THE UNIVERSITY AT WORK IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is engaged in Nevada communities, presenting research-based knowledge to address critical community needs. We offer programs in:
- children, youth and families
- community and economic development
- health and nutrition
- natural resources
Learn more about us and our work in this UPDATE newsletter.
I hope everyone is enjoying this summer. While summer can be a time of rest for some, it is a very busy time for faculty and staff of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. They are hard at work across the state, conducting a variety of programs, including 4-H summer camps and range management camps for youth, school gardening programs that teach health and nutrition, and open houses to provide assistance to small business owners. We are also busy preparing for our annual Field Day, Sept. 8, and our upcoming gardening classes and Master Gardener trainings that begin in September.
In addition, we have been busy talking with our stakeholders and staff throughout the state to identify ways to grow our 4-H programs in every Nevada county, and preserve them well into the future. We are looking for ways to enhance our 4-H STEM programs both in our urban centers and rural communities, and to expand some of our other programs, such as the 4-H Ambassador and Shooting Sports programs, by ascertaining support that could provide youth with scholarships for those programs.
I am also meeting with our Cooperative Extension Advisory Council Aug. 30-31 in Reno to discuss these and other matters. I greatly value their input and support as representatives of our stakeholders throughout the state.
Finally, I want to invite you to give me your input, and let me know if there is a particular program that you would like to know about helping to support. We now have Mitch Klaich on board as our Development Director to help those who want to support our programs find easy and mutually beneficial ways to do so. We are always in need of volunteers and gifts-in-kind, as well as monetary support for programs, endowments and scholarships.
Thank you all very much for your continued interest in University of Nevada Cooperative Extension programs. Please feel free to drop me an email or give me a call anytime.
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Children, Youth & Families | Nevada 4-H Shooting Sports
One of Nevada 4-H's most popular and fastest-growing programs is its 4-H Shooting Sports Program, in which youth ages 9-19 participate in clubs and activities learning archery, muzzleloading, rifle, pistol, shotgun or hunting. Youth in the various Shooting Sports clubs throughout the state not only learn marksmanship, safe and responsible equipment use, and sportsmanship, they also learn planning, teamwork, problem-solving, citizenship and other life skills.
"The program really does so much more than just teach marksmanship," said Carrie Stark, Cooperative Extension's state 4-H youth development program director. "It also encourages an appreciation and understanding of natural resources and aims to strengthen families through joint participation in these lifelong recreational activities."
Certified instructors to meet 4-H's high standards
Stark said that trained, certified adult volunteers are key to the program's success.
"All the hands-on learning and competing is under the guidance of our volunteer instructors, whom we train and certify," she said. "Certification requires 15 hours of risk-management and discipline-specific training."
The program currently has 550 Certified Shooting Sports Instructors. Several trainings are held each year to certify additional instructors for the growing program.
The big event
The instructors also help with the biggest event of the year, the Nevada State 4-H Shooting Sports Contest, coming up Sept. 29 in Las Vegas at the Clark County Shooting Complex.
"The State Contest is the end-of-the-season culmination of their activities all year," Stark said. "This is their chance to show what they've learned."
Youth enrolled in any of the 4-H Shooting Sports Clubs have the opportunity to qualify for and participate in the State Contest. Eligibility standards are set by the Nevada State Shooting Sports Advisory Committee and vary for each discipline and age bracket. Last year, 104 youth competed in various disciplines, including .22 rifle, air rifle, shotgun, barebow and freestyle archery, muzzleloader, and air pistol. Youth can participate in up to four disciplines.
Taking it to the schools
The program not only provides those with an interest in these sports the opportunity to learn more and compete at the State Contest, but it also reaches out to introduce sports such as archery to youth who may have never had the opportunity to pick up a bow. For example, in Clark County, former 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator Tricia Braxton Perry partnered with the Clark County Shooting Complex and the Clark County School District to introduce archery and trap shooting to Clark County high school students.
Principals and teachers were invited to participate in a complimentary one-day clinic for archery and trap shooting given by Extension at the Shooting Complex. Afterward, the attendees expressed that they would like to bring students to similar clinics. So, the 4-H Program held two more clinics: one for both students and teachers, with 52 students and 30 teachers from three schools attending; and another just for students, with 25 students from a fourth school attending.
Overall, this collaboration not only introduced many teachers and students in Clark County to archery and trap shooting, it also helped Clark County's 4-H Shooting Sports Program to grow 71 percent over the course of the year.
"People might not think that kids in the Las Vegas area would be interested in things like archery," Stark said. "But, this experience shows that given the chance to learn about it, they are. It's very rewarding to provide these kids with a healthy physical activity that teaches self-discipline, focus, responsibility and so much more."
Looking to the future
Stark said that while the growth of the program is exciting, it will also require additional support.
"The growth of the program is really only limited by our ability to recruit additional instructors and obtain resources for things like equipment, instructor training, events and staff support," she said. "Looking long-term, we really need to secure an endowment or funds for a staff position that can coordinate all of our shooting sports and outdoor education activities for 4-H. That would be a great asset to the program and the state, giving us the ability to continue to expand these programs to reach more youth every year."
Those interested in learning more about supporting Nevada 4-H Shooting Sports can contact Stark at 775-784-4785.
By the Numbers | Last year:
- Nevada youth participated in 2,291 4-H Shooting Sports projects, as part of 4-H Club activities
- Another 2,191 youth participated in 4-H Shooting Sports at special events, fairs or camps
- Nevada trained 100 new leaders
"The students who participated in the 4-H archery and trap shooting clinic talked about their experiences with one another on the bus ride home. Those that participated in archery were excited to try it out in physical education class, and most participated in the intramural program held after school. Overall, it was a great experience for all of them."
- Heather McEnaney
Legacy High School physical education department coordinator and archery intramural instructor
4-H Summer Camps were held this July at the beautiful 32-acre Nevada 4-H Camp on the shores of Lake Tahoe. The campers stayed at the camp's 14 cabins and enjoyed a week filled with outdoor environmental education, hands-on learning activities, and plenty of healthy outdoor activities such as shooting sports, kayaking, swimming and more. July 8-14, 140 campers, ages 9-12, from northern Nevada attended, plus 20 teen counselors. July 15-21, 120 campers, ages 9-15, from southern Nevada attended, plus 20 teen counselors.
4-H Day Camps were also held in Washoe and Clark Counties, with different camps for different ages, ranging from ages 5 to 17. Camps ran anywhere from one to five hours, and from one day a week to four days a week. In Washoe County, 4-H Day Camps were held at three different locations, all focusing on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Nutrition education was also part of the program. In Clark County, 4-H Day Camps were held at eight different locations. Some focused on STEM activities, such as robotics, rocketry, bridge-building, drones and agricultural activities. Others focused on career-development skills, such as resume-writing and interviewing, for older youth. Many also included healthy fitness activities.
Agriculture | Field Day
On Sept. 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the University will host its annual Nevada Field Day. The free event will feature hands-on activities and information focusing on the latest advancements in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition, natural resources and the environment. It is a collaborative project of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station; and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.
The event will be held at the University's Main Station Field Lab, 5895 Clean Water Way in Reno, near the intersection of McCarran Boulevard and Mill Street. Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to provide information on fall planting and pruning, as well vegetable gardening and other topics for home gardeners. The Desert Farming Initiative will be holding a farmers market, selling local produce. Plants grown in the University's greenhouses will also be for sale to support future research and graduate student work.
Participants can learn more about making healthy life choices and protecting their homes and families from wildfire, floods and disease-carrying pests, such as mosquitos. They can also learn from faculty and students about the latest research on many other issues, such as managing Nevada's water resources, wetlands and rangelands. Others will also be on hand providing information, including University student clubs, the Nevada Department of Agriculture and many others.
Community & Economic Development | Nevada Business Development Services
On Aug. 1, over 200 Las Vegas-area residents attended an open house showcasing services now offered by Nevada Business Development Services, which provides essential resources to small business owners in southern Nevada. It is a collaborative effort of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Office of Economic Development; and the Nevada Small Business Development Center.
"The synergies between these three organizations help all of us accomplish our economic development, entrepreneur, research and community engagement goals," said Zach Miles, associate vice president of UNLV Office of Economic Development and director of the Small Business Development Center at UNLV. "Having aligned efforts makes it that much easier to bring experts in from each of these organizations more effectively and efficiently, which only benefits the client."
The open house was held at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Las Vegas, where over 25 partners of the program informed attendees of the resources they could provide for their businesses. There was a tour and a demonstration of the 3D printer available for businesses to use. In addition, Infinity Photo provided free headshot photos for attendees, and Don Tortaco and Regaldo's Catering provided refreshments. Guest speakers included Miles, in addition to Ivory Lyles, director for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; Joe Amato, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration in Nevada; and Patrick Carter, Regent on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Representatives from U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Dean Heller also attended.
Throughout the year, Nevada Business Development Services will offer classes and workshops, one-on-one counseling, data analysis, agency referral services, patent and trademark assistance, networking events, a resource library, computer workstations, a green-screen for shooting photos and videos, and a makerspace lab with the 3D printer. The three major partners are pleased with the enhancement of services the partnership provides.
"Our primary focus is to promote and provide the many resources available to small businesses today by offering a 'one-stop' concept where an individual business can receive a multitude of services from various organizations and agencies that specialize in assisting small businesses," said Buddy Borden, community economic development specialist for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. "The better we can help small businesses navigate today's business environment, the stronger Nevada's economy will become."
For more information, contact Nevada Business Development Services at 702-257-5509.
Health & Nutrition | Grow Yourself Healthy
Cooperative Extension's Grow Yourself Healthy is ramping up for the new school year. The program works with students at Libby Booth Elementary School and Mariposa Academy in Washoe County to increase their willingness to taste new fruits and vegetables, overall consumption of vegetables, and physical activity. The program also aims to decrease their screen time and consumption of sugary drinks.
Instruction begins in the classroom, early in the school year, with students in fourth and fifth grade learning about fruits, vegetables and other edible plants, as well as healthy behaviors. Then, the students head to the school garden. In spring, these students use what they learn in the classroom to choose collections of edible plants to grow. Some examples include soup gardens, salsa gardens, edible flowers and three-sisters gardens (a combination of corn, gourds and beans that grow well together).
Students maintain the garden and learn about nutrition and healthy behaviors through the end of the school year, and then receive help from parents, teachers and community members to maintain the garden throughout the summer.
Students returning to school in the fall harvest the produce. Some students and their parents work together to use the produce to create salsa for salsa competitions at each school. For the remaining produce, each school holds a farmer's market, with the proceeds going back into maintaining the gardens.
Grow Yourself Healthy also occasionally teaches lessons to students kindergarten to third grade to introduce them to the program. In addition, the program holds activities and events for students, their parents and the community. Once such event, "Literacy in the Garden," was held this summer in partnership with Cooperative Extension's Family Storyteller Program. English- and Spanish-speaking children in kindergarten to third grade and their parents spent time together in the school gardens reading children's books that focused on growing food.
Horticulture | Master Gardeners
With fall approaching, Cooperative Extension's horticulture team in northern Nevada is planning the Grow Your Own, Nevada! fall series of classes for backyard growers, and Southern Nevada Master Gardeners are preparing to train and certify new members.
The Grow Your Own, Nevada! Program provides a series of classes each spring and fall to help northern Nevadans successfully grow their own food. Nearly 600 people from across eight Nevada counties attended the spring series. Fall's classes will be 6 - 8 p.m., Tuesdays, Sept. 11 through Oct. 2. Classes will be held at the Washoe County Cooperative Extension office and will be available via interactive video at several northern Nevada Extension offices.
In southern Nevada, Master Gardeners accepted applications in May, and the training will take place Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Sept. 7 through Oct. 31. To become a certified Master Gardener in Clark County, applicants must complete 80 hours of basic training, which include both coursework and hands-on training, and then volunteer at least 50 hours. To keep their Master Gardener status, each Master Gardener must contribute at least 50 hours each year, including volunteering or completing continuing education. However, most contribute much more time, with the average being 125 hours per year.
Also this past spring, Master Gardener Anne Marie Lardeau saw results of a five-year quest to increase pollinators by planting and conducting research with 30 varieties of milkweed. The spring brought the first ever recorded spring sighting of Western monarch butterflies laying eggs in Las Vegas. The monarch's spring eggs provide hope for a decreasing population of migratory monarch butterflies.
Natural Resources | Nevada Youth Range Camp
In June, 25 youth experienced life in Nevada's rangeland for the 58th annual Nevada Youth Range Camp. Campers stayed at the Smith Creek Ranch, where they learned from range management professionals knowledgeable in the ecology and management of the Great Basin's rangelands. Lessons included map reading; identification and the importance of rangeland plants; evaluation of sagebrush, woodland and stream ecosystems; wildlife habitat; and many other topics. Students also participated in outdoor activities, including hiking, volleyball, conservation project implementation, campfires and photography.
Campers also received hands-on experience in tracking tagged animals. One of the U.S. Geologic Survey's sage grouse conservation teams is stationed at the Smith Creek Ranch, and they gave a presentation to the campers on tracking the sage grouse. The team then allowed the youth to use the equipment to track and find a tagged dog. Campers also saw presentations on the research being conducted at the ranch by faculty of the University's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; members of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited; and others.
Last year, the Nevada Rangeland and Resources Commission made a video about the camp. The 30-minute video aired on KTVN Channel 2 this past July and August.
Since the establishment of Nevada Youth Range Camp, it has provided education to over 1,500 students ages 14-18. Several former campers have attended the University's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, or other universities in the West, and many have pursued careers in natural resources management. Some have gone on to hold positions of leadership in agencies or own or manage ranches. Many partners contribute to the success of this collaborative program, including the Nevada Society for Range Management and many others.