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LAS VEGAS - Southern Nevada residents can commemorate Earth Day to learn how to live a sustainable lifestyle and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of our community at the Festival of Communities and GREENFest Earth Day events at UNLV on Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Both events and parking are free and open to the public. 

The event will feature more than 150 student and community vendor displays, with live music and dance performances, UNLV campus tours, a farmer’s market, beer garden and cultural food from around the world.  A designated kids’ zone will have crafts and games, bounce houses, balloon art, magic, face painting, inflatable bumper cars and a human fly trap.

The Desert Research Institute’s education program, GreenPower will be also participating in the all day festivities with a section for students to learn about composting, sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. “We’re really excited to be working with students and showcasing what GreenPower has to offer to the larger Las Vegas community,” said Amelia Gulling, GreenPower Administrator.

Earth Day activities include a Recycled Wear fashion show, natural gas truck experience, solar and eco-car displays, renewable energy exhibits, Republic Services recycling display, CCSD recycling bin art contest and free on-site recycling collections. 

The event will also showcase DesertSol, UNLV's entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon this year.  DesertSol is designed as an ultra-efficient house that celebrates sustainable living in the Mojave Desert using solar as the only fuel source. 

Residents are encouraged to bring down their recyclables and used items for free recycling collections; Shred-It Las Vegas will collect personal documents for shredding, the Blind Center will accept electronics and Republic Services will accept commingled recyclables from your home or office.   New to GREENFest this year is a repurpose collection.  Partners from HELP of Southern Nevada will collect gently used clothing for infants to middle school students and Project 150 LV will collect used clothing, shoes, sports equipment, suits and prom dresses for high school students. 

"We hope those who attend will not only learn about a sustainable lifestyle but also will develop an appreciation and understanding of the cultural diversity and environmental resources that our great community offers," stated Tracy Skenandore of Republic Services/co-founder.

“We are proud to present what has become the largest community Earth Day celebration in Southern Nevada.  Brought to the community by a network of likeminded organizations, businesses and individuals.  GREENFest offers something for everyone,” stated Annette Bubak of Green Alliance/co-founder.  

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.

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.