In 2019, 484 youth participated in the Elko County 4-H Youth Development program, increasing enrollment by 69% from 2018. More than 100 volunteers led clubs and project activities, teaching young people life skills. Elko County 4-H added five clubs in the past six years, a 50% increase. The 18 community clubs meet in Elko, Clover Valley, Jiggs, Lamoille, Ruby Valley, Spring Creek, Starr Valley, and Tuscarora. 

Twenty-two club officers participated in the Club Officer Leadership Training. They reported learning parliamentary procedure, officer roles and duties, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Liz Krenka, Elko County 4-H Coordinator taught 28 middle school students the National 4-H Science Day experiment. Two County 4-H Officers served as assistant teachers. Game Changers, designed by Google and West Virginia Extension, taught youth how to use computer science to create games and solve agricultural problems. State 4-H Expo was held in Winnemucca in October, and 53 Elko County youth participated.

Older Elko County 4-H youth toured the University of Nevada, Reno campus and the surrounding Reno/Tahoe area for three days of educational activities. Youth observed White’s Creek aquatic invertebrates, toured the UNR campus, Wolfpack Meats facility, Main Station Farm, School of Medicine, Tahoe Environmental Research Center, and the Nevada State 4-H Camp at Lake Tahoe. The trip was planned and organized by the youth under the direction of the 4-H Coordinator, Liz Krenka. 

Elko County 4-H youth participated in a new assessment, designed to measure the impact of   4-H. In 2018, 15 Elko County 4-H members participated in the survey. A total of 277 completed surveys statewide were included in the study. The 4-H Experience scale measured participants on the 8 essential elements of positive youth development (PYD). The highest mean response was for “Is 4-H a place where adults care about you?” followed by “Is 4-H a place where you feel safe,” and “Is 4-H a place where you learn about ways to help your community?” The 4-H Universal scale measured personal mindset and social skills necessary to be competent members of society. The highest mean response was for “Do you try to learn from your mistakes?” “Do you show respect for others’ ideas?” and “Do you like to learn new things” also indicated what youth learn in 4-H. We asked high school-aged respondents what their plans were after high school. Most (71%) answered “Go to college.” “Go to trade school” was 2nd-highest response (11%), indicating a large percentage of respondents intend to continue their education beyond high school. Of participants indicating they wanted to go to college, 31% planned to attend UNR.

4-H clubs place a high value on helping others in the community. Clubs in Ruby Valley, Independence Valley and Lamoille provided meals, goody baskets and check to see basic needs are met. For example, Ruby Valley members chopped firewood for seniors to heat their homes in the winter. Two clubs in Spring Creek brought their small animals for Manor residents to pet, and an Elko club made tray favors for Meals on Wheels. Several Spring Creek clubs held a diaper drive, donating 5,000 diapers, wipes, sippy cups, bottles, and other baby supplies to the Family Resource Center and the Division of Child and Family Resources. Two clubs adopted families in need for the holidays, three cleaned up cemeteries, one cleaned up the Elko County Shooting Range, and one placed American flags on soldiers’ graves for Veteran’s and Memorial Day. Nine clubs donated a tree, wreath or decoration for the Festival of Trees. 


Elko County residents look to Extension for pesticide application safety education and certification as well as horticulture education. Candie Kevan, Administrative Secretary, assists clientele in identifying plants, weeds, and insects, diagnosing plant diseases, and recommending actions homeowners can take to address plant, weed, and insect problems. Elko County Extension offered the following pesticide and horticulture classes in 2018-2019:


  • Green Industry Plant Disorders
  • Grow Your Own Gardening Series
  • Pollinator Garden
  • Trees and Irrigation
  • Tree Selection
  • Turfgrass Disease
  • Soil Health

Pesticide Safety

  • Cultivator Pesticide Safety Education
  • Hemp Growers Pesticide Safety Education
  • Pesticide Application Certification
  • Pesticide Applicator Certification and Weed Identification & Management


Building skills to support healthy relationships for parents, children, teens and volunteers is a major education component of the Elko County Extension work. Heart and Shield Family Violence Prevention Program targets parents and children who have experienced domestic violence. By participating in Heart and Shield, child and adult domestic violence survivors obtain skills and resources necessary to break the cycle of domestic violence. Children, youth, teen and parent topics teach communication, emotion identification and regulation, problem solving, friendship skills, healthy relationships, social/emotional skills, and strengthening families. Parents also learn typical child development and development affected by family violence, parenting styles, guidance and discipline. Since 2015, 43 adults and 88 youth participated in the program. 

To measure changes parents made as a result of participating in the program, parents answered a survey, comparing their parenting practices before the program to after the program. Twenty-four out of 25 questions were statistically significant (p<.050).  Parents indicated that they changed their parenting practices in coping skills and stress management, healthy relationships, hope for the future, family relationships and cohesion, child development, communication, guidance, emotional competency, problem solving and conflict management. Parents increased their knowledge of parenting strategies in child development, family relationships and cohesion, stress management, communication skills, emotional competency, problem solving and conflict management, guidance and parenting styles. All 21 questions were statistically significant (p<.004).

A Heart and Shield volunteer component was developed. Volunteers serve as: mentors - foster relationships with parents to encourage healthy parent-child interactions; classroom assistants – help instructors in leading and teaching educational activities to children and youth; marketing assistants – promote the program by staffing booths at community events; meal/kitchen assistants – serve and clean up healthy, family-style meals at program workshops; clerical support – organize workshop supplies and assemble promotional materials. The Elko County supermarkets, restaurants, churches, nonprofit organizations, Great Basin College, and the Festival of Trees donated more than $14,000 in meals, supplies and meeting room space in 2018-2019.

Heart and Shield Family Violence Prevention Program was nationally recognized in 2019, receiving the 2019 Priester Award for Outstanding Individual or Family Program from the National Health Outreach Conference. Additionally, the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences recognized Heart and Shield as a Western Region winner of the Family Health and Wellness award. 


Preventing child abuse and neglect was ranked as the second-highest priority in a “Mailed Survey: Priorities for Elko County” needs assessment published in 2012. Very few resources are available to child care givers and youth workers to help them fully understand their reporting requirements and role in preventing child abuse and neglect. Child care givers, youth workers and volunteers working with children and youth are mandated by state law to report suspected child maltreatment, and they are required to do so within three months of beginning employment. Extension created the Keeping Kids Safe Program to educate those working with youth or providing child care about how to recognize, respond to and report possible child maltreatment. Since 2013 in Elko County, 211 adults and 26 youth completed the training and showed a significant increase in awareness and confidence in how to recognize, respond to and report child maltreatment. Program impact was measured by a 15-question pre- and post-test questionnaire. Results of the post-program survey show the following improvements compared to the pre-program survey:

  • After the training, 94% of participants identified the four types of abuse, and 97% correctly identified that a child care provider has 24 hours to report suspected abuse
  • A 47% increase in confidence in recognizing indicators of child abuse and/or neglect of a child
  • A 54% increase in confidence in being able to make a report of suspected child abuse and/or neglect of a child


Rangeland Livestock/Wildlife Interactions Specialist Paul Meiman began his position in September 2019. While Paul’s position provides rangeland programming and research throughout the state, his office is housed in the Elko County Extension office. Paul focused his efforts on becoming familiar with issues and opportunities related to rangeland livestock-wildlife interactions in northeastern Nevada. He met with Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group, Starr Valley Conservation District, Elko County Commissioners, Winecup-Gamble Outcomes-Based Grazing, Results-Oriented Grazing for Ecological Resilience (ROGER), Nevada Association of Conservation Districts, Nevada State office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, State office of Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Elko-Eureka Local Area Working Group, Cottonwood Ranch, Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, and the Stewardship Alliance of Northeast Elko County (SANE) to gain an understanding of issues they face. Paul co-taught a rangeland monitoring workshop and worked with ranchers and BLM to establish a Cooperative Permittee Monitoring Agreement. He also worked with one of the Outcome-Based Grazing demonstration groups to support effective grazing management.

FISCAL YEAR 2018 – 2019


$211,850.00 – County
$165,252.00 – Grants 
$31,678.00 – Federal 
$54,311.00 – State 

Baker-Tingey, J. 2019, Elko County Annual Report | Fiscal Year 2018 - 2019, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno

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