Los Alamos Makers Launches Soft Re-opening

Elannah Venhaus, a former Biodidact intern learning the ropes of DNA barcoding. Courtesy/LAM

A glimpse of Los Alamos makers’ wood shop. Los Alamos Makers is helping make woodworking safer and more accessible with its newly remodeled shop. The fully renovated shop will be revealed during an upcoming open house. Courtesy/LAM

Los Alamos Makers News:

Sunday, May 17 concluded this year’s National Week of Making. The coronavirus crisis has made it very clear that makers do matter and do make a difference, with makers of all kinds, and everywhere, participating in the global effort to provide personal protective equipment.

As businesses now slowly re-open and activities progressively resume, Los Alamos Makers is pleased to announce its soft re-opening this week, on Saturday, May 23.

As it moves forward, the organization also reflects on its impact. The organization is very proud to have been a catalyst for the maker movement here in Los Alamos, since 2016.

Stemming from a grassroots effort, Los Alamos Makers aimed at leveraging the skills of individuals in our unique community to engage and educate our community about the benefits of learning new and old skills, the benefits of teaching each other and the benefits of collaborating, inventing and creating, not just consuming.

Los Alamos Makers has so far served over 2,900 unique visitors, giving people the means and the confidence to step out of their comfort zones, explore new skills, teach others, start new businesses and build community.

Like most organizations and businesses, the  re-opening plan includes new rules, an initial restriction on the number of participants and a thorough cleaning routine.

“Because we’re creative, we had to step it up a notch,” Los Alamos Makers said.

Thanks to its Community Biotech Club initiative, sponsored by N3B Los Alamos and Biodidact, Los Alamos Makers will actually be testing its facilities for the presence of COVID-19 RNA on surfaces. This will be an opportunity for participants to get involved and learn about the process.

Local businesses interested in having their surfaces tested are encouraged to email Los Alamos Makers at CommunityBiotechClub@LosAlamosMakers.org. Participation will be free of charge and data will be kept anonymous upon request. It is to be noted that although detection of the presence of COVID-19 RNA on surfaces does not mean that the surface sampled contained the live virus, it is a useful monitoring method.

On Monday, June 22, Los Alamos Makers’ Community Biotech Club also will participate in the global City Sampling Day (gCSD), a collaborative citizen science project led and spearheaded by Cornell University. The metagenomics project aims at monitoring and analysing the evolving microbial profiles of cities around the world.

Individuals interested in participating in either of those citizen science projects are encouraged to email Los Alamos Makers at Hello@LosAlamosMakers.org with “Citizen Science” in the subject line.

The makerspace is also still working on the accessibility improvements of its wood shop. The project was sponsored in part by the Northern New Mexico Health Group grant (via the Con Alma Health Foundation). Although the forced break has slowed down the renovations a bit, significant progress was made with more working space, a new dust collection system and a Sawstop. While the five free Meetups and clubs will not meet in person until further notice, virtual meeting efforts will continue.

Finally, Los Alamos Makers would like to acknowledge the support of the Los Alamos Community Foundation and its partners (Con Alma Health Foundation, Delle Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, N3B, Triad National Security LLC and United Way of Northern New Mexico) for helping the organization pay for one-month rent during the stay-at-home order.

While revenues disappear for a while, bills and rent are still due, and for some businesses that can be the difference between remaining open or having to close, so community members are encouraged to continue to support their local businesses as best they can.