In this edition
- Complex modeling by researchers predicts wildfires may decline, eventually
- New University research scientist works to preserve potatoes for U.S. food supply
- New Extension educators provide resources and programs to Nevada communities
- Kickoff to Kindergarten fair provides free resources to help prepare young children for school
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
NEVADA FIELD DAY
Saturday, Sept. 17 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
5895 Clean Water Way | Reno
Complex modeling by researchers predicts wildfires may decline, eventually
Researchers integrate multiple factors in search of ways to help calculate and mitigate wildfire hazard
A photo taken of the Big Wood River Basin adjacent to the study site. Photo by Erin Hanan.
Researchers attempting to help predict how the wildfire hazard will change due to various factors over the next several decades have some good news, and some bad news. Good news is, wildfire occurrence and intensity will likely decrease in several locations in the future. The bad news: decreases may not occur for another 50 years, and wildfire hazard will likely get worse before it gets better.
“There are so many factors that we need to consider and better understand if we want to predict how the frequency, size and intensity of wildfires will change over time,” Erin Hanan, a researcher and assistant professor with the College and its Experiment Station unit, said. Hanan is coauthor on two new journal articles. The first focuses on how plants may decompose under different climate scenarios, thus affecting the fuel load, or amount of litter on the ground that can burn.
Armed with that information, Jianning Ren, a postdoctoral scholar in Hanan’s lab, examined for the second article different future climate scenarios that account for the ways higher temperatures, changes in moisture and increasing atmospheric CO2 influence fuel load, fuel moisture and wildfire regimes. In a nutshell, the models project:
- 2040s - Elevated CO2 promotes a net increase in plant growth. The result is increased fuel load and fire hazard.
- 2070s - Climatic warming and drying outstrips the increased CO2 levels. Wildfire is reduced due to ecological and hydrological degradation.
Stimulating research and teamwork
“This is really just a start. We are hoping to do more research, improve the models and scale them over larger areas. We hope that this stimulates more integrated research and modeling, and gets people talking. It’s really important to think about, talk about and quantify all these different factors as multidisciplinary teams.” – Assistant Professor Erin Hanan
4-H youth and Bureau of Land Management host horse adoption auction
Extension’s 4-H Program and the Bureau work together to give wild horses homes
4-H members Patrea S. (left) and Sara S. show off their horses “Mala” and “Winnie,” who were up for adoption July 30 as part of the Halter-started Wild Horse & Burro Event and Adoption Auction.
Youth in Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program dedicated 100-120 days this spring and summer preparing six wild horses for adoption. The youth received the horses, either weanlings or yearlings, from the Bureau of Land Management as part of a collaboration between the College’s Extension unit and the Bureau to place wild horses with adoptive families.
At the Halter-started Wild Horse & Burro Event and Adoption Auction July 30, the youth showed the animals. They were judged on their showmanship, ground handling, animal health and presentations about their work with their animals. Bidding for adoption began following the youth demonstrations.
All the horses up for auction were adopted, and the proceeds for the event were split among the Bureau, Extension’s Washoe County 4-H Horse Program and the youth who raised the horses.
Giving kids and animals a chance
“The Bureau trusts 4-H and trusts Extension. They know they will be able to work with youth already familiar with horses to foster and provide training to prepare these horses to be companions at new forever homes. They want to find a way to rehome wild horses because the horses are healthy animals, and they want to give these animals a chance. – Extension 4-H Program Manager Sarah Chvilicek
New University research scientist works to preserve potatoes for U.S. food supply
Masaki Shimono conducts research to mitigate disease during potato storage
Newly hired Research Scientist Masaki Shimono is conducting work with the College's Santos Lab to treat potato diseases. Photo by Dean Trotta.
Masaki Shimono has joined the College as a research scientist, studying beneficial microbes to improve and mitigate disease in potatoes during storage. Shimono has joined Patricia Santos, assistant professor of plant-microbe interactions in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, in her lab to conduct research for the food industry.
The team is looking into how long-term storage conditions affect potatoes in terms of water loss and disease decay due to plant pathogens. Soft and dry rot, caused by bacterium and fungus, respectively, are two important diseases being investigated. They’re treating these potatoes with different types of beneficial microbes, hoping to aid food manufacturers with efficient storage of potatoes for products such as chips in an effort to avoid waste of valuable produce and financial losses.
The two are also collaborating with Associate Professor Dylan Kosma and his lab team, who are helping to administer the treatments. The Kosma Lab is looking into how suberin, a plant biopolymer found in potato skin, can help protect tubers from their environment.
Researching to protect our food supply
“I decided to study in the United States because of the unique agricultural practices. I was excited about the opportunity to conduct research in Nevada, especially on a vital crop such as potatoes.” – Research Scientist Masaki Shimono
New Extension educators provide resources and programs to Nevada communities
Hiren Bhavsar and Brianna Randow are reaching out to their communities to assess county needs
Hiren Bhavsar and Brianna Randow are assessing county needs in Lyon and White Pine Counties, as part of their new roles as Extension educators.
Two new Extension educators are connecting with their communities to assess county needs and build programs in Lyon County and White Pine County.
Hiren Bhavsar, Extension educator for Lyon County, previously worked for the Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Program, where he specialized in working with farmers, offering workshops on budgeting and other financial tools, and providing other expertise to help them be successful in their counties. He is excited to be in Nevada and have the support of the University to help him provide education in Lyon County.
Once Bhavsar completes a county needs assessment, he plans to focus on connecting community members with local resources, such as those to help with education, financial and economic guidance, and agricultural development.
Brianna Randow, Extension educator for White Pine County, previously worked at an agriculture-based private company, where she conducted training for manufacturers, and was able to interact with the local growers in her area. She’s excited to use her experience to help educate farmers and producers in White Pine County, while setting up educational opportunities for other community members as well. She will also be assessing needs in her county.
Randow is working to expand Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program. She is also hoping to set up new programs for farmers and ranchers, such as programs that explore alternative crops and feed sources.
Working for Nevada communities
“Working at UNR is a unique opportunity, where you have the support of the University while you’re helping people in your own counties. We’re trying to establish ourselves in the community and be out there doing good things.” – Extension Educator Hiren Bhavsar
Kickoff to Kindergarten fair provides free resources to help prepare young children for school
Extension hosts back-to-school family pre-k event with community partners
Children participate in a “sprouting seed” science activity at a previous Kickoff to Kindergarten fair offered by Extension.
Extension is partnering with Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and Vegas PBS to host the seventh annual Kickoff to Kindergarten fair. This year’s event will include hands-on and take-home activities and resources to provide children ages 3-5 and their parents with knowledge and skills to help get the children ready for kindergarten. Some of these activities include oral health (dental) screenings, make-and-take art, a fruit and vegetable market, a school supplies “buffet,” free raffle prizes, and a visit from Splash from the PBS show “Splash and Bubbles” and McGruff the Crime Dog.
The event will be held Aug. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the East Las Vegas Library, 2851 E. Bonanza Road in Las Vegas. The event is free and open to the public, and lunch bags, water bottles and school supplies will be given out to the first 200 families.
Preparing our future students
“We are so excited that we are hosting the Kickoff to Kindergarten fair again this year. This event highlights all different school-readiness activities, and we have many resources and materials for families that help improve school-readiness skills from home.” – Extension Associate Professor YaeBin Kim
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.
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 Zack Madonick.