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Washoe 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

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

Grow Your Own, Nevada is a statewide University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program designed to help people discover the secrets to gardening in our high-desert climate. The program includes eight two-hour weekly sessions. Classes are held live in Reno in the spring, summer and fall, and are provided by video conference to Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

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

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.

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.

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
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