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Programs

Horticulture 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

Horticulture Programs

Programs Program Information

Carson City Community Garden

The Community Garden began in 2001 and allows community members who don’t have room for a vegetable garden to rent a 4-by-16-foot garden bed for $20 a season at a 25-bed garden complex on Beverly Drive east of the cemetery. The price includes water, soil preparation, some seeds and fertilizer.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

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

Community Beautification through Horticulture

Desert Green, Commercial Water Conservation Training

Desert Green is in its eleventh year and is designed to educate commercial clientele in the Green Industry as well as others who have an interest in water conservation issues. A committee representing the industry implements the training. Desert Green is chaired by one industry representative and one UNCE representative. The program is presented once a year, with 36 classes taught in a two-day period. A committee of industry representative reviews evaluations from the previous year to decide future educational direction and topics. During the evaluation process, the program is reviewed, modified and revised according to the needs of the clientele. As part of the marketing of this program, two articles citing the importance of Desert Green appear in regional trade publications.

Food for Thoughts, School Garden

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Food for Thoughts Program offers children an alternative site for learning, promotes awareness of the desert environment, demonstrates the geographic sources of their food, and encourages healthy eating and activities.

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

Healing gardens in Las Vegas

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension healing gardens essentially become outdoor sanctuaries for people who are hospitalized as well as their families and the staff that works with them.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

Nevada Desert Bioscape

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Desert Bioscape program takes a holistic approach to conserving natural resources in an urban setting. This program targets adult learners in the Green Industry of southern Nevada. This program utilizes the successful Correctional Horticultural program as a model for development. Implementation of the curriculum meets the needs of people already working in the industry. In addition to these goals, training will be translated into money savings for the companies and municipalities because correct practices are being implemented. Students that are planning to or are now taking other classes to improve their job skills are being surveyed.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)

Man conducting irrigation water audit

Research Center & Demonstration Orchard

The Research Center and Demonstration Orchard has been a cooperative effort between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and University of Nevada, Las Vegas for over 20 years. The main emphasis has always been on water conservation in the Mojave Desert. From the very beginning, deciduous fruit trees, wine and table grapes, and various kinds of vegetables have been grown and tested for their ability to survive and produce under desert conditions.

The Greenhouse Project

The Carson City Greenhouse Project was conceptualized in November 2008 in partnership between UNCE; the Carson City Cultural Commission; The Greenhouse Project Committee, a grassroots, community organization; the Carson City School District; Nevada State Parks; and numerous volunteers. The Greenhouse Project serves as a teaching facility for hands on programs at the Carson City High School. Students help to cultivate and distribute vegetables and herbs for culinary classes and community food banks. Additional flower baskets are grown to beautify downtown Carson City.

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.