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Mineral County Programs

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

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Community Beautification through Horticulture

Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program

The purpose of Nevada’s Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) is to improve the ability of Native American farmers and ranchers to manage their agricultural enterprises effectively, efficiently and profitably.

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.

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.

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.

Veggies for Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) Veggies for Kids program takes a proactive approach toward eating and experiencing different kinds of vegetables for American Indian children at a young age.

Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge through Education

Walker Lake, located in central Nevada, is a natural resource of interest to diverse and often competing groups. Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge Through Education, is a community-based program to educate adults and youth about Walker Lake issues.

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

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
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
Weed Prevention and Management