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Science Alive News and Announcements Archive News

Archive news feed of Science Alive (formerly GreenPower) press releases and special announcements.

Las Vegas - On Monday afternoon Brenna Hardtner, a student at Foothill High School in Henderson, Nevada was honored as the official winner of DRI's first Bacteria Naming Contest. 

Hardtner's name was selected from nearly 100 entries submited from high school biology students across Clark County School District. She received a plaque and a framed photograph of the the microorganism, as well as tickets to DRI's annual Nevada Medal Event on April 30, 2015 at the ARIA Resort Casino in Las Vegas. 

Hardtner's entry - "Thermoanaerosceptrum fracticalcis" - will be acknowledged in an internationally peer-reviewed scientific research paper published by DRI scientists and colleagues.

The newly discovered bactrium is an organism that was isolated from a water sample that was collected 923 meters under the ground from an aquifer that flows through fractured carbonate rock beneath the Southern Nevada desert.

The scientist who first isolated the organism, Dr. Scott Hamilton-Brehm, was on-hand to celebrate the winner and the share how the organism was identified.

Pictured are Craig Rosen, DRI Education Administrator; Brenna Hardtner; and DRI Scientist Scott Hamilton-Brehm.

LAS VEGAS - More than 90 local teachers from throughout Southern Nevada will gather at the Desert Research Institute's (DRI) Las Vegas campus to expand their knowledge on renewable energy and environmental science, this Saturday, February 21.

Offering its seventh-annual Teacher Training Workshop, DRI's GreenPower K-12 Outreach Program has partnered with NV Energy and PepsiCo to offer Nevada's K-12 educators a full day of hands-on, in-service training on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) topics. Teachers will participate in DRI laboratory tours, engage with DRI community partners and get a chance to explore GreenPower's Green Box science kits (which are provided to teachers free of charge and contain more than two weeks worth of lesson plans and classroom materials).

"We are really excited for this Teacher Training because we are bringing our amazing community partners together to showcase and share the opportunities that are available for our educators," said Amelia Gulling, GreenPower’s Administrator. "We could not offer this free training without the generous support of NV Energy, our sponsors, and our newest partner - PepsiCo."

Gulling added that with more than 89 local educators registered, Saturday's training is on track to be one of the largest in the program's history in Southern Nevada. Media are invited to interview DRI GreenPower Staff, community partner representatives and participating Southern Nevada educators on Saturday morning.

Event Details:
Location: Desert Research Institute, Rogers Auditorium, 755 E. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, NV
Time: Interview opportunities from 9-11 a.m.
Media Contact Onsite: Craig Rosen, DRI GreenPower Community Outreach Coordinator - Mobile (805) 252-9974

Additional photos and b-roll video of DRI's GreenPower K-12 Outreach Program is available upon request.


Las Vegas / Reno -  Thanks to the generous  support of the Robert S. & Dorothy J. Keyser Foundation, DRI’s GreenPower Program will continue to expand its statewide preK-12 program. The Keyser Foundation has announced a $100,000 two-year funding commitment to the DRI GreenPower Program. 

The primary benefactor of the Keyser Foundation grant are the Green Boxes. The innovative Green Box program has proven to be a useful resource since its reintroduction into classrooms last August. Each DRI Green Box contains all of the necessary tools to conduct several weeks’ worth of activities addressing environmental issues and emphasizing sustainable practices. The DRI GreenPower program assists Nevada’s PreK-12 educators by providing curriculum and materials, which includes hosting hands-on trainings and workshops, and facilitating class field trips and guest speakers—all at no cost to the teachers.

The Keyser Foundation’s latest grant is the second $100,000 donation GreenPower has received. This allows DRI’s GreenPower Program to increase the reach of its program throughout Nevada. With the EPSCoR’s Nevada NASA Space Grant, one of DRI’s scientists, Henry Sun, is creating a Desert Astrobiology Green Box. For use in the 1st-6th grade classroom, the curriculum will explore microscopic organisms, specifically cyanobacteria, which inhabit the soils of the desert Southwest and the critical functions they provide.

“This is a unique opportunity to allow students in our community to play a role in understanding high-level research needs of NASA that we work on here at DRI,” said Dr. Sun, the assistant research professor responsible for developing the new Desert Astrobiology Green Box.

More than 35 Green Boxes have been checked out this academic school year, reaching about 5,000 students who benefit from STEM-based curriculum inside. Due to their growing popularity, more than 18 new Green Box topics including natural gas, wind and geocaching are currently in development and will be available to check out later this year.

Along with Green Boxes, the GreenPower Program provides professional development opportunities for educators by hosting events such as the sixth annual teacher training that was recently held in Las Vegas and Reno. Nearly100 teachers attended both locations and received take-away information for use in the classroom.

“The preparation, agenda and variety of the training provided a well-paced, interactive day learning from our colleagues and community partners,” wrote one participant on the survey collected upon completion of the training.

The GreenPower Program continues to be generously funded by NV Energy and their customers.

For more information about the Green Box program visit or call 702-862-5332.