VIDEO: SNJ’s ScienceFest to Celebrate 100,000 Students Served

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By Kylie Rowe | @KyRoBiz
Kylie Rowe is the Vice President of Corporate Relocation at Dickson Realty, an ambassador for Reno, Sparks and Lake Tahoe.
Co-Author Megan Duggan | @MeganPaged | @sierranvjourney
Megan Duggan is Marketing and Communications Director at Sierra Nevada Journeys

Dickson Realty Spotlight on Sierra Nevada Journeys with Eaton Dunkelberger from Dickson Realty on Vimeo.

Sierra Nevada Journeys is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year and is expected to serve its 100,000th student and more than 4,500 teachers. To celebrate these milestones, Sierra Nevada Journeys invites the community to SNJ ScienceFest, presented by WETLAB, a free family event on Sept. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Washoe County’s Bartley Ranch Regional Park.

At ScienceFest families will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on science activities and experiments while enjoying live music from local band Boondoggle and food and beverages for purchase from local food truck vendors. Raffle prizes will also be available from generous businesses such as The Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Reno Bighorns, and Reno 1868.

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission to deliver innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth. Its mission is to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource conservation for the children who are a part of it. This nonprofit’s vision is to build a community of passionate youth who have early experiences in STEM education and go on to become local leaders, scientists, and stewards of the natural world.

Jonathan Mueller, Sierra Nevada Journeys’ founder, met a sixth grade student who was visiting Lake Tahoe for the first time. He was stunned when the child asked, “Are there sharks in this ocean?” Mueller was inspired to develop programs to increase student understanding of science and our environment.

Students learn about science and nature with Sierra Nevada Journeys.
Students learn about science and nature with Sierra Nevada Journeys. Photo: SNJ

In its early years, Sierra Nevada Journeys operated out of an empty storage area at a local climbing gym providing in-school outreach and residential outdoor experiences. Impressed with program outcomes, in 2010, Sierra Health Foundation asked Sierra Nevada Journeys to take over operations of Grizzly Creek Ranch near Portola, Calif. Sierra Nevada Journeys’ passion and dedication to empowering local children have led to successful expansion over the past 10 years, including opening an office in Sacramento.

Sierra Nevada Journeys first through sixth grade programs include field science experiences and in-class lessons, professional development opportunities for teachers, family outreach initiatives, and enriching outdoor school experiences at Grizzly Creek Ranch. Through Sierra Nevada Journeys’ STEM education programs, students learn to become problem solvers, innovators, creators, and collaborators.

The No Child Left Behind Act, almost two decades old, established a testing framework for elementary schools based on math and English. This forced subjects like art, history, science, and engineering to take a back seat. For example, 40 percent of elementary school teachers self-report that they teach less than an hour of science per week. This was a detrimental shift for science education in our state and organizations like Sierra Nevada Journeys exist to provide enriching experiences that complement and supplement formal science education within our communities.

Sierra Nevada Journeys works with three-fourths of elementary schools across five counties in northwestern Nevada, which allows them to serve 25,000 students per year. This is possible due to collaborative partnerships with the schools, school districts, and the community at large.

Visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org to pre-register for ScienceFest.

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