About our College

A founding college of the University, we have a long tradition of excellence in teaching, research and engagement programs that benefit the health and economic vitality of Nevada. We offer programs in:

  • agriculture, horticulture, rangeland and veterinary sciences
  • biochemistry and molecular biology
  • children, youth and families
  • community and economic development
  • health and nutrition
  • natural resources and environmental science
 

New University-grower-winemaker partnership seeks to advance Nevada wine industry

University partners with growers and winemakers to continue research and support educational activities

Claudene Wharton

Bunches of grapes on a vine.
Red wine grapes grow at the Research Center & Demonstration Orchard in North Las Vegas. Photo by Louise Ruskamp.

The College, and its Experiment Station and Extension units, has been conducting research on growing grapes in Nevada for more than 25 years. Now, a new, more formal partnership has been formed to advance and promote the industry locally.

The Northern Nevada Demonstration Vineyard & Winemaking Network aims to build on practical experience in the region, as well as draw on viticulture expertise from around the Western U.S. Partners include the College, its Experiment Station and Desert Farming Initiative, and the Nevada Grape Growers & Winemakers.

Partnership goals include demonstrating state-of-the-art commercial wine grape production and providing practical guidance and educational opportunities. Collaborations and research are already underway.

Making University wines

This fall, the Experiment Station supplied initial funding to support the making of a University riesling wine with Lenox Vineyards and Nevada Sunset Winery.

The new partnership held a wine-blending event Feb. 16 at the winery. Eight teams competed to produce the best red wine blend. A panel of judges blind tasted and declared the winning combination. The wine will be bottled soon, and served this year at University events.

Planting new vines

The Desert Farming Initiative and Nevada Grape Growers & Winemakers selected a riesling varietal, and the Experiment Station has purchased grapevines to develop a network of demonstration vineyards in the area. Some vines will be planted at the University’s Valley Road Field Lab.

Additionally, some local private vineyard owners are interested in planting some of the vines on their properties.

Building on the past

The University planted its first experimental vineyards at the Valley Road Field Lab in Reno in 1995.

In 2005, the first grapevines were planted at the Research Center & Demonstration Orchard in North Las Vegas, a collaborative facility of Extension and UNLV. The Orchard has over 200 vines and 24 varieties, most being wine grapes. Last season, it sold over a ton and a half of grapes to wineries, bakers and home winemakers.

Partnering with businesses to advance Nevada’s industries

“Our College is absolutely committed to partnering with businesses in this state to promote the growth of industries with potential for our state. There seems to be a real synergy right now with growers, producers and others in the community, that the time is right to enter into a more formal agreement to bring the University’s resources and research capabilities to help advance this industry.” –Dean Bill Payne

 

Living with fire begins in the classroom

Living With Fire developing new wildfire education curriculum in northern Nevada high school

Hannah Alfaro

Waterfall Fire burning on a mountain with smoke in the air.
Extension’s Living With Fire Program piloted a new wildfire curriculum at Carson City High School this past fall. Pictured, the Waterfall Fire, which burned 8,700 acres and destroyed 18 homes, burns near Carson City in 2004.

Extension’s Living With Fire Program has developed and piloted a curriculum for use in northern Nevada high school science classes to educate students about wildfire science, preparedness and career opportunities.

The curriculum was developed with stakeholders and educators across the state, including teachers, fire professionals, scientists and tribal organizations. It includes training and materials for teachers to incorporate wildfire education in their biology, earth, environmental and agricultural science classes. The materials will teach high school students how to prepare for and prevent wildfire, while meeting Nevada educational needs and standards.

The curriculum prompts students to explore the beneficial and harmful roles wildfire plays across Nevada ecosystems. For example, students in earth science courses will dive into wildfire’s impact on soil nutrients and erosion patterns, while environmental studies students will use historic climate and wildfire data to make predictions about how wildfires are likely to change in the future. Eventually, the program will develop curriculums for elementary and middle school students as well.

Curriculum activities and conversations provided Carson City High School students valuable opportunities to process the stress of recent incidents and become more resilient to future wildfires. A student survey following this pilot showed an increase in the number of students who felt that they had the ability to protect where they live from wildfire.

The materials and trainings for educators will be available free of charge starting this summer.

Educating future generations

“Wildfire is an essential part of healthy ecosystems in northern Nevada, but it is becoming more frequent and severe, threatening both ecosystems and people. It is essential that we educate future generations about how wildfire works and what we all can do to live more safely with wildfire in our state.” - Special Projects Manager Spencer Eusden

 

High-risk teams to address domestic violence in Nevada

Extension awarded grant to support victims of domestic violence in Elko and Clark Counties

Hannah Alfaro

Woman with sunbeams in her face.
Extension domestic violence high-risk teams will work with local law enforcement and other agencies to provide resources to domestic violence victims.

Victims of domestic violence at high risk of fatality in Elko and Clark Counties are getting more comprehensive assistance to keep them safe and set them on a path to a secure, self-sufficient life, thanks to Extension's new Domestic Violence High Risk Team Program.

The program, with funding from the Nevada Attorney General's Office and in collaboration with the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, will assemble teams to follow up with domestic violence victims after initial contact with law enforcement to provide them with resources and support. Led by Assistant Professor Pamela Payne, the team's immediate goal is to assist on calls with the highest risks for the victims.

Assistance in Elko County

Brenda Brace, team coordinator in Elko County, is working to identify what is needed most in rural communities. Her goal is to work with law enforcement, counselors and doctors to follow up with victims, and on training and resources for prosecutors and officers.

She said, "We want people in the community met with open arms and to know that they’re not alone."

Resources in Clark County

Tricia Braxton Perry and Clair Thomas, team coordinators in Clark County, are working to bring together systems in the police department that address domestic violence with other resources, such as SafeNest.

They will focus on North Las Vegas, since it was recommended by community partners for its rate of domestic violence activity and its receptivity to the team.

In Nevada, there is one domestic violence offense every 17 minutes and 18 seconds, and rates have increased during the pandemic. Extension has been working to address this issue since 2004.

Bringing agencies together to save lives

“The Domestic Violence High Risk Team Program is an innovative approach that brings multiple agencies together to save lives in Nevada. Reducing domestic violence and its impacts on Nevada families is a critical priority at the Office of the Attorney General, and I am proud to support this program.” - Attorney General Aaron Ford

 

Rafter 7: The University's unique sheep breed

Developed for Nevada, could have international impact

Ed Pierce, KOLO 8 News Now

Sheep on the range.
The College's Rafter 7 sheep were bred to thrive in challenging high-desert environments and to produce very soft wool.

Laura Zander knows wool. For 20 years her company Jimmy Beans Wool has shipped to customers all over the country and beyond from her Reno headquarters.

All kinds and colors of wool, but the skeins she’s excited about are something new and special. They also represent the results of decades of development by University scientists and a public-private partnership with the College.

“It’s the first time we’ve collaborated with the University on a product that we’re going to sell here,” says Zander. “It’s like farm-to-table, or farm-to-needle if you will.”

It all starts with a herd of sheep that spend their days grazing at the College's Great Basin Research & Extension Center in Eureka County. They are unique, a breed developed by a University geneticist decades ago, once sold, but now reacquired by the College.

They were bred to thrive in the challenging high-desert environment and to produce very soft wool, and they do both very well. If they can thrive here, they can do well in other parts of the world with dry, difficult environments where sheep are an important resource.

Adapting to the drylands of the Earth

“The sheep are particularly well adapted to high, rocky, highland conditions. I see this as having a key role in what I call the drylands of the Earth, where they suffer from many of the same challenges that we do.” - Dean Bill Payne

 

University's logging sports team cuts its way to victory

Nevada Loggers win big at largest forest conference and exhibition in the West

Ashley Andrews

Nevada Loggers Vanessa Arias and Airica Gallaspy double bucking, or working together to saw a mounted log in half using a crosscut saw for time, at the Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference's Logging Sports Exhibition.

Despite being one of the smallest competing teams, the University’s logging sports team, Nevada Loggers, won big at the 73rd annual Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference's Logging Sports Exhibition, held Feb. 10-12 in Anderson, California.

Chuck Lewis, an Ecology Evolution & Conservation Biology master's student in the College, took first place in the men’s stock chainsaw event. He was the fastest at sawing through a 15-inch-diameter log. Lewis also placed in the qualifier choker-set race, in which large steel cables used for log retrieval are carried through a timed obstacle course and tied onto a log at the end.

Airica Gallaspy, a senior in the College's Forest Ecology & Management Program, earned first in the women’s stock chainsaw qualifier event.

Vanessa Arias, a sophomore criminal justice major, placed top three in both the qualifier and finals of the women’s speed axe throw. In the event, entrants competed to hit a target's bull's eye with a thrown, double-headed axe for time.

Nevada Loggers welcome new University student members, regardless of major, school year or experience level. For more information, contact Hunter Noble.

Developing expertise in forest science

By participating in the exhibition, the team showcased their passion for forestry, deepened their knowledge of forest science, connected with industry experts, and carried on the legacy and skills of America's lumberjacks, while earning recognition for their expertise.

 

College professor honored by International Society for Range Management

Tamzen Stringham first woman to receive the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award

Claudene Wharton

Tamzen Stringham.Professor Tamzen Stringham is the first woman to be awarded the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Range Management. Photo by Robert Moore.

Tamzen K. Stringham, a rangeland and riparian ecologist in the College, received the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Range Management last month at the society’s annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Society to members for long-term contributions to the art and science of range management and to the Society for Range Management. Stringham, a researcher and professor, is the first female to be honored with this award.

Since arriving at the University in 2008, Stringham has been doing world-class research, mentoring and educating graduate and undergraduate students, and doing Extension work across the state. Her research has focused on state and transition ecology, watershed management, and fire ecology. Throughout her career, she has garnered over $8.5 million in research funding.

Stringham has been a member of the Society for Range Management for 29 years, and has served on multiple committees and as a reviewer for the Journal of Rangeland Ecology and Management. Stringham has also been a strong proponent of rangeland management and ecology in her interactions with a number of allied organizations.

Leading the way for young women in science

“I am honored to be the first woman, in the 75-year history of the Society for Range Management, to receive the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award. I guess it takes perseverance and graciousness to crack the glass ceiling, but it has been worth it for every young woman following in my footsteps.” –Professor Tamzen Stringham

 

In memoriam

Hudson Arlyn Glimp.

Hudson Arlyn Glimp passed away Feb. 4, 2022, after retiring from the University as an E.L. Wiegand Professor Emeritus of Animal Biotechnology. Hudson was deeply committed to improving the lives of farmers and ranchers everywhere. Over his nearly 20-year career, he served as Extension’s sheep specialist and as director of the Experiment Station’s Rafter 7 Ranch. He helped develop the world-renowned Rafter 7 breed of sheep, and advanced understanding of multi-species grazing systems and arid rangeland management.

William “Bill” Orel Champney passed away Feb. 24, 2022. He was a professor in agricultural economics in our College for almost 30 years, retiring in 1995. He is remembered not only for his academic contributions, but also for his generosity and as a friend of Nevada agriculture. In recognition of this, the College’s Friends & Alumni Chapter honored Bill in 2008 with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Craig Wendell Bohmont passed away Dec. 23, 2020, after a long and storied career as a biochemist in the mining, food and health care industries, including as a scientist with VA Medical Centers. Son of College Dean Emeritus Dale Bohmont, Craig graduated from the College with a master’s degree in biochemistry, published several papers with professors in the College, and donated funds to provide College students and researchers well-maintained biochemistry equipment.

Donald A. Klebenow.

Donald A. Klebenow passed away Dec. 31, 2021, after a long, distinguished career at the University, retiring as Professor Emeritus of Wildlife. Some current Extension faculty enjoyed learning from Don, and he earned many awards related to our College’s work, including the Nevada Wildlife Federation Wildlife Conservationist of the Year, the James D. Yoakum Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Wildlife Society, and the U.S. Forest Service Partnership Award for the Jarbidge Elk Habitat Foundation.

Innovating for Nevada

Our programs work together to make an impact

Our teaching, research and engagement programs are intertwined and complement one another. Faculty who teach on campus also conduct research as part of our Experiment Station, allowing students to learn about and participate in research. Extension faculty engaging with communities identify research needs, as well as join Experiment Station faculty to conduct research. Faculty on campus help to develop Extension programs in communities.

Researching critical issues Experiment Station faculty conduct research at experiment stations, labs and research facilities across the state, as well as teach classes and share and conduct research with students. The state-federal partnership tackles issues affecting Nevada's citizens, communities and economy.
student researcher with plants in greenhouse
Teaching University students We offer 17 undergraduate and graduate degrees to prepare students for high-paying, in-demand careers in agriculture, rangeland & veterinary sciences; biochemistry & molecular biology; natural resources & environmental science; and nutrition.
students taking notes in the field
Engaging Nevada communities Extension is engaged in Nevada communities, presenting research-based knowledge to address critical community needs. The county-state-federal partnership provides practical education to people, businesses and communities, fulfilling the University's land-grant mission.
parents with children

Want to help innovate for Nevada?

Consider making a contribution in support of classroom, lab or office space; graduate assistantships; student scholarships; or upgrades to Nevada 4-H Camp. To learn more, please contact Executive Director of Development Christina Sarman at 775-784-6009.