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4 Extension programs nominated for regional award

Posted 3/20/2009

Four University of Nevada Cooperative Extension programs have been nominated for the 2009 Western Extension Directors Award of Excellence.

"Calming the Waters," a curriculum for teaching 12- to 18-year-old students about water conflict in the Western United States, and "Veggies for Kids: Grow Strong," a program that is helping second- and third-graders understand the links between healthy eating, being active and health, were nominated as Nevada state programs.

The "Community Business Matching Program," which is helping Bullhead City, Ariz., and Laughlin, Nev., bring in new businesses and offset the shutdown of the Mohave Power Plant, and "Living on the Land," a training program for educators who help landowners manage small-acreage farms, ranches and property, were nominated as multistate programs.

The awards recognize Extension outreach programs that have achieved outstanding results addressing issues important to the 13 Western states and territories.

"These programs are all worthy of this recognition," Cooperative Extension Dean Karen Hinton said.

"Calming the Waters," first published in 2003 and created by Extension Educator Loretta Singletary, teaches Nevada school children about water conflict on the Truckee, Carson and Walker rivers. It highlights historical water use on American Indian reservations involved in the conflict, and teaches youth collaborative problem-solving and communication skills while incorporating social studies, language arts and mathematics. It has already received a number of regional and national awards, and more than 1,600 copes of the curriculum have been circulated.

"Veggies for Kids: Grow Strong," coordinated by UNCE Nutrition Specialist Kerry Seymour, was created in response to a growing risk of obesity and attendant diabetes in Native American youth. The 10-lesson program focuses on two elementary schools of predominately Native American students, and has resulted in children’s increased exposure to and preference for a variety of healthy foods including traditional Native American foods and daily physical activity practices linked to improvements in overall health.

"Living on Land" helps reduce the environmental impacts that result when large parcels are rezoned into smaller-acreage parcels by teaching landowners about erosion control, grazing practices and pest management. The curriculum was developed by a team from eight Western states, and the training done in Carson Valley helped improve water quality in the Carson River. Hundreds of copies of the curriculum have been distributed in 42 states and four foreign countries since 2001, and in 2008, 100 educators attended training sessions on using the materials. UNCE representatives on the program team include Susan Donaldson, a water quality education specialist; Melody Hefner, a water quality program coordinator; Ed Smith, a natural resources specialist; and Sherman Swanson, an Extension range specialist.

The "Community Business Matching Program," designed by UNCE faculty members Buddy Borden and Tom Harris with the help of two other professors from Montana and Hawaii, helps communities lure the kind of businesses they want and to develop the kind of assets that will attract the type of businesses they want. During 2008, the program was tested in Laughlin, Bullhead City and Anaconda, Mont. The program is expected to bring up to 150 new jobs to the Laughlin area.

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