In 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) created a network of regional Climate Hubs to deliver science-based information for climate-informed decision-making by developing practical, region-specific information and technologies for local-level stakeholders (USDA Climate Hubs, n.d.). The Climate Hubs chose Cooperative Extension to be the outreach arm for their research.

In 2016, faculty from University of Nevada, Reno Extension partnered with Extension professionals in other southwest U.S. states and the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to organize a workshop for Extension professionals on the campus of The University of Arizona. The goals of the workshop were to identify the appropriate role for Extension to respond to climate change and to examine and improve Extension’s capacity to address climate change at the local/state level (USDA Southwest Climate Hub, n.d.). The primary outcome of the 2016 workshop was establishment of the Southwest Extension Climate Partnership, supported by the USDA Southwest Climate Hub and created to facilitate sharing lessons learned from the separate climate change efforts of faculty from different western U.S. states. A secondary outcome was initiation of a plan to survey Nevada Extension professionals regarding the need for climate science education of constituents. This publication represents a summary of the results of that survey.

The two main categories of responses to climate change are adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation involves efforts to increase resilience to actual or expected climate change impacts, while not necessarily dealing with the underlying cause. Mitigation involves reducing the magnitude of climate change itself, primarily focusing on reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels and/or increasing carbon sequestration and storage (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). It is important for Extension professionals to understand these concepts as they develop programs that incorporate climate change information. Members of some audience groups may be reluctant to accept the idea of mitigation, while recognizing the practical need to adapt to changes they can readily observe and that may affect their livelihood. For that reason, it is suggested that climate change education to such groups should focus on interventions that have both adaptive and mitigative effects (Arbuckle et al., 2015).


Our survey results signified the desire of many Nevada Extension faculty and staff to incorporate climate change and climate science information into their local programming. They were also eager to receive training to increase their climate science literacy. While many Extension professionals in Nevada want to serve community needs in regard to climate change, some are hesitant to incorporate climate information due to a lack of training in basic climate science and/or access to information. Overall interest in climate change information is high among Nevada Extension professionals, and there is strong support for getting started. The success of this endeavor will be enhanced by building collaborative relationships across the region, such as engaging with the Southwest Extension Climate Partnership; forging better campus-county connections; and continuing ongoing communication among federal, state and local partners.

For the complete special report with methods, results, and discussion, use the link below to download the PDF version of this report.

Kratsch, H., Cobourn, J., Chichester, L. and Ormerod, K. 2020, Climate Science Readiness and Training Needs of Nevada Extension Professionals, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-20-08

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

Water Sustainability and Climate in the Truckee-Carson River System, Western United States: 10 Key Takeaways from the Water for the Seasons Collaborative Research Program.
This Special Publication briefly introduces the Truckee-Carson River System case study area, describes the Water for the Seasons research program, and presents 10 key takeaways from this five-year collaboration between local water managers and researchers.
Sterle, K., Singletary, L., Lee, G.-E., Rollins, K., Pohll, G., McCarthy, M., Rajagopal, S., Albano, C., Boyer, W., Huntington, J., Dettinger, M., Niswonger, R., Morway, R., Kitlasten, W., Gardner, M., Coors, S., and Jose, L. 2020, Extension I University of Nevada, Reno, SP-20-02.
Astronomy adventures. In S. J. Horrillo, M. Bird., & S. Worker (Eds.), Camp activities with a science twist: Enhancing your camp program with fun STEM experiences. Horrillo, S. J. 2018, Monterey, CA: Healthy Living. (pp. 129-146)
Foil cooking. In S. J. Horrillo, M. Bird., & S. Worker. (Eds.), Camp activities with a science twist: Enhancing your camp program with fun STEM experiences. Horrillo, S. J., Frazell, J., & Stewart, J. 2018, Monterey, CA: Healthy Living. (pp. 199-212).
Stick cooking. In S. J. Horrillo, M. Bird., & S. Worker (Eds.), Camp activities with a science twist: Enhancing your camp program with fun STEM experiences Horrillo, S. J., Frazell, J., & Stewart, J. 2018, Monterey, CA: Healthy Living. (pp. 185-198)
. Western Land Managers will Need all Available Tools for Adapting to Climate Change, Including Grazing: A Critique of Beschta et al.

In a previous article, Beschta et al. (Environ Manag 51(2):474–491, 2013) argue that grazing by large ungulates (both native and domestic) should be eliminated or greatly reduced on western public lands to reduce potential climate change impacts. The authors di...
Svejcar,Tony, Chad Boyd, Kirk Davies, Matthew Madsen, Jon Bates, Roger Sheley, Clayton Marlow, David Bohnert, Mike Borman, Ricardo Mata-Gonza`lez, John Buckhouse, Tamzen Stringham, Barry Perryman Sherman Swanson, Kenneth Tate, Mel George, George Ruyle, Bruce Roundy, Chris Call, Kevin Jensen, Karen Launchbaugh, Amanda Gearhart, Lance Vermeire, John Tanaka, Justin Derner, Gary Frasier, Kris Havstad, 2014, Environmental Management