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County Offices

Washoe County Programs

Little Books and Little Cooks

Children scooping soil from a wheelbarrow into a carton Parents and their children plant seeds at Little Books and Little Cooks’ Read, Plant, Eat event at Extension’s Lifelong Learning Center in Las Vegas. Photo by Yae Bin Kim.

Program for preschool children and their parents to boost healthy eating, literacy, parent-child interaction and school readiness


For many children, academic difficulties begin before they start school. In a national survey, teachers reported that 35 percent of kindergarten children were not ready for school. Poor academic skills in the early years place children at risk, often leading to grade retention, school failure and dropout, delinquency and running away, as well as unemployment and underemployment in adulthood. Children gain critical school readiness skills by engaging in real-life, meaningful activities. Cooking with parents is one educational activity that can help to increase children’s abilities in math, science, reading, language, motor development and social skills in a meaningful and appealing way.

Response/What’s Been Done

Extension’s Little Books and Little Cooks Program, which began in 2012, offers Nevada’s Clark, Washoe and Lincoln County preschool children and their parents the chance to cook and read stories together. Extension provides the books, recipes and cooking instructions.

In 2017, six new books and recipes were added, and the curriculum was also used in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania communities. In addition, a seven-week series was delivered 61 times statewide totaling 424 two-hour workshops, reaching families at at-risk elementary schools, libraries and Head Start sites. Participants included 477 families in Clark and Lincoln Counties, and 165 parents and 172 children in Washoe County.

Also in 2017, the program offered community activities at 58 events throughout the state to promote children’s healthy eating and physical activity. Program faculty delivered information sheets, handouts, promotional displays, posters and newsletters in English and Spanish, reaching at least 3,912 people.

Results/Impact and Partners

Since 2012, the program has reached 2,628 parents and 2,202 children through 193 program series. In 2017, 367 participants completed pre- and post- tests:

  • 327 felt more confident interacting with their child at home.
  • 360 planned to continue using what they learned in the future.
  • 341 said their children help prepare food more often.
  • 327 said their children try new and unfamiliar foods at home more often.
  • 349 said their children feel more confident about using cooking equipment during cooking.

In Clark County, of 60 parents completing a follow-up survey three months after the seven-week series:

  • 37 ate fruits and vegetables two to four times a day.
  • 58 felt confident interacting with their child during mealtime.
  • 58 felt confident interacting with their child when playing or during other routines.
  • 57 knew all the food groups.
  • 35 ate all food groups each day.
  • 59 thought their child was ready for school.
  • 37 said their children help prepare food at home several times a week.
  • 41 said their children eat fruits and vegetables two to four times a day.
  • 46 said their children are more willing to try new and unfamiliar foods at home.
  • 25 said their children eat food from other cultures several times a week.
  • 32 said their children eat all food groups each day.

Partners included:

Public Value Statement

In 2016, Lincoln County developed a farmers market coupon program, where local residents in need were given coupons to use to get free fresh food at the farmers market. A total of $5,190 worth of local food (at least 438 pounds) was distributed to 1,139 people April through June.



children and parents reached through 193 program series since 2012


of participants who completed pre- and post-tests said their children help prepare food more often


of participants who completed pre- and post-tests said their children try new and unfamiliar foods at home more often

"My kids are more interested in cooking and learning about new foods. Also the books made it easy to read as a family."

—Program participant


Clark County

  • YaeBin Kim, Parenting Education and Child Development specialist, 702-257-5521

Lincoln County

Washoe County

  • Dan Weigel, Human Development specialist, 775-784-4848

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


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