University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Engaged Over 700,000 Nevadans in 2011
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University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s mission is to discover, develop, disseminate, preserve and use knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of Nevada residents. We do this with more than 100 programs delivered through 19 offices throughout the state, from the southern tip in Laughlin to the northern reaches of Elko County. In 2011, we had more than 700,000 face-to-face conversations with Nevadans looking for our help or attending one of our classes. We managed a small army of volunteers – from 4-H leaders and teachers to Master Gardeners and weed warriors – who all told contributed nearly 80,000 hours to helping other Nevadans.
We wrote or contributed information for nearly 1,000 news articles, and our faculty and community-based instructors distributed more than 75,000 newsletters. Our faculty helped pay for all this by receiving nearly $4 million in grants. The fruits of their research and teaching – including curricula, fact sheets, special publications, online classes and journal articles – can be accessed at http://www.unce.unr.edu
Our programs help Nevadans by:
1. Strengthening the financial health and security of Nevadans.
We achieve this goal with a wide range of award-winning programs, from our nationally recognized Bootstraps program, which provides out-of-work and out-of-school youth in rural Nevada with real-life job skills while they work on natural resources projects, to our newly launched Stronger Economies Together initiative, which will help rural counties collaborate on economic development. We connect specialty crop farmers with the food service industry. We’ve launched ongoing and durable agritourism programs. We promote tourism and commercial horticulture.
2. Improving the health, safety and well-being of Nevadans.
We launch school gardens, provide pre-school nutrition and exercise programs, and teach seniors to grow their own herbs for use with commodity foods. Our programs span the geography and the demography of Nevada. We help communities reduce their risk of wildfire damage and radon poisoning. We help underserved communities build hoop houses that eliminate the “food deserts” they live in.
3. Increasing and ensuring sustainability of natural resources.
We train pesticide applicators, teach weed control practices and provide training for landscapers installing erosion control projects at Lake Tahoe. We research drought-resistant ornamental vegetation, and train tomorrow’s naturalists and range managers. We help gardeners, commercial horticulturists and small-acreage farmers conserve water, control pests and install environmentally sound and sustainable landscaping.
4. Ensuring a positive future for Nevadans through education across the lifespan.
We bring young people to the university for a week to explore possible majors and experience life on campus. We take them to the legislature to experience committee hearings and the lawmaking process. We teach literacy and provide books to families that have little reading in the home. We help child care providers develop professional skills, and parents develop skills to positively guide their children. We have programs for children left home when a parent is deployed for military service, and we teach leadership, citizenship and life skills to youth. We empower seniors with the skills to live independently, and we help youth find their way to jobs and success.
UNCE's 19 individual offices throughout the state serve as local connection to the University of Nevada, providing citizens with information about university programs. Because Cooperative Extension’s personnel live and work in these communities, UNCE is well positioned to bring community needs to the attention of university researchers who can help solve local problems. The issues have changed over the years, but the need to extend university research out to the state remains constant. Just as it did nearly 100 years ago, UNCE still helps farmers and ranchers with management of water resources, control of noxious weeds and resolution of public-land disputes. But Extension now also helps strengthen families, foster a healthy environment and enable people and communities to prosper. In this way, UNCE serves as a "gateway" linking university resources to meet the needs of communities throughout Nevada. It develops educational programs through public presentations, workshops, demonstrations, publications, the Internet, interactive video and satellite broadcast technologies, delivering knowledge directly to Nevadans’ homes and communities. By "bringing the university" to all Nevadans to foster their lifelong learning, UNCE helps fulfill the institution's land-grant mission.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is a good investment for the state of Nevada. Every state dollar going to Cooperative Extension leverages direct funding from federal and county governments as well as a plethora of grant funds focused on identified needs throughout Nevada. The three-way (county, federal and state) funding partnership established by Nevada Revised Statutes helps fund 19 Cooperative Extension offices statewide and our education and research programs, including the 4-H youth development program. This collaborative funding pays for faculty and staff, who design and implement community programs. These UNCE employees also find the grants that pay for these programs, and these investments contribute to economic output and activity across the state. Cooperative Extension brings in nearly $4 million a year in grants, which are spent in local communities helping all citizens – from seniors to preschoolers.