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Programs

Natural Resources Programs

Nevada Naturalist

Women kneeling near animal tracks on a trail Nevada Naturalists learn a technique of making a mold of an animal track while in the field at Clark County Wetlands Park. Photo by Denise Parsons.

Program educates adult volunteers who educate others and engage in environmental projects in southern Nevada

Relevance/Issue

With explosive growth and development, communities in southern Nevada need informed leadership to educate and take action to increase environmental literacy and protection.

Response/What’s Been Done

Cooperative Extension has offered Nevada Naturalist since 2008. In 2017, Extension offered two sessions with curriculum created by Extension and experts in each field of study and with full advisement and review of program partners. Session One was in the spring, with 10 students completing the program and becoming certified Nevada Naturalists. Basic environmental education topics were covered, and at least 60 hours of basic environmental education were required for certification. The session had 16 classes and eight labs.

Session Two was in the fall, with 10 students completing the program. This session, which was not required for certification, covered advanced environmental topics. It had 14 classes and seven labs.

All students had to complete a project on an environmental topic of their choice. Nevada Naturalists (students and/or graduates), under the direction of program faculty and staff, also helped conduct activities and events during the year and volunteered for 2,610 hours.

Results/Impact and Partners

Since 2008, 242 people have been certified through the program, and Nevada Naturalists have volunteered over 23,705 hours on environmental projects in southern Nevada. The program has a 90 percent completion rate, and after completing the program, 87 percent of students stated they have a greater understanding and respect for our natural resources. Of those who completed Session One, 67 percent took the advanced session. About 86 Nevada Naturalists currently either volunteer or work on environmental issues in southern Nevada.

In 2017, the program was evaluated using pre- and post- testing for each session.

  • The Session One average score increased by 21 percent
  • The Session Two average score increased by 30 percent

Nine students answered questions on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high) for two classes: Reptiles and Amphibians, and Water and Weather. Average scores were:

  • 5 for how much new knowledge was gained from Reptiles and Amphibians
  • 4.9 for how much new knowledge was gained from Water and Weather

Some participant responses to open-ended questions included:

  • "I plan to use these topics to introduce youth to nature and historical resources."
  • "I plan on volunteering and using the information to teach at the school where I currently work."
  • "I am open to helping with future Nevada Naturalist classes."
  • "I will definitely use the information at work while talking to and engaging with children."

Partners included Nevada Department of Wildlife; Clark County Wetlands Park; Red Rock National Conservation Area; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Park Service — Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Nevada State Museum; Tortoise Group; Friends of Sloan Canyon; Las Vegas Inspiring Connections Outdoors; Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association; Friends of Desert Wildlife Refuges; Friends of Gold Butte; Lake Mead Volunteer Steward Program; City of Henderson Get Ready Stay Ready Emergency Preparedness; City of Henderson; and the Springs Preserve.

IMPACTS




242

people certified through the program since 2008



23,700+

hours volunteered by Nevada Naturalists on environmental projects in southern Nevada since 2008



“[The Nevada Naturalist Program is a] great way to learn about the natural features of the Las Vegas area. Wonderful community of people who are concerned and devoted to history, education and interactive experiences.”

—2016 program participant


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.