Located in central Nevada about two hours drive southeast of Carson City, The Walker River Reservation is home to the Walker River Paiute Tribe. Most of the reservation’s 530 square miles is utilized for livestock
The Walker River FRTEP program is focused on agriculture, youth development and senior health and wellness. This includes the Walker River Food Sovereignty Project, multiple youth development programs, Veggies for Seniors, and statewide participation in the Nevada Tribal Advisory Council.
Food sovereignty project
In the past, cattle and horses have traditionally been the primary livelihood for the Walker River Tribe, but the community has evolved from concentrating on livestock to developing a hoop house program. The Walker River food sovereignty project has constructed four hoop houses on the reservation. The program encourages residents to grow their own gardens and assists with irrigation systems and by providing seeds to community members.
Veggies for Kids
The Veggies for Kids program supports healthy eating by promoting increased intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, water and nutrient-dense beverages. It also increases appreciation for, and use of, healthy traditional Native American and Hispanic foods while providing an introduction on how to grow vegetables. Students also participate in hands-on activities that teach them how to prepare and cook healthy meals. This is an in-school program for kindergarten through 3rd grade that is based in the Schurz Elementary School.
Agriculture and Traditional Foods Field Trip
Schurz Elementary School students participate in field trips led by tribal extension agents to learn about agriculture by visiting Perrazzo Brothers Dairy Farm in Fallon, Nev. They learn about the various types of feed used to assist the cows in producing milk three times a day as well as the history of the farm. The farm has 1,100 dairy cows.
Nevada offers three area camps at the Nevada State 4-H Camp in Lake Tahoe. Teens are selected and trained to be counselors for residential and day camps that provide educational program for youth through hands-on, experiential learning. Leadership skills that are given major emphasis include:
- Understanding self and character-building skills
- Communicating and relating to others
- Problem solving and decision making
- Managing resources
- Working with others
- Environmental stewardship
Reducing Risk through Interpersonal Development, Empowerment, Resiliency and Self-Determination (RezRIDERS) is a program for adolescents that focuses on core values, optimism, self-determination and self-regulation. The program includes lesson-based instruction on mental health and the promotion of positive mental health practices. The two primary goals of the program are to reduce adolescent substance use through self-regulation and to reduce symptoms of depression.
High school participants perform community outreach projects to improve their communities. As an incentive to participate, students have the opportunity to take part in extreme sports activities such as rock climbing and skiing that most youth on the reservation would not otherwise be able to do.
Think First Stay Safe
Think First Stay Safe is a child protection program for 1st-graders. The program is funded primarily by the State of Nevada and is implemented at Schurz Elementary School. The eight-week program teaches children how to protect themselves from sexual abuse and offers parents an opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns.
Veggies for Seniors
The Veggies for Seniors program delivers locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables for up to 13 weeks to older reservation residents. The program provides weekly deliveries as well as healthy recipes to help seniors prepare meals.
Mineral County Healthy Aging
The Mineral County Healthy Aging program is comprised of the Stay Strong Stay Healthy (SSSH) and Seniors Eating Well (SEW) programs which were implemented on the Walker River Reservation through a collaboration with Clark County. The program also provides an eight-week exercise program for older and sedentary adults as well as healthy cooking classes. Seniors participate in food demonstrations and receive recipes to promote healthy eating without sugars and added salt. Home-bound seniors receive a monthly newsletter that includes health tips and healthy recipes.
Candace Birchum – Extension Educator