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Nevada Youth Range Camp

High school students looking at sagebrush during a snowfall Even during adverse June weather, high school youth learn about natural resource management at the Nevada Youth Range Camp south of Austin, Nevada, in the Toiyabe Mountains. Photo by Kent McAdoo.

58-year-old camp provides natural resources education for youth

Relevance/Issue

A needs assessment performed by Cooperative Extension in 2001 indicated that the public places very high importance on natural resources education for youth. However, most of Nevada’s youth live in large urban environments, with little exposure to rangelands, forests or agricultural environments, and the products and services rangelands provide. Limited exposure to these environments suggests that Nevada’s youth are increasingly less likely to seek education, careers or experiences in natural resources, particularly on rangelands common in the western U.S. In addition, the number of people with knowledge about rangeland resource issues is declining; yet decision-makers on national law, regulation and policy seek public input toward the management of rangeland resources.

Response/What’s Been Done

Nevada Youth Range Camp was developed in response to and with input from stakeholders, and has been offered for 58 years, teaching over 1,500 students ages 14-18. In June 2018, 25 campers from eight Nevada counties experienced life in Nevada’s rangeland for a week, staying at the Smith Creek Ranch in central Nevada. They learned map reading; identification and the importance of rangeland plants; evaluation of sagebrush, woodland and stream ecosystems; wildlife habitat; and many other topics related to rangelands. Students also participated in outdoor activities, including hiking, volleyball, conservation project implementation, campfires and photography. From 2011 to 2016, curricula were revamped and published for the Soils, Stream, Pinyon and Juniper, Simulated Coordinated Resource Management, and Land Navigation lessons. In 2017, the Nevada Rangeland and Resources Commission made a video about the camp.

Results/Impact and Partners

Each year, campers submit a written evaluation that asks them to rate each of the instructional modules and the overall camp experience from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), as well as to answer open-ended questions about what knowledge they gained. In 2018, all 25 students indicated gains in knowledge, and their average rating of the camp experience was 4.64. The average of individual session ratings was 4.5.

Several campers have attended the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources or other universities in the western United States and pursued careers in natural resources management. Some have gone on to hold positions of leadership in natural resources-related agencies or own or manage ranches. Some report that Nevada Youth Range Camp was a life-changing event.

In 2016, Katlyn Uhart, the Nevada Youth Range Camp 2015 runner-up for "Trail Boss" (top camper award based on performance), competed in the High School Youth Forum at the Society for Range Management’s International Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. She placed first in the competition with an oral presentation on collaborative conservation. Another former Trail Boss winner, Lewis Mendive, now attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources’ Range program, won first place in the collegiate extemporaneous speaking contest at the same conference.

Partners include the Nevada Society for Range Management; the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; Nevada Bighorns Unlimited; U.S. Geologic Survey; Nevada Wildlife Federation; Nevada Division of Conservation Districts; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Nevada Division of Forestry; Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Forest Service; Nevada Department of Wildlife; and Nevada Department of Agriculture.

IMPACTS




1,500+

students educated since 1961.



All 25 students

in 2018 experienced gains in knowledge.



“I really just like the fact when I went out there, that I got to know more about the state I live in, because having grown up here in Reno, some people don’t ever leave Fernley, and they don’t realize how beautiful this state actually is, and what has to happen to continue to be able to graze on public lands, to hunt on public lands, etc.”

— Reno financial advisor Mark Elston, range camp student from 1972 to 1974


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

Alcohol and drug addiction are serious, chronic and relapsing health problems for both women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Leading to physical and mental health problems, substance abuse often precipitates violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, motor vehicle crashes, homelessness, rising health care costs and obesity.

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

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

Nevada Naturalist

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.

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
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management