Washoe County Extension’s Early Childhood and School Readiness programs are designed to increase vulnerable young children’s interest, knowledge, and engagement in early learning activities, and to encourage and teach their parents to be positive forces for their children’s learning as they enter and progress through school.

Our STEM (Let’s Discover STEM), healthy children (Health Kids, Early Start), and early literacy (Family Storyteller) programs reached 8,170 Spanish- and English-speaking families through direct education, social media and PSE activities. The programs increased young children’s interest and engagement in early literacy, STEM, and healthy eating activities, and improved parents’ skills and confidence to help their children be healthy and succeed in school. Helping just one child stay healthy and be successful in school can save well over $20,000 in estimated educational, medical and incarceration costs.


Workforce development is important to us. The Extension Horticulture program offered the Green Industry Training program, which awards the Nursery Worker Training certificate. This certification is desirable by local nurseries and landscape companies looking to hire new employees. This spring, 130 people took the course, and 56 Nursery Worker Training certificates were awarded. Post-program continuing education sessions were attended by 295 green industry workers.

Extension Horticulture staff taught three bilingual landscaping classes to 114 Hispanic workers (see photo). 

The Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) program provides education to landscapers on landscape water conservation. This year, we awarded nine QWEL certificates.

Our Grow Your Own, Nevada! program teaches people how to be more self-sufficient by growing their own food. Our spring classes were offered online to 1,309 people, 424 of whom were Washoe County residents.

Our Master Gardener program volunteers answered over 1,000 Washoe County residents’ gardening questions. We taught 65 people, 35 of whom went on to become certified Master Gardeners. Master Gardeners helped teach the online Gardening in Nevada classes, reaching 2,053 attendees, in collaboration with Washoe County Parks.


The key to a successful child care program is the education of the child care workers, for they are the foundation to quality care and the workforce behind the workforce. Extension provides early childhood professional development that improves the knowledge, skills and abilities of child care providers. All training is approved by Nevada Registry and meet Nevada State Licensing requirements. In Washoe County, the University of Nevada, Reno Extension offers one of the most recognized quality training programs— the Infant Toddler Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential. Over four months, participating teachers receive over 120 Nevada Registry approved training hours, pre and post program assessments and on-site coaching. Eleven teachers completed the program during the Fall 2020 session, and 10 in Spring 2021.


Nevada Radon Education Program teaches Nevadans about radon health risk (lung cancer), testing and reduction. Over 947 Washoe County homes were mitigated, 129 radon-reducing homes were built, 2,886 homes were tested during the home buying process, and 61 real estate professionals were educated.


Nevadans learn crop production sustainability by increasing the diversity of low water-requiring crops. Washoe County field trials and online classes taught cover crop, grain and forage production management. Fourth graders (110 students) at a Washoe County school learned about healthy soils and healthy food. In-person classes on soils and soil analysis were provided to Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Project training for hoop house management.


4-H Youth Development reached 8,190 total youth in Washoe County. Our varied programs empower youth to become contributing members of society through experiential learning and inquiry-based environments. 4-H youth learn and develop skills that spreads through the family. 4-H Youth Development has proven merit in Washoe County with high praise and status amongst stakeholders in the county. A total of 395 adult volunteers provided direct learning opportunities for youth in Washoe County. Volunteers contributed the equivalent of 1.3 million dollars to county well-being.

  • 1,891 youth in After School STEM Programs in 24 Washoe County Title I schools,
  • 5,562 youth in School Enrichment Programs,
  • 94 youth in STEM/STEAM Day Camps,
  • 43 youth in virtual instructional programs,
  • 215 youth in 4-H clubs facilitated by volunteer leaders,
  • 395 youth in Special Interest/Short-Term STEM Based Projects, 

In response to COVID-19, Extension 4-H Youth Development programs pivoted to created 62 Facebook STEM videos and other social media content with 5,391 total views/interactions. In the 2020-2021 program year, Nevada 4-H Youth Development experienced decreased participation, which can be attributed to the overall fatigue of virtual participation and difficulties in fully reconvening.


A new program has started to provide life skills to unsheltered persons in Washoe County. The first step, after hiring program manager Jose Gomez, is building relationships with county employees and community groups engaged in homeless programs. Initial findings have resulted in the development of an afterschool program at Our Place for two days a week and developing classes in personal care, career intervention and basic technology skills.


The nutrition programs promote research-based behaviors associated with obesity risk reduction in schools where the majority of students are considered in low socio-economic status.  Produce Pick of the Month builds fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. The in-school nutrition education program taught 941 primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools, monthly. Summer Day Camps were offered to 65 participants at the Reno Housing Authority community sites of Stead Manor, Hawk View Apartments, Mineral Manor and Essex Manor. Families received nutrition education lessons, cooking demos and physical activity. Twelve education sessions at two Farmers Markets in Washoe County provide free affordable recipes, nutrition information, and information on farmers markets accepting SNAP EBT were offered to shoppers who stopped by our booth.


The Living With Fire Program (LWF) teaches Nevadans how to live more safely in wildfire-prone areas. LWF distributed 1,376 publications to 13 different Washoe County communities. LWF organized and hosted 12 Zoom workshops reaching a total of 730 attendees. The recorded Zoom workshops were posted to YouTube and a total of 355 people viewed these recordings.

LWF was extensively involved in organizing, hosting and planning a Sparks community’s educational Zoom workshop. Speakers were from the Sparks City Council, Sparks Fire Department, Nevada Division of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management and LWF. A total of 52 residents attended virtually and learned that their next steps must involve evacuation preparedness. LWF is currently working with the group to host an Evacuation workshop that will be held in October 2021.   

LWF held a Town Hall meeting bringing together residents who experienced the 2016 Little Valley Fire and the Nevada Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service and the University of Nevada. This was the first public meeting for the land managers and residents since the wildfire to re-establish relationships. A total of 30 residents attended in-person, and the group discussed projects that have occurred since the wildfire and the next steps for wildfire rehabilitation. 

LWF developed, with the Nevada Division of Forestry, a full day Zoom Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Conference. 195 Nevadans attended this conference and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto spoke at the event.

LWF conducted a needs assessment and evaluation survey for the program received 377 responses which will improve and grow wildfire-educational resources.

The Living With Fire Program has also been developing a high school wildfire science curriculum to educate Nevada teens on wildfire, protection from wildfire and fire-related career opportunities. This curriculum features extensive stakeholder input from teachers, scientists, fire professionals and tribal organizations, and will be piloted in select classrooms in the fall of 2021. 


fiscal year 2020 - 2021

County Funds Summary

Opening Balance- $1,732,613

Revenue- $1,671,486

Expenses- $1,375,400

Ending Balance- $2,025,699

Expenditures Benefitting Washoe County

County- $1,375,400

Federal- $161,539

State- $255,887

Sponsored Projects- $1,351,193

Other- $283,691

Total- $3,427,710

Gatzke, H. 2021, Washoe County Extension Annual Report | July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, County Reports

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