Student Stewards Program
Registration for the 2019-2020 schools year is
Email Jennifer Rust at with preferred dates and times.
What is the Student Stewards Program?
The Student Stewards Program is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), standards-based curriculum that uses citizen science to engage kids with their local parks. We turn parks into learning laboratories where students learn about their environment and collect data for local and national research.
This program introduces students to the importance of STEM fields and to the ever-growing opportunities in STEM jobs. The program prepares the students for success in post-secondary education and STEM careers.
According to the US Department of Education, only 16% of American high school students are proficient in STEM-related subjects. However, there is a projected 14% increase by 2020 in all STEM-related jobs. We need to bridge this gap.
We want to make students of all grade levels in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County excited and interested in science careers. The Student Stewards Program aims to do this by connecting students to local scientists and researchers through hands-on STEM projects.
Why citizen science?
Citizen science allows students to become part of a larger scientific research project. Through collecting, analyzing, and reporting data, students are a key contributor to a larger scientific community. The data is used by The Nevada Department of Agriculture, University of Nevada, Reno scientists, and the Lahontan Audubon Society. Using standard scientific data collection protocols, students learn how their efforts contribute to understanding and bettering our environment.
Why in our local parks?
Being outdoors promotes personal and community well-being. Simply put, kids who go outside are healthier. Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation raises awareness and provides opportunities to better take care of these vital public spaces. It promotes a sense of place and community, and a connection to our natural environment.
What is the structure of the program?
Our curriculum uses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core English, Language Arts, and Mathematics standards. We can tailor our lessons to specific standards that teachers want to cover.
Lesson 1: 1-1 ½ -hour introduction in the classroom,
Lesson 2: 2-hour in-park citizen science count,
Lesson 3: 1-1 ½ -hour conclusion/math session in the classroom.
We have four modules and can cater to all grade levels. For details, click here.
What is the cost?
The program is free for schools with a majority free-reduced lunch student population (50.1% or more). There is a small participation fee of $5 a student for schools below that percentage.
We focus on schools near or adjacent to parks in order to walk to the park and eliminate transportation costs. If you are interested in creating an Student Stewards Program-driven field trip, please contact us for details.
What do teachers have to say about the program?
Mary Lynn - Lemelson - First Grade - Thank you so much for teaching and working with my first graders. They had so much fun! You all made the learning so engaging and interesting for them. All the activities aligned with NGSS standards!
Heather Sirotek - Esther Bennett - First Grade - Thank you! Our students loved the activities and the field trip. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Leigh Little - Smithridge - Second Grade - They loved it! Please email me again next year to set up another field trip! I am always happy to work with TMPF!
Kim Price - Sun Valley - Fourth Grade - This was fantastic. We would love it if you adopted us and came out once a quarter. The kids loved it!
Jennifer Dahlen - Bernice Mathews - Third Grade - The students loved the field trip to learn more about the birds and habitats! Thanks for all that you and your team did to work with our kiddos.
Melinda Dacus - Dodson - Fourth Grade - As I've told others, our classes were quite impressed with the level of information provided and the hands-on application the students were able to practice! I'm hoping our fourth grades can participate in the bird survey in the spring.
Elizabeth Hamilton - Grace Warner - Fourth Grade - Thank you to you and your colleagues. My students had a wonderful time. It made for a fun week.
!New and Improved Soil Survey
Water Bird Survey
Water Quality Survey
SSP Spring Break Camp