Ingenious Donation Box Arrives At PEEC

Steven Trujillo, Samantha Trujillo, and their children Ellie, 4, and Seth, 2, have fun with PEEC’s new donation box. The Acorn Woodpecker, Abert’s squirrel, bobcat, and pika will do their tricks when bills go in the box. Photo by Felicia Orth


Gordon McDonough, well known artist and educator at the Bradbury Science Museum, offered to create a donation box for the new Los Alamos County Nature Center—and it has now arrived, ready to enchant all donors.

When you slide your dollar bill into the slot, a light flashes to check that it’s a bill, not a piece of paper. Then the fun begins: an Acorn Woodpecker may tap on a tree; an Abert’s squirrel may swish his tail; a bobcat may stick his head up; or a pika may pop out of his hole. 

Even more intriguing, you can look at the mechanisms that trigger the action; they’re visible below the money box, with hand-made wooden gears turning as they produce the action above. 

In discussing ideas for the donation box with Gordon, we mentioned these four iconic creatures of the Pajarito Plateau and hoped he’d figure out a way to use one.  When he came through with all four, we were quite amazed. 

What’s next at the Nature Center? Gordon is threatening to add sounds to the exhibit! 

So hurry on over to the Nature Center on Canyon Road and check out this remarkable new piece of inventive technology. Be sure to come with a supply of bills of any denomination—just no paper.