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County Offices

Elko County Programs

Nevada Radon Education Program

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada State Health Division to educate Nevadans about the possible health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers literature, educational programs and radon test kits in many county Extension offices.

Issue:

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no odor, color or taste and is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Uranium is found in all soils and in higher concentrations in granite, shale and phosphates. As it decays into radon gas, the radon moves through the soil into the atmosphere, where it is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air or can enter buildings through foundation openings and become trapped inside. When it enters a building, it can accumulate and present a health concern for occupants. Buildings other than homes can also have radon concerns (such as commercial buildings, schools, apartments, etc.). Radon breaks down into several radioactive elements called radon decay products, which are solid particles that become suspended in air. They are extremely small and easily inhaled, where they can attach to lung tissue. Not everyone exposed to radon will get lung cancer, but the greater the amount of radon and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. More than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year, making it the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

What Has Been Done:

Since the fall of 2007, the Nevada Radon Education Program has been actively promoting awareness of the radon health risk to the citizens of Nevada through educational programs, displays, brochures, the Radon in Nevada Web site, www.unce.unr.edu/radon, newspaper press releases, TV reports and literature distribution. Cooperative Extension offices statewide offered free radon test kits for the first two years of the program, and free kits are still available to residents of Clark and Douglas counties. Other offices statewide now charge $5 per kit. During January 2009’s National Radon Action Month, public programs, as well as community group programs, were offered statewide in attempts to educate the public by direct contact. In the first quarter of 2008, 1,852 short-term radon test kits were distributed by the program. In the first quarter of 2009, more than 6,300 test kits were distributed. In addition, 403 short-term test kits were purchased from other retail sources and used during the quarter. Since 2007, UNCE’s Radon Program has responded to 4,800 phone calls or e-mails; spoken with nearly 17,300 people, and distributed nearly 70,000 publications or information pieces.

Impact:

The number of short-term tests distributed during the fiscal year 2009 more than tripled from the previous year to 10,413 kits. The number of those kits that were used also tripled. The number of long-term tests distributed — which are typically recommended when short-term tests show radon levels above the acceptable standard — went from none in 2008 to 181 in 2009. The number of tests distributed and used have started to reach levels where the results are more statistically significant. For instance, more than 2,300 tests — the highest number of any county in Nevada — have been conducted in Washoe County, and the results indicate that nearly 20 percent of the homes have had radon levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Action Level. In Douglas County, nearly 1,300 tests have been conducted and more than 40 percent of the homes have elevated radon levels. Overall, one in four homes in Nevada has elevated radon levels. UNCE provides information to property owners including contact information for certified mitigation professionals and encourages homeowners to mitigate their homes if elevated radon levels are determined. UNCE also encourages the inclusion of radon-resistant features in new construction. Installing radon-resistant features in new construction is a wise choice, as the cost to install the system is usually a fraction of the cost to fix an existing structure and the results can be more aesthetically pleasing.

See Also: For additional information, please visit the Nevada Radon Education website.

Printable Program Impact

Contact: Susan Howe, Program Director, 775-336-0248 or 888-RADON10

Programs Program Information

Capacity Building for Healthy Communities

Capacity building strengthens an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission to have a positive impact on communities. Strategic thinking, visioning, action planning, and board development are capacity building activities.

Coffee Shop email helps ranchers make money

Nevada agriculture specialists have taken the traditional producer coffee-shop discussions into cyberspace. Cooperative Extension’s coffee shop is a national subscription email designed to provide a two-way communication network for livestock producers. The question-and-answer service provides answers to livestock production and marketing questions.

Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.

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.

Heart and Shield

Parents and children who have experienced domestic violence in the past participate in hands-on activities to foster family bonds, enhance communication and problem solving skills, and focus on healthy relationships. Parents learn about their child’s development, parenting styles, guidance, coping skills and health and wellness while children and youth build friendships, listening and other social and emotional skills. Each session of the 12-week program includes a healthy snack or meal, separate parent and child meetings, family-based activities, a health and wellness tip and a closing activity. Parent interact with one another during the parent meetings through group discussions, role play and other experiential-based activities. Children and youth learn important skills through play, group discussions, theatre arts, games and other hands on activities.

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

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

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a high priority in Elko County. Child caregivers, youth workers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what they can do to prevent child abuse and neglect can attend this workshop. Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, understand their reporting requirements and their role in preventing child maltreatment.

Nevada Range Management School

This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program integrates sound science, collaboration and common sense to put public agency land managers, livestock permittees and other land users on the same page in terms of the range resource. It includes topics such as animal nutrition as related to range management.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, introducing sustainable biodiversity/multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the number of pest control materials labeled in and increasing the knowledge and implementation rate of IPM practices in Nevada.

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

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Beef Quality Assurance
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
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management