recognizes the personal financial support each board member commits to the financial health of their nonprofit. This is an opportunity to go “above and beyond” in the scope of support and relationship between board members and the organizations they serve. This year, we are honoring 83 organizations whose boards have given over $2.3 million in personal financial support and your board is among them.

It has been incredible to see how the 100% Giving Board program has been woven into the culture of these organizations. We’ve been told that some staff members use this award as a tool to have a conversation with their board members about the importance of giving to the organization. We love to see that organizations and their boards have made it a personal commitment to stay on this list year after year.

Congratulations again to your organization and Board who support the cause and mission of your organization by making an annual gift. They understand their role as a board member, and are to be commended for their commitment.

31st Annual Project Learning Tree International Coordinators Conference

Sean Hill, our director of education, attended the 31st annual Project Learning Tree International Coordinators Conference April 24-27. He had a great time networking with State PLT Coordinators and learned about new online professional development opportunities for Nevada teachers!

He journaled his week for us below:


Greetings from Bourbon Country!

I’m here at the 31st annual Project Learning Tree (PLT) International Coordinators Conference. The conference provides an amazing opportunity to network with other State PLT Coordinators, outstanding educators, various program sponsors and partners and other education professionals from around the country and the world. It’ll be action-packed this week as I’ll be networking, attending workshops and brainstorming sessions as I collect great resources and best practices to bring back to Sierra Nevada Journeys and ultimately, Nevada teachers and students (stay tuned for upcoming announcements for new online Professional Development options for teachers as well as for information about exciting new classroom curriculum, the new PLT e-units).

Project Learning Tree is keeping our schedules busy with excellent speakers, including a great session on Tuesday by Judy Braus, Executive Director for the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

Don’t worry – we also have time built in for exploring Louisville, Kentucky, including a trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory and a local arboretum.

I’m stoked to be here representing Nevada!

2016 Governor's Points of Light Awards

Sierra Nevada Journeys’ volunteer, Marlys Pryor, was one of the prestigious finalists honored at the 2016 Governor’s Points of Light Award Ceremony in September at Bally’s Las Vegas.

Marlys was one of only three finalists in the Northern Nevada Individual Volunteer category. Sierra Nevada Journeys nominated Marlys because of her passion for sharing science with children as a volunteer field educator. As a retired aerospace engineer, Marlys knows first-hand the importance and fulfillment of science, technology, engineering and math and the exciting work that comes along with those fields.

In her video recorded for the ceremony presentation, Marlys said, “I start with the kids. What are you interested in?” If a child is interested in music, for example, she explains you have to be good at math to be a good musician. She is committed to getting as many children as possible interested in science-related fields.

2016 Golden Pinecone Awards

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On Nov. 1, 2016, Sierra Nevada Journeys was awarded nonprofit organization of the year during the Golden Pinecone Awards hosted by GREENevada. Dave Stockman, one of our long-time trustees and financial partners, welcomed Eaton Dunkelberger, our CEO, to the stage. It was an exciting moment for the organization as we are about to celebrate our 10-year anniversary in 2017. We are also expected to serve our 100,000th student next year.

Below was our nomination:

Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ) is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses the unique outdoor classrooms of the region to deliver robust outdoor science and collaborative problem solving education to promote long-term student achievement. They accomplish this through the Whole School Model, an outdoor education program that ensures the teachable moments inherent in outdoor education are extended both across the school year and through a student's elementary grade progression. SNJ's Whole School Model uses outdoor science education supported by in-school lessons and teacher professional development to maximize student inspiration and achievement across science, technology, engineering, math, reading, and collaborative problem solving.
Since their start in 2006, they have served over 75,000 students and 4,500 educators with residential outdoor science programs, field and school based programs and teacher professional development. SNJ has more than doubled the students they have served over the past 3 years; SNJ now serves 2/3rds of elementary school in Northern NV with outdoor science programs; and SNJ will serve over 50 schools with Family Science Nights in the coming school year.

Thank you to our staff, trustees, volunteers and financial partners. Thank you to our community of teachers, parents and students. We couldn't have done this without you.

Congratulations to all the other Golden Pinecone winners! We are honored to be surrounded by such dedicated and talented individuals and organizations.


History of the Golden Pinecone

The Golden Pinecone Ball was started by Tod Bedrosian, Bob Fulkerson, Glenn Miller and Bob Loux in 1988 to bring the environmental community together as friends and initially to get the community excited about stopping the dump of nuclear waste. It was nicknamed the "conservation casual drab event" and the pinecone awards were handmade out of plywood, an ironic twist on formal award ceremonies to honor the environmental accomplishments of the past year.

The Golden Pinecone Awards and Ball is a legacy event run for more than 25 years by Environmental Leadership, Nevada EcoNET and more recently greenUP! In 2016, GREENevada took ownership for the vent as part of its environmental leadership mission. GREENevada has a strong reach throughout the environmental community and wanted to continue this important tradition of recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations for their achievements toward improving and sustaining the environment.

QARE Award Recipients

Last Friday, the Sierra Nevada Journeys team celebrated a successful year of serving youth from Northern Nevada and Northern California through outdoor science programming. We played a few rounds of bowling with our family and friends at the Grand Sierra Resort. We can't say we're as good at bowling as we are science, but we sure tried!

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 happy to announce the four individuals who we thought best represented each value in 2016.

Q - Debbie Fairbanks, our Housekeeping Manager, represents the core value of Quality. She is always working to make our campus as clean and pleasant as possible, she accepts change with a smile on her face and she is a positive role model for all staff and clients.
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 Olive Poulsen receives the 2016 Accountability Award.

Olive Poulsen receives the 2016 Accountability Award.

A - Olive Poulsen, Residential Outdoor Science Instructor, represents the core value of Accountability. We can always rely on Olive to meet our mission as well as the needs of her students. She will be coming back next season to lead our newest camp session "Counselor-in-Training" (CIT) as the CIT Director.

 Greggor Manning receives the 2016 Respect Award.

Greggor Manning receives the 2016 Respect Award.

R - Greggor Manning, Sous Chef, represents the core value of Respect. He respects his co-workers, and listens to their questions and concerns and provides solutions when able. He understands that teamwork is essential. His family life and past experience in the food industry is invaluable.

 Lourdes Calzada receives the 2016 Unique Experiences Award.

Lourdes Calzada receives the 2016 Unique Experiences Award.

E - Lourdes Calzada, Part-Time Educator, represents the core value of Unique Experiences. Lourdes has a positive attitude and a smile that brightens up the room. She provides unforgettable experiences to not only her students, but to our SNJ staff through the newly adopted culture committee.

Thank you to our entire team for a wonderful year! We couldn't achieve our mission without your hard work and dedication.