Local nonprofit holds STEM training for teachers

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A more energy-efficient community is the focus of a training happening this week.

Envirolution is a local non-profit challenging teachers and students in Washoe County to create solutions for energy problems at their schools.

It’s all a part of Project ReCharge.

Organizers want to make sure teachers are educated about, and equipped to teach, the importance of energy conservation and sustainability.

“In Nevada where we have a whole lot of sun and geothermal and wind, it’s great to introduce students to that concept for future careers and to help save the planet,” says project instructor Todd Markey.

For the past five years, Envirolution has been putting Washoe County teachers through the program.

“This is teaching teachers how to teach their students.”

Teachers start out in a three-day training session, like this week’s class, where they get to learn about energy efficiency.

“Not only through what energy is, through electrical conduction and circuits, but how wind turbines work, how solar panels work, how we can make homes more efficient through better insulation,” says Markey.

After the three-day training, the teachers continue Project ReCharge by sharing the curriculum with their students.

Markey says the goal of the program is to get students to come up with an energy-saving proposal.

“It culminates at the end where they try to save ten percent off their school’s energy bill and it’s something they can take home with them; they do home energy audits, how to make their own homes more efficient and conserve energy.”

After this week’s winter training session Envirolution will have worked with 97 teachers in 33 schools across eight school districts in northern Nevada and California, and have reached 10,000 students.

Seven student proposals have saved 174,000 dollars in energy costs.