Rendering of the new Los Alamos County Nature Center. The groundbreaking ceremony is 4 p.m., April 22. Courtesy/PEEC
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) has grown from humble beginnings, when a dozen citizens gathered around a dining room table to dream about ways to celebrate the natural world of Los Alamos.
PEEC’s inception took place on Earth Day in 2000 and since then, the people of Los Alamos have made PEEC a home for nature on the Pajarito Plateau. This Earth Day, 14 years to the day that PEEC was born, ground will be broken on the new, inspirational building that will become home to the Los Alamos County Nature Center.
PEEC and Los Alamos County invite the community to join the groundbreaking ceremony at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 at 2600 Canyon Road to celebrate this momentous occasion.
At the brief ceremony, County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers and PEEC Board President Teralene Foxx will speak, and the Barranca Mesa and Aspen Elementary school choirs will perform. Refreshments will be served.
“The Barranca Mesa Bobcat Choir is very excited to have been asked to participate in the Nature Center groundbreaking,” said Valerie Collins, music teacher at Barranca Mesa Elementary School. “Collaboration between PEEC and the schools is a very good thing! We are enjoying the song, feel it is quite appropriate for the occasion, and look forward to when the center is completed and our community can enjoy the many opportunities it will bring!”
Aspen Elementary School music teacher Ándrea R. Dowdy added, “the entire Aspen Tiger choir is very excited about the new building, especially the planetarium! We know that PEEC offers a lot of cool programs for our school, so we are happy to be involved in this celebration!”
PEEC founding member Chick Keller, while reflecting on the groundbreaking said, “when we started discussing PEEC way back in the year 1999, we had no such allusions that it would grow to such a large and active organization, let alone a community-sponsored building such as we’re starting next week. But we had a spark of an idea that has caught throughout the community. Our programs have grown in response to what people wanted, and our large number of volunteers has come in response to this need.”
While the PEEC organization was born in 2000, it wasn’t until 2005 that PEEC was able to operate out of a physical space, where it currently resides on Orange Street. The current exhibits are the work of many dedicated community members and volunteers. However with the new nature center, professionally designed and fabricated indoor and outdoor exhibits will replace the beloved but homemade exhibits in the present building.
“This nature center, while it will be operated by PEEC, actually belongs to the entire community and is an example of how Los Alamos is growing into a place in which our rich interests and capabilities are being made available to all,” Keller said. “The County Council and Administrators can take much credit for this, especially in how they have responded to the desires of the community. When this building is complete, we will have a beautiful facility capable of bringing to our children and ourselves the wonder of nature and how we are part of it. Indeed, this building will signal to Northern New Mexico that Los Alamos has something special to offer everyone.”
To learn more visit www.PajaritoEEC.org or call 505.662.0460.
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC maintains a nature center, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $20. To learn more, visit http://www.PajaritoEEC.org.