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Clark County Programs

Nevada Naturalist

Women kneeling near animal tracks on a trail Nevada Naturalists learn a technique of making a mold of an animal track while in the field at Clark County Wetlands Park. Photo by Denise Parsons.

Program educates adult volunteers who educate others and engage in environmental projects in southern Nevada

Relevance/Issue

With explosive growth and development, communities in southern Nevada need informed leadership to educate and take action to increase environmental literacy and protection.

Response/What’s Been Done

Cooperative Extension has offered Nevada Naturalist since 2008. In 2018, Extension offered two sessions with curriculum created by Extension and experts in each field of study and with full advisement and review of program partners. Session One was in the spring, with 11 students completing the program and becoming certified Nevada Naturalists. Basic environmental education topics were covered, and at least 60 hours of basic environmental education were required for certification. The session had 16 classes and eight labs.

Session Two was in the fall, with 8 students completing the program. This session covered additional environmental topics, including: cultural history, archaeology, paleontology, and site stewardship. It had 14 classes and seven labs. All students completed a project on an environmental topic of their choice. Nevada Naturalists (students and/or graduates), under the direction of program faculty and staff, also helped to conduct activities and events during the year as well as volunteer with partnering agencies for a total of 1,200 hours reported as of November.

Results/Impact and Partners

Since 2008, 261 people have been certified through the program, and Nevada Naturalists have volunteered over 24,905 hours on environmental projects in southern Nevada. The program has a 90 percent completion rate, and after completing the program, 87 percent of students stated they have a greater understanding and respect for our natural resources. Of those who completed Session One, 67 percent enrolled in session two. About 86 Nevada Naturalists currently either volunteer or work on environmental issues in southern Nevada.

In 2018, the program was evaluated using pre- and post- testing for each session.

  • The Session One average score increased by 16 percent
  • The Session Two average score increased by 29 percent

Some participant responses to open-ended questions included:

  • "I look forward to the opportunity to share what I have learned with future Nevada Naturalists and others."
  • "I plan on volunteering and using the information to teach at the school where I currently work."
  • "I am open to helping with future Nevada Naturalist classes."

Partners included Nevada Department of Wildlife; Clark County Wetlands Park; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Park Service — Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Nevada State Museum; Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association; Friends of Desert Wildlife Refuges; Lake Mead Volunteer Steward Program; City of Henderson; and the Springs Preserve.

IMPACTS




261

people certified through the program since 2008



24,905+

hours volunteered by Nevada Naturalists on environmental projects in southern Nevada since 2008



“[The Nevada Naturalist Program is a] great way to learn about the natural features of the Las Vegas area. Wonderful community of people who are concerned and devoted to history, education and interactive experiences.”

—2016 program participant


Contact: Denise A. Parsons, Program Manager, 702-948-5906

Programs Program Information

4-H Youth Development

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

All 4 Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by Cooperative Extension faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A Workforce Readiness Program

The Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A workforce readiness program for high school students focused on skill development for workplace and job success. Career Edge helps high school students prepare to get their first "paying" job while working toward their dream job or career. Career Edge provides information and training on interview skills, résumé development, filling out applications, finding job leads and selecting appropriate clothing for the workplace. In addition, many "soft skills" needed in the workplace such as decision-making, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership are integrated throughout the program.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Thistles prepared for the “Noxious Weeds and Weed Law” green industry class

Desert Green, Commercial Water Conservation Training

Desert Green is in its eleventh year and is designed to educate commercial clientele in the Green Industry as well as others who have an interest in water conservation issues. A committee representing the industry implements the training. Desert Green is chaired by one industry representative and one UNCE representative. The program is presented once a year, with 36 classes taught in a two-day period. A committee of industry representative reviews evaluations from the previous year to decide future educational direction and topics. During the evaluation process, the program is reviewed, modified and revised according to the needs of the clientele. As part of the marketing of this program, two articles citing the importance of Desert Green appear in regional trade publications.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

Exploring Your True Colors: Building an Effective Team & Team Development Course

Team Development Course

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Food for Thoughts, School Garden

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Food for Thoughts Program offers children an alternative site for learning, promotes awareness of the desert environment, demonstrates the geographic sources of their food, and encourages healthy eating and activities.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Healing gardens in Las Vegas

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension healing gardens essentially become outdoor sanctuaries for people who are hospitalized as well as their families and the staff that works with them.

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

The Healthy Eating on a Budget program has been integrated into the TANF Work Readiness workshop as a SNAP-Ed program. The purpose of the 8-lesson series is to provide SNAP recipients with education on healthy nutrition and physical activity practices, food resource management, food safety and food security.

Healthy Steps to Freedom

Spinach Chicken Pomegranate salad

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting and Responding to Child Maltreatment

young girl sitting at desk in empty classroom

Little Books and Little Cooks

Children scooping soil from a wheelbarrow into a carton

Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

Nevada Naturalist

Women kneeling near animal tracks on a trail

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Integrated Riparian Management/Creeks and Communities
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals