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Programs

Natural Resources Programs

Nevada Naturalist

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.

NV Naturalists complete at least 60 hours of classroom and field instruction; and upon certification, many go on to engage in community education programs, environmental restoration and enhancement projects, and other activities deemed necessary by the partners.

Issue:

Nevada Naturalist provides science-based education about natural resources to communities faced with a need for an informed leadership to educate and take action to increase environmental literacy and protection.

What has been done:

The Nevada Naturalist Program is the first environmental education program in Nevada to offer a comprehensive, multi-agency, natural resource-based curriculum.

Upon completion of at least 60 hours of classroom and field instruction, participants gain the skills and confidence necessary to make a difference for environmental stewardship and conservation in southern Nevada. Nevada Naturalists currently work as docents and tour guides; participate in environmental restoration and enhancement projects with partnering agencies; teach in the schools and community centers; and work on projects designed to enhance UNCE and the Nevada Naturalist Program.

Impact:

Since its inception in spring 2008, Nevada Naturalists have volunteered over 3,000 hours on environmental projects in southern Nevada. In 2010, overall program participation grew by 20 percent. For the advanced session two, class size grew by 8 percent and the number of classes increased by 92 percent.

To date, the program has an 89 percent completion rate. After completing the program, 87 percent of Nevada Naturalists stated that they have a greater understanding and respect for our natural resources. Another 38 percent of those who completed session one, have gone on to take the advanced session. An estimated 80 percent of Nevada Naturalists either volunteer or work on environmental issues in southern Nevada.

After successfully completing Nevada Naturalist Session One, 26 percent have gone on to complete the Nevada State Certification in Environmental Education and Interpretation offered by UNLV.

Nevada Naturalists:

  • Participate in route restoration events at Lovell Canyon in Red Rock; seed collecting and seed ball-making at Grapevine Canyon near Laughlin; and environmental restoration clean-up events at Ash Meadows in Nye County.
  • Established and maintain an outdoor classroom/butterfly garden on the UNCE campus.
  • Conducted a reptile/amphibian workshop for the 4-H program STEM Camp.
  • Conducted a bird workshop for a local 4-H group.
  • Conducted a full-day session on reptiles, amphibians and insects for a home-school co-op.
  • Continually develop projects that benefit the community and the program.
  • Past Projects include:
    • "Treasures of Southern Nevada" field guide that can be used by anyone visiting natural areas in southern Nevada.
    • A" Nevada Naturalist Guide to Animal Tracks" showing animal tracks that you are likely to encounter while out in nature in southern Nevada.
    • "Bird Watching in Your Backyard" presentation specifically geared towards introducing birds to inner city youth in southern Nevada.
    • Desert Survival Skills Workshop. Topics include map and compass reading skills, creating an emergency shelter and putting together an emergency pack. An environmental education nonprofit for the general public was spawned from this project.
    • Creating a Public Service Announcement promoting the Nevada Naturalist Program shown on "You Tube."
    • "Mojave Matching Game" introduces inner city youth in southern Nevada to native plants and animals.
    • A series of hand-drawn note cards depicting Mojave Desert at-risk plants.

See also: Nevada Naturalist website

Printable Program Impact

Contacts: M.L. Robinson, Area Specialist, Horticulture
Denise Parsons, Nevada Naturalist Program Coordinator

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.

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.

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

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

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

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.

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 Youth Range Camp

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.

Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension faculty work on an interagency and interdisciplinary cadre that puts on Riparian Proper Function Condition Assessment trainings and works with agencies and watershed groups to develop collaboration about riparian management.

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.