Extension seeking to boost Master Gardener presence in North Lake Tahoe area

Submitted to the Sun
University of Nevada, Reno Extension is seeking those interested in being stewards of the North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden at the University’s Lake Tahoe campus.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – With the newly acquired University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe campus, the University is looking to invigorate the demonstration garden it once helped to start at the former Sierra Nevada College campus.

University of Nevada, Reno Extension helped start the North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden more than 25 years ago. Now, the garden is once again under the University’s stewardship, and Extension is seeking to rev up its Master Gardener volunteer presence in the area to not only be stewards of the demonstration garden, but also get involved in other educational gardening activities in the community.

“We once had quite a presence in the area, and now is a perfect time to get back into this community,” said Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Katelyn Brinkerhoff. “A great way to start is to get an army of involved Master Gardeners wanting to make a difference at the demonstration garden at the beautiful Tahoe campus.”

Brinkerhoff said the timing is right to recruit new volunteers, with Extension offering its online Home Horticulture Certificate Program in just a few weeks, beginning Aug. 2 and concluding Sept. 28. The program is ideal for anyone wanting to learn more about gardening in Nevada and is also a prerequisite for those interested in becoming a certified Nevada Master Gardener.

The cost is $275 and includes recorded lectures, readings, homework and online question-and-answer sessions with specialists and local gardening professionals. Sessions take place via Zoom, from noon to 1 p.m., Thursdays, and conclude with a final exam before certification. There will be an information session about the program via Zoom at noon, July 19. Those wishing to attend the July 19 session should register online.

“This is a great first step for those wanting to help with the demonstration garden and other projects and educational activities in the North Lake Tahoe community,” Brinkerhoff said. “We’re also just wanting to reach out to the community and have anyone who might be interested in becoming involved with the garden to contact us.”

The garden opened in May 1994 to provide demonstrations of lake-friendly landscaping using native and adaptive plants, water conservation, soil stabilization techniques, defensible space from wildfires, and best management practices for stormwater infiltration. Now, Brinkerhoff said those will remain important goals of the garden. Additionally, she said Extension is interested in putting in a pollinator garden, and doing other projects, such as a garden showcasing culturally significant Tribal food and medicinal plants. 

The Nevada Master Gardener Program already has hundreds of Master Gardeners throughout the state, who share their research-based knowledge through educational presentations and workshops, community events and projects, and by answering gardening questions at Extension offices. After completing their first year, Master Gardeners make an annual commitment to 10 hours of continuing education and 20 hours volunteering wherever their knowledge and skills best fit community needs.

Applications for Master Gardener training open after participants pass the Home Horticulture Certification Program final exam. Master Gardener training costs $25 and takes place Oct. 26 to Dec. 28. It includes online readings, lectures and live question-and-answer sessions, while county-specific in-person activities may also be added to the schedule.

Registration for the Home Horticulture Certificate Program is open now through July 28, and can be completed online. For more information on classes, email Brinkerhoff at

Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should contact Paul Lessick, civil rights and compliance coordinator, at or 702-257-5577 at least five days prior to the scheduled event with their needs or for more information.

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