Science a star at Family STEM night |

Science a star at Family STEM night

Ginger Kothman makes a paper airplane at the paper airplance challenge held at the River Fork Ranch in Genoa on Wednesday night.
Kurt HIldebrand

Future scientist Ginger Kothman was making a paper airplane in Whit Hall at the River Fork Ranch in Genoa on Wednesday evening.

The 6-year-old Minden girl was at the Family Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Night hosted by the Nature Conservancy and Sierra Nevada Journeys with her mother Kobi.

Around 45 people turned out for the STEM night, according to River Fork Ranch Preserve Manager Lori Leonard.

One guest added a little biology to the hard sciences being explored on Wednesday when a great horned owl perched atop Whit Hall for 15 minutes.

“It was a good night,” Leonard said.

In addition to the paper airplane challenge, children learned about how bird’s beaks help explain their diets, how water crosses terrain, created mini-lightning bolts to explore static electricity, and learned how the plants and animals on the range are connected.

Sierra Nevada Journey’s Sean Hill said the night was an opportunity for families to explore the River Fork Ranch.

“It’s a way to get families out interacting with hands-on science stations and a way to see the beautiful River Fork Ranch,” he said.

He explained that the two organizations participate in several science-related educational projects.

“Sierra Nevada Journeys and the Nature Conservancy partner in Western Nevada on outdoor education, and family science events,” he said. “This is another representation of our cool partnership.”

Dinner was available thanks to the Nevada Nosh Food Truck.

Douglas County schools were out for fall break last week, which Leonard said should increase attendance.

“I’m hearing this could be a good time to be having this event, because parents are looking for things to do with their kids,” she said. “There’s some fun stuff to do.”

For more about the Nature Conservancy, visit For more about Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit