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County Offices

Washoe County Programs

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower Master Gardeners help people learn successful Nevada gardening, such as ways to attract and protect pollinators. Photo by Wendy Hanson Mazet.

Program trains local gardeners to provide research-based horticulture information to Nevadans

Relevance/Issue

The results of Nevada’s Washoe County 2012 Horticulture Needs Assessment identified the following issues: home food production and edible landscaping, diagnosis and management of plant pests (insects, disease, weeds), local food production and urban agriculture, sustainable landscaping practices (including native plant landscaping), and landscape water conservation. In addition, the Mojave Desert’s unique conditions require special training. Both the Clark County and Washoe County Cooperative Extension offices receive thousands of phone calls and emails, as well as visits to the office, from people requesting assistance, which can easily overwhelm faculty and staff resources.

Response/What’s Been Done

Across Nevada, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners volunteered 44,913 hours in 2017. Some Master Gardener volunteer activities are consistent throughout the state, including teaching classes, offering garden tours, staffing information booths at community events, and answering questions in person at Extension offices and through email and telephone. In addition, Master Gardeners in each county performed activities and events specific to the county. Master Gardeners also presented for the Southern Utah Green conference.

Results/Impact and Partners

According to eXtension in 2009, Master Gardeners average helping five community members for each hour of volunteer time. Using this formula, Master Gardeners in Washoe County have helped 352,550 community members since 2010. Also since 2010, Clark County Master Gardeners have had 289,609 face-to-face interactions with community members and volunteered 277,803 hours.

In 2017, in Washoe County, 32 students completed the coursework required to become Master Gardeners. As of July 2018, over half have completed the volunteer time required to become certified Master Gardeners. The 32 students rated their confidence on topics from 1 (low) to 5 (high) before and after the program, reporting the following average confidence increases:

  • 96 percent for native plants in the landscape
  • 51 percent for potting media and container gardening
  • 42 percent for water efficiency in the landscape
  • 46 percent for plant problem diagnosis

In Clark County, a Master Gardener earned second place at the 2017 International Master Gardener Conference in Oregon for her work with milkweeds to promote pollinators in southern Nevada. 35 Master Gardeners were certified and asked to rate their knowledge on topics from 1 (little) to 5 (a lot) before and after the program, reporting the following average knowledge increases:

  • 2.8 in fertilizers
  • 1.8 in edible landscapes
  • 1.2 in how to teach adults
  • 2.1 in plant diseases
  • 2.0 in weeds
  • 2.2 in botany
  • 2.2 in soil amendments
  • 1.4 in soils
  • 1.8 in vegetables
  • 1.8 in gardening smarter

Partners included Washoe County; Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space; Carson City Parks and Recreation; Clark County; Nevada Department of Agriculture; Nevada Department of Wildlife; College of Southern Nevada; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Schilling Horticulture Group; National Audubon Society; Great Basin Water Company; Nevada Hemp Association; Town of Gardnerville; Douglas County Parks; local nurseries; home stores; irrigation companies; businesses and organizations.

IMPACTS




352,550

community members helped since 2010



277,803

hours volunteered in Clark County since 2010



“I know the whole Cooperative Extension program funding has been decimated over the last 15 years. Kudos to all involved keeping the Cooperative Extension and especially the Master Gardeners Program going through creativeness and tenacity. While my interests lie outside the horticulture arena, I fully appreciate the great people I’ve met along the way and their willingness to pass on their special knowledge which has helped make my little piece of Southern Nevada a really special place to live.”

— Brian Woodward, Las Vegas, in an email


Contacts:
Southern Area: Clark County, Las Vegas
Angela O`Callaghan, Social Horticulture Specialist, 702-222-3130
Lori Leas, Community Based Instructor, 702-257-5501

Northern Area: Washoe, Storey, Pershing, Humboldt, Lander, Elko, Douglas and Carson
Heidi Kratsch, State Horticulture Specialist, 775-784-4848
Wendy Hanson Mazet, Master Gardener Coordinator, 775-784-4848

Central Area:
Lyon County: Marcia Moffitt, 775- 463-6541
Mineral County: Kellie Zuniga, 775-945-3444
No. Nye County: Debby Woodland, 775-727-5532

Programs Program Information

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

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.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

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

Engaged Leadership Program

Washoe County, Nevada, needed advanced training and skill building for the county’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) members to help them to participate effectively in local government issues that impact their communities. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed and implemented an Engaged Leadership program to assist chairpersons and CAB members in their efforts to create and sustain effective boards.

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.

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.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

 A tray of vegetables

Grow Yourself Healthy

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.

Little Books and Little Cooks

Children scooping soil from a wheelbarrow into a carton

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

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.

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.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)

Man conducting irrigation water audit

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.

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

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
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