skip to main content

Programs

Natural Resources 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


Natural Resources Programs

Programs Program Information

Bootstraps

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed Bootstraps, a high-risk youth program that helps teens return to school and/or gain meaningful work.

Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.

Eagles & Agriculture

Two eagles standing with cattle in a field

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.

Integrated Riparian Management/Creeks and Communities

Riparian Management students on a riverbank

Invasive Species (Weeds)

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

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.

Nevada Naturalist

Women kneeling near animal tracks on a trail

Nevada Range Management School

This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program integrates sound science, collaboration and common sense to put public agency land managers, livestock permittees and other land users on the same page in terms of the range resource. It includes topics such as animal nutrition as related to range management.

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month

Living With Fire logo

Nevada Youth Range Camp

High school students looking at sagebrush during a snowfall

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.

Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge through Education

Walker Lake, located in central Nevada, is a natural resource of interest to diverse and often competing groups. Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge Through Education, is a community-based program to educate adults and youth about Walker Lake issues.

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.