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Extension plans new programming in face of COVID-19

With Nevada’s current stay-at-home order in place until at least April 30, the University of Nevada’s Extension office is planning and carrying out new programming to keep members of the communities they serve engaged and entertained. In a time when people are motivated to learn new skills, such as sewing their own face masks, growing gardens and baking bread at home, the Extension’s mission to “discover, develop, disseminate, preserve and use knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of people” is as relevant as ever.

Although Extension offices have closed around the state, the staff is still offering remote programming statewide and residents of Nye County are welcome to participate.

One of UNR’s prominent programs in Pahrump is Southern Nye County 4-H, a youth development organization. In a recent statement, Nevada 4-H announced a statewide service project dedicated to sewing and delivering a goal of 5,000 masks to people in need across all of Nevada.

“Our county offices are working on a coordinated effort to distribute the masks made by our 4-H family,” said State 4-H Youth Development Director Carrie Stark in a letter to 4-H members last week.

In addition to virtual club meetings and projects for existing 4-H members, the youth development program is also offering various educational activities open to all youth in Southern Nevada, regardless of enrollment status. These virtual events, delivered through platforms such as Zoom and Facebook Live, include: “Science With Your Hands”, a twice-weekly interactive session aimed at school-age children that teaches them fundamental scientific principles. “4-H Photography Basics”, is another twice-weekly class that covers essential information needed for students to take attractive and engaging pictures with equipment from their own home.

Bi-weekly storytime readings of popular children’s literature and 4-H staff videos teaching viewers how to build their own garden beds are featured on the Clark County NV 4-H Facebook page.

Youth ages 9-19 can enter the Extension’s “Art In The Time of Quarantine” contest with prizes to be awarded and judging by creative experts. Categories include creative writing, photography, filmmaking, and comics. Deadline for all submissions is May 15.

Another creative competition open to northern Nye County 4-H members is to design a poster expressing “what 4-H means to you”. Prizes will be awarded and winners will be displayed in the Round Mountain Public Library during its pending reopening. For more information, interested youth K-4 can contact Carol Shilling at cshilling@unr.edu.

Master Gardeners, another popular Pahrump Extension program is supporting the community in their horticultural endeavors with online educational seminars, such as the “Grow Your Own, Nevada!” series, available on its website: growyourownnevada.com. Local gardeners can also access free help and get answers to all their botanical questions by calling the Master Gardener Helpline.

All vegetables that were grown for the weekly farmer’s market by Pahrump Master Gardeners have been safely harvested and donated to the NyE Communities Coalition’s Gleaning Program for redistribution within the community.

In the near future, Nye County Extension Educator Jacob Holloway is expecting some relief for our agricultural community, which is struggling with a lack of sales outlets for their product, through the federal CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27th.

“What I would like to see is Extension get more involved in helping farmers and ranchers get the assistance available to them through the CARES Act,” says Holloway “Something we don’t have in Nye County is a Health and Human Services position. Some of the other better-funded areas in our state have that, and we don’t. So I want to look at how we can implement some Health and Human Services programs in all of our programs, be it 4-H or horticulture”.

Now is a great time to get involved with Extension programming. Stay-at-home gardeners can safely get the information they need to help aid their growth by calling the Master Gardener Helpline at 775-727-5532, or by visiting them online at extension.unr.edu.

Those looking to take advantage of youth development programs through 4-H should visit their respective Facebook pages at facebook.com/clarkcountynv4h or facebook.com/pahrump4h.

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