The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program recently hosted its first-ever virtual field trip, highlighting its safe, secure, and successful groundwater mission at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) for nearly 200 students.
The students attend Lied STEM Academy, a Las Vegas-based, state-certified magnet school for grades six to eight with a focus on project and inquiry-based learning. The school’s curriculum coordinators advised that the best format for the virtual event would be live interaction with a subject-matter expert, combined with a variety of video content. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
Tiffany Gamero, EM Nevada’s environmental scientist, led the event. She shared a brief history of the NNSS, an introduction to EM, and information on EM Nevada’s groundwater mission at the NNSS. Gamero concluded the presentation with a video demonstrating a typical day in the life of a groundwater technician at the site. After the presentation, she answered questions from students and teachers.
View a recording of the virtual field trip here.
Lied’s response to the event has been overwhelmingly positive.
“My favorite part from the field trip was how entertaining the videos were and the information they had in them, and how nice the speaker was to everyone,” a student noted.
“I liked the background information in the videos and the explanations of the [NNSS]…very relevant for where we live,” a teacher said.
Another teacher thanked EM Nevada.
“I really appreciate their time and their effort here,” the teacher said. “It isn’t easy to speak to such a large group of kids. I also really appreciate their adaptability and willingness to share.”
Lied Principal Derek Fialkiewicz commended EM Nevada for its virtual field trip and said the school looks forward to more of them in the future.
“We are pleased to strengthen our ties with the EM Program when it comes to expanding our students’ knowledge base of the community while stressing and supporting their pursuit of a STEM education,” Fialkiewicz said. “This was a voluntary sign-up. As you can see from the participation, even towards the end of a school year, our students are engaged and interested in learning what our community has to offer.”
EM Nevada Program Manager Rob Boehlecke was pleased that the field trip was such a success.
“We are grateful to Tiffany for representing our program so well during the virtual field trip. Tiffany has presented at schools in the past and has young children of her own, which gave her a unique perspective on the virtual learning model over the past year,” Boehlecke said. “We look forward to continuing to engage stakeholders in unique ways to share information on our program’s safe, secure, and successful cleanup missions in Nevada.”
Development of the virtual field trip was supported in part by Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., the environmental program services contractor to EM Nevada, through Navarro’s Community Commitment Program.