With explosive growth and development, communities in southern Nevada need informed leadership to educate and take action to increase environmental literacy and protection.

Extension has offered Nevada Naturalist since 2008. In 2018, Extension offered two sessions with a curriculum created by Extension and experts in each field of study and with full advisement and review of program partners. Session One was in the spring, with 11 students completing the program and becoming certified Nevada Naturalists. Basic environmental education topics were covered, and at least 60 hours of basic environmental education were required for certification. The session had 16 classes and eight labs. 

Session Two was in the fall, with 8 students completing the program. This session covered additional environmental topics, including: cultural history, archaeology, paleontology, and site stewardship. It had 14 classes and seven labs. All students completed a project on an environmental topic of their choice. Nevada Naturalists (students and/or graduates), under the direction of program faculty and staff, also helped to conduct activities and events during the year as well as volunteer with partnering agencies for a total of 1,200 hours reported as of November.

Since 2008, 261 people have been certified through the program, and Nevada Naturalists have volunteered over 24,905 hours on environmental projects in southern Nevada. The program has a 90 percent completion rate, and after completing the program, 87 percent of students stated they have a greater understanding and respect for our natural resources. Of those who completed Session One, 67 percent enrolled in session two. About 86 Nevada Naturalists currently either volunteer or work on environmental issues in southern Nevada. 

In 2018, the program was evaluated using pre- and post-testing for each session. 

  • The Session One average score increased by 16 percent
  • The Session Two average score increased by 29 percent

Some participant responses to open-ended questions included:

  • "I look forward to the opportunity to share what I have learned with future Nevada Naturalists and others."
  • "I plan on volunteering and using the information to teach at the school where I currently work."
  • "I am open to helping with future Nevada Naturalist classes."

Partners included Nevada Department of Wildlife; Clark County Wetlands Park; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Park Service — Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Nevada State Museum; Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association; Friends of Desert Wildlife Refuges; Lake Mead Volunteer Steward Program; City of Henderson; and the Springs Preserve.

News Articles, Fact Sheets, Reports...
Sphinx Moth
Know Nevada Insects: Sphinx Moth
This publication reviews the biology of caterpillars commonly called hornworms, including the tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, which can be a common pest of tomato plants in Nevada. Integrated pest management techniques for controlling caterpillars are also discussed.
Kevin Burls and Joy Newton 2019, Extension | University of Nevada FS 19-16
scottish thistle
Nevada Nuisance Weeds Field Guide
The plants listed in this field guide are nuisance weeds, those that are troublesome, but have not been listed by the state as noxious weeds.
Hefner, M., Kratsch, H. 2018, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension SP-18-02
tree blossoming in orchard
Research Orchard Fruit Evaluations & Recommendations for Southern Nevada - 2020
This publication is for both the homeowner and small commercial grower. The information contained has been gathered over years of research trials and observations of various types of fruit trees and vines growing at the University of Nevada, Reno Research Orchard. It is a handy guide for buying fruit trees and vines.
Robinson, M.L., O'Callaghan, A., and Ruskamp, L. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-20-07
mullein in forest
YHEP: Common Weeds, Ep 04: The Many Uses of Mullein
Follow YHEP instructor Ian Ford-Terry up into the mountains as he hikes the cool woodlands in search of an ancient cough remedy!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
ian with joshua tree
YHEP: Conservation, Ep 01: Joshua Trees
Join YHEP instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he explores the relationship between Joshua Trees and their exclusive pollinators and how you can take part in the conservation of a Mojave Desert icon!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
ian with joshua tree
YHEP: Conservation, Ep 02: Joshua Trees
Join YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he guides you through the process of growing a Joshua Tree from seed as part of a conservation effort to help save the Joshua Trees (and their very specific pollinators)!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Ian with milkweed
YHEP: Conservation, Ep 03: Monarch Container Gardens
Join YHEP Instructor Ian Ford-Terry as he shows you how you can help protect the Monarch Butterfly by planting native milkweeds at home!
Ford-Terry, I. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel

Learn more about the program's team

Denise Parsons
Program Leader & Contact