Newsletter | Vol. 6

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 & veterinary sciences
  • biochemistry & molecular biology
  • children, youth & families
  • community & economic development
  • health & nutrition
  • natural resources & environmental science
 

Veterans with PTSD, anxiety turn to beekeeping for relief

Bees4Vets trains veterans to manage some hives at the Agricultural Experiment Station

Michael Casey and Mike Householder, Associated Press

bees on chivesBees4Vets trains 10 veterans a year to manage some of its roughly 30 hives at the Experiment Station in Reno and in resident’s backyards in Sparks. Photo by Wendy Hanson Mazet.

In Reno, Ginger Fenwick started Bees4Vets with her husband, Daniel, in 2018 after spotting a 1919 pamphlet written by the government that advocated beekeeping for veterans returning from World War I with shell shock. Bees4Vets trains 10 veterans a year to manage some of its roughly 30 hives at the Experiment Station at the University of Nevada, Reno and resident’s backyards in nearby Sparks.

Inspired by concerns about high levels of suicide among veterans, the program focuses on those with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries from Nevada and northern California. It also has teamed up with a University of Nevada, Reno professor who studies PTSD to research whether beekeeping is helping veterans in the program. If a majority shows improvement, the program plans to study why and how — and whether beekeeping could be helping.

“If there was anything we could do to help one family, one person, then it would be all worth it,” Fenwick said.

Each veteran gets two hives to manage for the year and learns skills like honey harvesting and wax processing. One veteran who completed the program wants to start a honey mustard business; another wants to make lip balms using bee wax.

Researchers are beginning to study therapeutic benefits of beekeeping

For now, there is little hard data, but veterans in beekeeping programs insist that it helps them focus, relax and become more productive.

 

Study co-authored by University student receives prestigious award

Graduate student Trevor Faske represents team at Royal Entomological Society meeting in London.

Brian McNeill, Virginia Commonwealth University Public Affairs

gypsy mothA Virginia Commonwealth University -led study of gypsy moths and temperature received a Royal Entomological Society Award for Best Paper Published in 2017/18 in the journal Physiological Entomology. Photo by Getty Images.

A study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond has been selected as the best paper to be published in the journal Physiological Entomology over a two-year period. The study explored how warming temperatures affect the spread of gypsy moths.

Variation in Growth and Developmental Responses to Supraoptimal Temperatures Near Latitudinal Range Limits of Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar (L.), an Expanding Invasive Species,” was published in 2017. It was honored Aug. 21 in London at the International Symposium and Annual National Science Meeting of the Royal Entomological Society.

“Understanding how species adapt to thermal limits and possible fitness trade-offs of heat tolerance represents an important step toward predicting climatically driven changes in species ranges, which is a particularly critical consideration in conservation and invasion ecology,” the researchers wrote in the article.

The study was authored by Lily Thompson, a former VCU master’s degree student in the Department of Biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences; and co-authored by former VCU biology undergraduates Trevor Faske and Dominique Grimm; Kristine Grayson, Ph.D., a former VCU post-doctoral researcher who is now an assistant professor of biology at the University of Richmond; Salvatore Agosta, Ph.D., associate professor of physiological ecology in the VCU Center for Environmental Studies; Nana Banahene, a former undergraduate student at UR; Dylan Parry, Ph.D., an associate professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Patrick Tobin, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental and forest sciences at the University of Washington; and Derek Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Biology at VCU.

Faske, who earned a master’s degree in biology from VCU and who is now in a Ph.D. program in ecology, evolution and conservation at the University of Nevada at Reno, accepted the award in London on behalf of the team.

The study could provide insight into how species change

“Understanding how species adapt to thermal limits and possible fitness trade-offs of heat tolerance represents an important step toward predicting climatically driven changes in species ranges, which is a particularly critical consideration in conservation and invasion ecology.” - excerpt from the article

 

Two retirees now work to make their community safer from the threat of wildfire

Fire adapted communities: a community approach to preparing for wildfire

Claudene Wharton

Kathi Delegal and Janet Ouren by Fire Adapted Community signKathi Delegal (left) and Janet Ouren have taken the lead in efforts to make their ArrowCreek neighborhood a fire adapted community. Photo by Lauren Im.

Janet Ouren and Kathi Delegal met about six years ago, by chance, sharing a ride in a golf cart in Incline.  That ride sparked a friendship and partnership between the two retirees that has paid dividends to the residents of ArrowCreek in south Reno.

Working with the community’s homeowners association, the two have been the driving force behind making their community safer from the threat of wildfire by working together with their neighbors to make it a “fire adapted community.”

“Fire adapted communities go beyond the concept of defensible space, and just doing what you need to do as an individual to your property to make it safer from wildfire,” explains Jamie Roice-Gomes, Living With Fire program manager with University of Nevada, Reno Extension. “Residents of a fire adapted community look at the wildfire safety issue on a neighborhood or community level, and work together to make it so their community will be able to survive a wildfire with little to no assistance from firefighters.”

Fire Adapted Communities cross property lines

“Residents of a fire adapted community look at the wildfire safety issue on a neighborhood or community level, and work together to make it so their community will be able to survive a wildfire with little to no assistance from firefighters.” - Jamie Roice-Gomes

 

Nevada 4-H youth to compete at State Expo and celebrate National 4-H Week

University of Nevada, Reno Extension brings back State Expo after hiatus

Claudene Wharton

4Hers showing sheepExtension 4-H youth present their sheep. Photo by Lindsay Chichester.

October is a busy time for Nevada youth who participate in 4-H Youth Development Programs throughout the year. Many 4-H youth and their families will gather in Winnemucca, Oct. 3-6, for the Nevada 4-H Expo Competition. As that wraps up, National 4-H Week, Oct. 6-12, kicks off, when 6 million youth across the country celebrate 4-H and the accomplishments of youth involved in the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization.

Nevada 4-H Expo Competition returns Oct. 3-6 after several years of hiatus

This year’s 4-H Expo, held at the Winnemucca Events Complex, will give Nevada’s 4-H youth the opportunity to showcase their projects and activities, as well as to compete against one another and, in some cases, to qualify to compete at the national 4-H level.

Check-in and some preliminary activities are on Oct. 3, followed by two full days of competitions and demonstrations Oct. 4-5, and the awards brunch at 10 a.m., Oct. 6. Youth will be showing and competing in several categories, including raising and showing various animals, communications, photography, food science and nutrition, robotics, computer science, and many more categories. According to organizers this once-annual event in Nevada has been sorely missed in its absence for several years.

“It’s a really big deal to be able to bring this back for the kids,” said Carrie Stark, Nevada 4-H Program director. “The Expo is really a culminating event for 4-H'ers. Due to the generosity of several donors, along with much time and effort from dedicated staff and volunteers, we are able to bring back this annual event this year, and we hope to be able to keep it going every year from now on,” she said.

National 4-H Week includes 4-H National Youth Science Day

This year’s Game Changers activity, developed by Google and West Virginia University Extension Service, will teach kids coding skills through fun exercises including gaming, puzzles and physical activity.

 

New ecosystem ecologist researches contaminants in Nevada landscape

Joanna Blaszczak joins the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources

Hannah Alfaro

Joanna BlaszczakJoanna Blaszczak plans to research contaminants in Nevada ecosystems. Photo by Robert Moore.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources is pleased to welcome Joanna Blaszczak to their faculty, where she will be joining the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science.

As an ecosystem ecologist, Blaszczak studies how nutrients and contaminants move through watersheds in human-dominated landscapes, and researches the most effective ways of building urban development in watersheds to minimize impacts on water quality.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Blaszczak studied at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research. She also received the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for her research on the effects of chemical exposure in urban stream ecosystems.

“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to build a vibrant, creative and motivated lab for my students,” Blaszczak said. “The department and the University foster collaboration and provide such a great space to continue my research, as well as work with amazing faculty and staff.”

Blaszczak looks for effective ways of building urban development while minimizing impacts on water quality

“Her work brings together many of the diverse disciplines within our department, spanning from chemistry to hydrology to ecology, and will provide important insights for sustaining healthy freshwater ecosystems." - Peter Weisburg, chair of the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science

Growing a stronger 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 the 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 partnersip 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 grow Nevada?

Consider making a contribution in support of classroom, lab or office space; graduate assistantships; student scholarships; or upgrades to the Nevada 4-H Camp. To learn more, please contact Mitch Klaich '02, director of development, at 775-682-6490.