Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Liquid Gold 5k

At WETLAB we try to give back to our community in a variety of ways, and we try to honor and participate in causes that are near and dear to our employees hearts.  The Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) is front and center in some of our employees minds, because of their impact on the lives of infants and mothers. Below, one of our employees shares her experience with NNBC and their annual race/ fundraiser event, the Liquid Gold 5k.

The Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) is a member of the Maternal Child Health Coalition of Northern Nevada, which is a non-profit organization that supports women and children.  The NNBC aims to normalize breastfeeding and increase community awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.  We also offer resources to moms who need support or help when they want to breastfeed.

The Northern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) held our 8th annual fundraiser, the Liquid Gold 5K Run/Walk on Saturday August 4th, 2018, and our 6th annual “Big Latch On!”  The Big Latch On is a worldwide event which pairs mothers and their children in breastfeeding together for one minute. These events served as our community’s kick-off to World Breastfeeding Week, and were intended to promote community awareness and gain support for normalizing breastfeeding in Northern Nevada.

The events took place on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno and were enjoyed by families, friends, vendors, and volunteers!  Volunteers participated in a volunteer training the night before the race, marked the course, and helped create posters for the race.  The day of the event volunteers were responsible for set up and cleaning up, assisting at the registration table, race guides on the course, and collecting survey information.  It was thanks to the volunteers that helped make our event a success!

If you are interested in learning more about the NNBC, please visit our website (https://nnbc.wildapricot.org/), or join us the first Tuesday of every month from 12:00pm – 1:00pm at The Children’s Cabinet located at 1090 S. Rock Blvd, Reno, NV 89502.

You can also check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nevadabreastfeeds.org/

WETLAB volunteers at the NNBC's Liquid Gold 5k.

WETLAB volunteers at the NNBC’s Liquid Gold 5k.

WETLAB has been participating in Snapshot Day for over a decade!  Snapshot Day is coordinated by the Bureau of Water Quality Planning within the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP).  Snapshot Day occurs annually and is a two-day event where the Urban Truckee River portion of the watershed is sampled from the outlet at Lake Tahoe to its end at Pyramid Lake.  That’s more than 105 miles!  Snapshot Day is an event that involves the community and education outreach; volunteers from local businesses and organizations spend their time teaching students throughout the Tahoe and Truckee Basin about conservation, ecology, hydrology, environmental stewardship, and water quality.  In addition, site facilitators conduct a stream walk for habitat assessment and sample collection for field and laboratory testing.  In conjunction with NDEP, these small groups help create a larger picture of the health of the Basin and watershed.  This provides longitudinal data that helps identify possible sources of pollution or other contamination and information for community planning and development.

On Friday, May 18th 2018, WETLAB volunteered for the 18th Annual Snapshot Day.  Our sampling site was part of the Lower Truckee River at Whites Creek on the campus of Mountain View Montessori School.  As facilitators, we had the opportunity to teach 4th & 5th grade students about the importance of a healthy watershed, water quality, field testing methods, the water cycle, and environmental sustainability.  We were excited to provide a hands-on learning experience to stimulate interest and stewardship while learning about pollution, invasive species, the water cycle, and procedures for field testing.  We also emphasized the importance of observation and protection of our unique water resources.

Team WETLAB at White's Creek for Snapshot Day 2018.

Team WETLAB at White’s Creek for Snapshot Day 2018.

At WETLAB we try to give back to our community in a variety of ways, and we try to honor and participate in causes that are near and dear to our employees hearts.  The Justin Hope Foundation has been a favorite for a few years, because of their outstanding impact in the lives of our community.  Below, one of our employees shares her experience with Justin Hope and their annual race/ fundraiser event, the Spring Forward for Autism. 

WETLAB participating in the Spring Forward for Autism 2017 on Team Zaden.

WETLAB participating in the Spring Forward for Autism 2017 on Team Zaden.

For me, the end of April means a couple things:  nicer temperatures, crazy allergies, and the Spring Forward for Autism.  The last Sunday of April, for the last 3 years, has been all about getting outside and walking/running to raise money for a great cause.  The 5k event is put on by the Justin Hope Foundation, which is a local charity set up to help families of children who are not developing neurotypically (so pretty much any child with a brain developmental disorder).  This year the goal is for the organization to open a respite center, which will provide a place for these families to go for resources and advice.  My family has personally benefited from the events that this organization has put together, giving my son Zaden a chance to do activities during off-hours at fun places so the sensory input would not be too overwhelming.  Hopefully, we at WETLab can continue to support this awesome cause by planning to do the 5k next year.  Last Sunday in April (hint, hint)……

To find out more about the Spring Forward for Autism, or sign up to participate, visit their website here.

PK Electrical and WetLab sponsor Girls on the Run. Congratulations, Brookfield Bears, on finishing the 5K!  

Girls on the Run Nov 2017

PK Electrical and WETLAB were elated to sponsor the Brookfield Bears team in the Girls on the Run – Sierras 5K Race on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno. We would like to congratulate all of the participants for their hard work – over 320 girls crossed the finish line in just 59 minutes! The mission of Girls on the Run – Sierras is to foster and introduce self-esteem and values through health education, life skills development, mentoring relationships, and physical training using a fun, experience-based curriculum.

As Founder, President and CEO of PK Electrical, Karen Purcell (pictured top left) understands the importance of empowering young girls and women and providing resources to encourage leadership and confidence. Ms. Purcell started PK Electrical Inc., a woman-owned electrical engineering firm, in 1996 in Reno, Nevada and has since witnessed the company grow to a dedicated team of 33 employees and expanded to add a second office in Denver, Colorado. As a professional engineer in a male-dominated industry, Karen has experienced many hurdles, both professionally and personally, and hopes to share her stories and insight to inspire the next generation of female leaders. Western Environmental Testing Laboratory (WETLAB) is also a women-owned firm specializing in the niche market of environmental testing services specific to Nevada, California, Idaho and Wyoming. Owner and President, Michelle Sherven is pictured (top right) cheering on the Bears.

The Girls on the Run – Sierras website (https://www.girlsontherunsierras.org/) gives heartwarming insight into the results this program is having on young girls. “A recent independent study provides compelling evidence that Girls on the Run is highly effective at driving transformative and lasting change in the lives of third to fifth grade girls. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. Throughout the course of the ten-week program, girls learn critical life skills including managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions. It is the combination of the research-based curriculum, trained coaches and a commitment to serve all girls that sets Girls on the Run apart from other after-school programs.”

WETLAB is thrilled to share this write-up from PK Electrical about our co-sponsorship of our Girls on the Run team.  Girls on the Run is a valuable community organization, and we are happy to help them further their goals.

Snapshot Day has become an annual WETLAB tradition.  We love getting out into nature and helping to inspire the next generation of scientists!  Jen Delany, one of our regular leaders for Snapshot Day, wrote the overview below. 

WETLAB Snapshot Day leaders Jen, Cory, and Vanessa.

WETLAB Snapshot Day leaders Jen, Cory, and Vanessa

On Friday May 12th 2017, WETLAB volunteered for Snapshot Day, which is coordinated by the Bureau of Water Quality Planning (NDEP). Snapshot Day occurs annually and is a one-day event where the Urban Truckee River portion of the watershed is sampled from the outlet at Lake Tahoe to its end at Pyramid Lake. That’s a total of 105 miles! Snapshot Day is an event that includes the community and education outreach; different businesses and organizations volunteer their time to teach students throughout the Washoe basin about conservation, environmental stewardship, and water quality.   In conjunction with NDEP, these small groups help create a larger picture to determine the health of our watershed over time and identify possible sources of pollution or other contamination. In addition, site facilitators conduct a stream walk for habitat assessment and sample collection for field and laboratory testing.

WETLAB’s sampling site along the Truckee River this year was Whites Creek on the Mountain View Montessori School campus. As facilitators, we had the opportunity to teach the 4th & 5th grade students about the importance of a healthy watershed, water quality, field testing methods, the water cycle and environmental sustainability. We had a unique opportunity this year to educate the students about the Atmospheric River and how the allocation of water is managed within our state. Students were engaged and incredibly helpful.

WETLAB staff enjoyed providing a hands-on learning experience to stimulate interest and stewardship. We hope to continue volunteering for this event year after year!

Andy Smith, our Quality Assurance Manager, helped jump start WETLAB’s involvement with local non-profit organization the Veterans Guest House.  Last year, we explored several staff members stories about why they support Veterans Guest House, which you can find here.  

Hello, as many of you remember WETLAB decided to “adopt” the Veterans Guest House (VGH) as a company-wide fundraising event in 2015. You may also remember how incredibly successful that was thanks to the incredible donations that came in from our friends, families, and of course our clients. We did so well that it put us on the VGH radar and I was recently appointed to the board of directors of the VGH. That is something I’m very proud of, but I know it wouldn’t have happened without a lot of support from all of you. A big part of the duties of a VGH board member is to actively participate in the yearly VGH Radiothon, the biggest fundraising event of the year for the house. At the radiothon this year I was able to spend a few hours at the event meeting some great people, donors and veterans alike, while getting an insider’s view of a really big event. It was a long day but quite frankly one heck of a lot more fun than I expected. We were fortunate to have some other WETLAB staffers work the phone bank for a couple hours and I pretty sure they had a great time as well.

Our wonderful WETLAB volunteers manning the phones at the 2016 VGH Radiothon.

Our wonderful WETLAB volunteers manning the phones at the 2016 VGH Radiothon.

 

Overall the VGH raised over $65,000!!!

What a great event, I urge you to join us next year.

Visit www.VeteransGuestHouse.org for more information

Thank you,

Andy Smith

At WETLAB, we are often approached by members of the community who are interested in having one of talented scientists come talk to students about chemistry.  We try to oblige as much as we can, and this year, we were able to do two completely different presentations for different classes.

One of the thank you letters sent in by the students.

One of the thank you letters sent in by the students.

First up was Andy Smith, our esteemed Quality Assurance Manager, who performed four “chemistry magic” experiments for 2-5 year old students at the Goddard School.  The first experiment was a re-appearing ink sign.  The ink was phenolphthalein indicator on paper, and once the paper was sprayed with Windex (making it basic) the message “Chemistry Magic” appeared.  Next, he created a blueberry Kool-Aid drink that, due to an oxidation- reduction reaction, would turn from blue to colorless.  With a quick shake of the bottle, it would return to blue for a few minutes before the reaction completed again. Third, he changed the color of a Bunsen burner flame to blue (with copper sulfate), orange (with sodium chloride), green (barium chloride), and  brilliant red (with lithium sulfate).  Last, Andy crushed aluminum cans by boiling a small amount of water in them to create steam.  Once the steaming can is turned over in ice water, the instant cooling causes the cans to crush themselves!

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Andy Smith helps to inspire some future scientists.

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Andy shows Chemistry Magic!

The next was Ellen Messinger-Patton, Kat Langford, and Andrew Tobey, who showed a presentation on water purity to sixth graders.  In order to show that tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water, the kids compared and contrasted three samples, including bottled water, tap water, and an untreated sample from the Truckee River.  They used odor, color, pH, metals concentration, and turbidity to determine which water sample was the cleanest.  At the end of the hour, bottled water and tap water were a tie, and many of the kids agreed to try to drink tap water now.  The WETLAB presenters also spent a small amount of time relaying the importance of conservation, and what our hydrologic system looks like in the Truckee Meadows.

Ellen and Kat

Ellen Messinger-Patton and Kat Langford begin water purity demonstration.

At WETLAB, we think that science education is incredibly important.  We are happy to foster the next generation of scientists, and show them that science is not only useful, but also really fun.

Participating in events that benefit our community is important to all of us at WETLAB.  Below, one of our lab techs tells us about an event she participated in earlier this year benefiting the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. 

CANstruction – March 5, 2015

Maiya Greenwood

CANstruction is a charity competition where participants design and build giant structures made completely from canned food. At the conclusion of the competition, all of the food is donated to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. The participants range from engineers and architects to boy scout troops and school students. This year’s event was impressive, exciting and charitable! There were five categories: best meal, best use of labels, structural ingenuity, juror’s favorite, and an honorable mention.

Scouting for Food

“Scouting for Food”

Jurors Favorite Cancraft

Juror’s Favorite- “CANcraft”

Best Meal- "Castle Made of Dreams"

Best Meal- “Castle Made of Dreams”

Best Labels- Give Smore to the food bank

Best Use of Labels- “Give S’more to the Food Bank”

Nik Shulenberger and Ellen Messinger-Patton at WETLAB’s booth on turbidity and water clarity.

 

Three WETLAB staffers spent their day volunteering at U.C. Davis’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center’s Children’s Environmental Science Day on August 2, 2015.  This wonderful event presented many different environmental topics to kids of all ages, and each booth was hosted by a different interested organization.  WETLAB hosted a booth on turbidity and water clarity, which simultaneously exposed children to modern science and helped them understand a specific aspect of Lake Tahoe conservation.

 

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A portion of the booths set up to expose children to environmental science and conservation.

 

 

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Jasmine shows kids how to test various water samples with a turbidimeter.

 

WETLAB has been participating in Snapshot Day for several years now.  We’re proud of our commitment to education, and we hope to inspire ecological stewardship in students of all ages, while also showcasing various career paths they might not have considered previously.  WETLAB directed three monitoring stations this year, meaning we were given the chance to inspire over one hundred students.  Below is a guest blog written by Mary Kay Wagner, the coordinator for Snapshot Day. 

 

Education on the River: Truckee River Snapshot Day

Mary Kay Wagner, Lower Truckee River Snapshot Day Coordinator

The ultimate learning experience occurs when students perform their own investigations and discovery.  That opportunity was provided for Washoe County School District students during the 15th Annual Truckee River Snapshot Day on May 15, 2015. Under the guidance of resource professionals, students take a picture of one-moment in time of the Truckee River by collecting water quality data and studying the riparian habitat.  They also learn about watershed concerns and stewardship practices.

For the lower Truckee River segment, nine schools sent 239 students ranging from 4th grade to high school to participate in the event. The student monitoring teams are pre-assigned to various monitoring sites to perform a stream walk (visual assessment), collect field data and water quality samples, and take photos. Streams are field tested for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, and temperature. Water samples are taken to the Nevada State Health Lab and analyzed for turbidity, nutrients, and fecal coliform bacteria. Monitoring teams also collect debris and trash – things that don’t belong in the river.

One added value of Snapshot Day is the opportunity for students to learn and work alongside natural resource professionals, exposing the students to exciting careers and transferring ecological stewardship principles to a new batch of field recruits.

The success of this hands-on educational event is attributed to the dedicated Team Leaders from WETLAB, Great Basin Institute, Sierra Nevada Journeys, City of Sparks, City of Reno, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Department of Transportation, The Nature Conservancy and Pyramid Lake Environmental staff, who helped students understand watershed concepts and hydrology, as well as the importance of environmental stewardship.  Participating schools included Mt. View Montessori, Natchez Elementary School, High Desert Montessori, Sage Ridge Middle School, Excel Christian School, Spanish Springs High School, Washoe Innovation High School, a home-school group and the Washoe County On-Line School.

 

A student collects a water sample from Hunter Creek during Snapshot Day 2015.

A student collects a water sample from Hunter Creek during Snapshot Day 2015.