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Conference to highlight urban agriculture and business opportunities in Southern Nevada

For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013

LAS VEGAS – In the heart of earth month and just two days after the official “Earth Day” 2013, Las Vegas will host one of the largest and explicit indoor agriculture conferences the valley has yet to see.

The Desert Research Institute and DRI’s GreenPower program are collaborating with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) as a supporter and sponsor for the all-day Indoor Agriculture Conference on Wednesday, April 24th from 8:30-5pm at the Historic 5th Street School in Downtown Las Vegas. The focal point is how to improve local food production and boost the state’s food supply in the desert through various types of indoor agriculture.

A myriad of business vendors, farmers, investors and industry professionals already on the forefront of working to solve water resource concerns in Southern Nevada, will be attending the expo. Some of the represented businesses include: Go Green Agriculture, Whole Foods Market, CropKing and Hydro Greens.

“Las Vegas is the place to bring businesses for urban agriculture and it’s exciting that DRI and GreenPower can be a sponsor of this conference and participate in these efforts,” said Amelia Gulling, GreenPower’s Program Administrator.

A group of expert panelists will also be discussing indoor agriculture in Southern Nevada at this conference including Dr. Navin Twarakavi, a Soil Scientist at DRI. Twarakavi is on the morning session of panelists from 10:30-11:25a.m. His research specifically examines how to develop and improve urban agriculture in the desert by reducing water and soil usage. During the panel session, he will be talking about the various cutting-edge technologies he’s working with such as aeroponics, hydroponics, and ecopods to make indoor farming possible.

“The need to produce fresh food here in Las Vegas is at an all-time high and its imperative for DRI to act as a catalyst for indoor agricultural production in Southern Nevada,” Twarakavi said. “It’s great to be a part of this.”

GreenPower’s presence at the conference will highlight to business and industry professionals how the program specifically works with Nevada’s k-12 children to inspire them to become the state’s future problem solvers.

“GreenPower is committed and works tirelessly to show our efforts on how we help Nevada’s students learn about sustainability and the hope is that one day these students can make a difference here in Nevada,” Gulling said. “This conference is just another effort to try to achieve this.”

This Indoor Agriculture Conference highlighting technologies to improve food production in Las Vegas kicks off just the week before Dr. Nina Fedoroff, a world-renowned plant geneticist will be recognized as DRI’s 26th Nevada Medalist. Dr. Fedoroff has worked in the field of DNA sequencing technology for nearly forty years and has been recognized with outstanding achievements in the field of life sciences and biotechnology throughout her career. DRI’s Nevada Medal Event begins in Reno Tuesday, April 30th and ends in Las Vegas Thursday, May 2.

Nevada Medal Event
For more information about the event go to:

Conference Flyer
Download the Indoor Ag Conference Flyer (538KB PDF)

GOED's Announcement
NV Indoor Ag Conference Assembles Innovators to Confront Challenges to Local Food Production

Gift to help with educational tools for Nevada’s K-12 children 


BOULDER CITY: The Desert Research Institute’s educational program, GreenPower is excited to welcome a generous donation from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power of $15,000 to contribute to the support of Nevada’s K-12 students about environmental and sustainability topics.

“The generous contribution from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power will provide an opportunity for us to develop solar focused Green Boxes that we will specifically outreach to our Boulder City schools,” said Amelia Gulling, GreenPower’s Program Administrator. 

GreenPower has developed “green boxes,” which is a teaching aid that resembles a suitcase that contains educational tools designed to provide students a “hands-on” learning experience about sustainability. Each box is created to highlight an important facet of environmental topics. For example, the items in a box might include curriculum such as model car kits that demonstrate how solar power and wind turbine models work.

“The boxes will provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focused hands-on activities that engage students and meet the current academic standards,” Gulling said.

Sempra is one of the nation’s leading developers of renewable energy facilities, including the Copper Mountain Solar power projects in Boulder City. Kevin Sagara, Vice President of Renewables at Sempra U.S. Gas & Power says the company is thrilled to support this cause.

“We are proud to support a cause that educates Nevada’s leaders of tomorrow on the importance of environmental preservation and sustainability,” Sagara said. “We have collaborated with DRI on scientific studies at Copper Mountain Solar in the past and we are pleased to build upon that relationship.”

The “green boxes” will be available for teachers to use as educational resources beginning in the fall of 2013. The GreenPower program will be available for free for all Boulder City educators.

GreenPower’s Energy Wise Educators program specifically will highlight conservation


LAS VEGAS – Clark High School students will have the chance for three days to work with one of the Desert Research Institute’s educational programs, EnergyWise Educators. Focusing on STEM academics, students’ grades 9-12 will learn about energy conservation and efficiency and how to apply this knowledge in a real-world setting.

NV Energy, EnergyFit Nevada, the U.S. Green Building Council Nevada Chapter, the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition along with DRI’s GreenPower program is sponsoring this workshop at Clark from Monday March 11th to Wednesday March 13th. Media is invited to attend Tues. March 12th, from 9:30-11 a.m. at Clark High School where students, teachers and GreenPower will be available for interviews to talk about this exciting collaborative effort.

Clark is an established magnet school with a recognized science program. Joe Winfield, Assistant Principal says for this particular workshop only the regular zoned students will have the opportunity to participate in this conservation program.

“Anytime we can get students engaged in science, especially students that have not regularly engaged in advance science-related courses, is an opportunity as educators we are thrilled about,” Joe Winfield, Assistant Principal said.

GreenPower specifically will be hosting a portion with their “green boxes,” a collection of curriculum and science-related materials, for the first time to give students an optimal interactive experience to learn about science.

“Green Boxes is a concept we created for students to have an engaging and interactive learning environment,” Amelia Gulling, GreenPower’s Administrator said. “We’re really excited this partnership with Clark High School is the first opportunity for students to use them.”

Freda Vine, Clark High School Biology Teacher is thrilled her students will get to participate in this three-day event. “This event is all about students interacting and working in teams,” Vine said. “It’s bringing real-world concepts into the classroom so that students can take these ideas back home.”

Clark specifically has been selected as a GreenPower school for the next two years, meaning they work extensively to launch science-related programs into Clark’s classrooms. This workshop is the start of a larger collaboration with Clark for DRI’s scientists to provide on-going knowledge to students to ultimately benefit the larger community.

“In order to contribute to the future of new sustainable energy economy, Nevada’s students will need a strong foundation in the scientific and engineering principles of “green” energy and “green” technologies,” Vine said. “The GreenPower Program is directed towards providing that foundation to Clark Students.”

Insights and updates from Science Alive staff and partners.

Teacher Trainings and Workshops

As part of our mission, we recognize the importance of preparing Nevada’s educators with real world science information and expertise so they can transmit that information to their students.

DRI’s Science Alive program hosts professional development teacher trainings throughout the year in both Northern and Southern Nevada, and in our rural communities. We pride ourselves on offering a diverse set of topics and experiences at each training. All of DRI’s trainings are free and educators who attend our trainings are eligible for in-service education credits offered through the Nevada State Department of Education.  Our trainings include hands-on activities, exciting keynote presentations, unique field trip experiences, and amazing resources.

Past topics for our trainings include: Astrobiology, gardening, engineering and innovation, recycling, water conservation, energy and energy efficiency, exploring NGSS, and our annual STEAM focused trainings.

Should you have any questions about our trainings please contact our Community Relations and Professional Development Administrator

Special event announcements and details.
Major news items from the Desert Research Institute.
Archive news feed of Science Alive (formerly GreenPower) press releases and special announcements.

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