Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)
Extension helps green industry professionals to increase landscape sustainability and decrease landscape water demand
QWEL was created in 2007 by the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership and has been modified to meet the needs of Nevadans. The training was designed to provide an affordable, proactive and local approach to reducing landscape water demands, as well as share the knowledge of water efficient and sustainable landscape principles. This program is EPA certified through the WaterSense program.
The training will provide participants with local water, soil and plant information, basic and advanced irrigation principles and hands-on water audit skills they can use in the field. The program covers the following topics:
- Where Our Water Comes From
- Sustainable Landscaping
- Landscape Water
- Irrigation Systems
- Irrigation Maintenance & Troubleshooting
- Irrigation System Auditing
- Irrigation Scheduling
- Irrigation Controllers
- Bringing it all Together
Participants can take the 21-hour training course just for the knowledge, or they can also take the exam to obtain certification. Upon certification, professionals will need to continue their education with at least 2 continuing education units per year to uphold their certification.
By 2030, Nevada’s population is projected to increase by 114%, and Nevada’s domestic water use will be in the top four states in the county,between 151 and 200 gallons of water per person per day. As nearly 75% of Nevada’s domestic water use is outdoors, the need for water conservation and sustainability is pertinent to the success of our state and its constituents. The QWEL program will offer the green industry ways to efficiently use water in landscapes and promote landscape sustainability.
Results/Impact and Partners
With the continued need to reduce water use and create a more sustainable landscape, certified professionals will be making progressive strides to earn the knowledge and practical skills to meet this need.
Being that QWEL is EPA certified, participants who QWEL certify will not only be part of the QWEL.net directory of qualified professionals, but will also be listed as certified professionals in a searchable database on the WaterSense website. Certified QWEL professionals can use the logo on their trucks and business cards as a means of marketing their qualifications with their customers. Homeowners can use the searchable databases to find QWEL professionals for hire.
QWEL is co-sponsored by Truckee Meadows Water Authority and the Nevada Landscape Association.
Contact: Jenn Fisher, horticulture program coordinator, 775-336-0249
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
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
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
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)
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.