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

Fulbright Award supports study of Canary Islands’ unique climate-ocean-vegetation dynamics

Professor Franco Biondi brings together datasets and expertise to study environmental changes

Mike Wolterbeek

Franco Biondi at remote sensing site in snake range.
Franco Biondi, center, confers with collaborators at a remote sensing site in the Snake Range mountains in central eastern Nevada, which monitors a variety of ecological processes related to climate.

Professor Franco Biondi has received an international Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for Spain to study climate variability and its impact on biodiversity and vegetation in Spain’s Canary Islands.

Biondi said, “The Canary Islands are located at the intersection of several major atmospheric and oceanic systems. This area is so special that the islands, which account for about 1.5% of the total territory of Spain, are home to about 50% of all plant species that occur naturally only in Spain.”

Biondi is a tree biologist with the College’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science and Experiment Station. He will be collaborating in several scientific efforts with researchers at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where he will reside until May.

“It’s a natural laboratory because the islands are at the center of features and have a great topographical range, from desert to treeline,” he said. “That’s a little like Nevada’s Great Basin, where the strong differences from valleys to mountaintops generate incredible biodiversity, which is the reason for the Canary Islands endemic species, some still being discovered.”

With the University’s mission to have a “transformational global impact,” Biondi’s activities could allow for future University international student exchanges, teaching and collaborative scientific efforts.

Preparing for potential impacts

“I will be using long-term climate data sets (from the early 1900s) to further investigate how vegetation dynamics respond to changes in the atmosphere and in the ocean at multiple time scales, to help better prepare for potential climate change impacts.” – Professor Franco Biondi


Extension urges Nevadans to test homes for radon

Extension offers free radon test kits through February

Claudene Wharton

A radon sampler test kit sitting next to a first class mail envelope.
A simple mail-in test can determine whether your home has radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level.

January is National Radon Action Month, and Extension’s Radon Education Program is offering free short-term radon test kits to Nevadans in January and February, so that homeowners can identify whether their homes have high levels of the cancer-causing gas and can take steps to mitigate risks. Radon test kits are available at Extension offices and partnering locations, as well as at free presentations, statewide.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It comes from the ground and can accumulate in homes, raising the risk of lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving and house fires.

In Nevada, one in four homes tested show radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. According to experts, living in a home with radon concentrations at the action level poses a risk of developing lung cancer similar to the risk posed by smoking about half a pack of cigarettes a day.

It is recommended to test homes every two years for radon risk.

Reducing Nevadans’ cancer risk

The risk of radon-caused lung cancer can be reduced. A simple three-day test can determine if a house has a radon problem, and winter is an ideal time to test a home for radon. If radon problems are found, they can be fixed.


Winter commencement 2022

College graduates over 120 students, including University Herz Gold Medalist

John Trent

Elsie Childress stands in a field in Nevada regalia.
During the University's 2022 Winter Commencement ceremony, Elsie Childress, the College’s Winter Senior Scholar and Outstanding Rangeland Science Senior, received the University’s Herz Gold Medal.

This Winter Commencement, the College conferred degrees upon 81 undergraduate and 40 graduate students. Among them was Elsie Childress, a double major in rangeland ecology and management and environmental science. At the ceremony, Childress received the University’s Herz Gold Medal. The medal is bestowed upon the graduating senior who has the highest University grade point average with the most University letter-graded credits.

Childress, an ambassador for the College, was also the Winter Senior Scholar and Outstanding Rangeland Science Senior for the College. She grew up in a region of the country where rangeland issues and the very real notion of a “sagebrush ocean” informed her decisions about which majors to pursue. As part of her coursework, Childress traveled to central Nevada, collected rangeland data and created a restoration plan under the guidance of Professor Tamzen Stringham.

Childress is now beginning her career, serving Nevada’s farmers and ranchers with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Building a legacy of helping others

“This is how you build a legacy. You are now part of a 148-year history. The degree you receive today now joins the approximately 124,961 degrees that the University has conferred since 1874. This speaks to the proud traditions of service, involvement, giving back and helping others, that is at the heart of our University’s greatest and most lasting achievements.” -President Brian Sandoval


Gardening workshops offered in preparation for spring

Extension hosts online and in-person gardening classes in Washoe and Clark counties

Brook Maloy

Ripe peaches hanging from a peach tree.
Extension’s Feb. 7 Gardening in Nevada class will focus on selecting and growing fruit trees such as peach trees, in northern Nevada. Photo by Michael Janik.

Though it’s still winter, Extension is preparing new and seasoned gardeners with a variety of online and in-person gardening and growing workshops in northern and southern Nevada. The workshops cover topics such as vegetable gardening, pruning, gardening for pollinators and solving gardening problems.

Program Officer Elaine Fagin said, “Gardening might not be top of mind for you when it’s cold, but there’s no better time to learn and get started.”

Workshops for Clark County gardeners

In person

Held at the Research Center & Demonstration Orchard in North Las Vegas.

  • Jan. 26, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Pomegranate, Fig and Other Fruit Trees: Care and Pruning
  • Feb. 16 and Feb. 18, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Care and Pruning of Grapes in Southern Nevada


  • Jan. 31, 6 to 8 p.m., Trees and Shrubs: Planning, Planting and Care
  • Feb. 8, 6 to 8 p.m., Organic Pest Management
  • Feb. 11, 9 a.m. to noon, Vegetable Gardening
  • Feb. 15, 6 to 8 p.m., Caring for and Pruning Your Pomegranate

Workshops for Washoe County gardeners

Held at Bartley Ranch Regional Park in Reno.

  • Feb. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., Fruit Tree Selection
  • Feb. 14, 6 to 8 p.m., Let’s Talk Tomatoes
  • Feb. 21, 6 to 8 p.m., Gardening for Pollinators
  • Feb. 28, 6 to 8 p.m., What Lives in the Nighttime Garden?
  • March 7, 6 to 8 p.m., Pruning and Training Fruit Trees
  • March 14, 6 to 8 p.m., Success With Succulents
  • March 21, 6 to 8 p.m., Planting for Food Preservation
  • March 28, 6 to 8 p.m., Successful Vegetable Gardening

Sharing local knowledge

“From patio and balcony spaces to those with small or large yards, these classes are great for anyone who wants to learn the why’s and how’s from people who live, grow and harvest in our state.” -Master Gardener Coordinator Rachel McClure


In memoriam

Lifelong 4-H participant and volunteer JoAnn Elston remembered for her impact

Brian Sandoval

Paola Mirramontes Gonzalez.Extension 4-H Youth Development Program alumni JoAnn Elston went on to volunteer for the program for more than 50 years. Photo by Theresa Dana-Douglas.

Throughout her incredibly full and accomplished life, JoAnn Elston represented the very best of who we should always aspire to be.

JoAnn was an award-winning Nevada educator (earning Nevada Teacher of the Year honors in 1977), was a driving force for the success of 4-H in our state for more than 50 years (most notably as a member of the 4-H Camp’s advisory board), was a longtime trustee for the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation, and was a person who, because of the universal love and respect people always held for her and her husband, Jim, helped build a lasting and meaningful connection between our University and our community.

She was not just a fan of all Wolf Pack sports teams; JoAnn was a true, caring friend to all of our Wolf Pack athletes. JoAnn loved her family, loved our University and loved our community joyfully and fully. Lauralyn and I both were lucky to know her. With JoAnn’s passing, we wish to pass our good thoughts and our sincere condolences to the Elston family.

Three people sitting on a log eating food.JoAnn (center) at Extension’s Nevada State 4-H Camp as a youth.

“4-H has molded my life in many ways,” JoAnn said. “It certainly helped me in my profession, which is teaching, and I’ve watched my own children grow up in it, and then I watched my grandchildren grow up in it. Each and every one of them have achieved a lot in their own way and are still using many of those skills they learned in 4-H today.”

Two adults and a small child standing in front of a watertower.The Camp’s newly renovated water tower was dedicated to JoAnn (right) in 2022.

Gifts are being graciously accepted for the JoAnn Elston Memorial 4-H Camp fund. To learn more, contact Sarah Chvilicek.

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