PEEC Participates in ScienceFest With Two Diverse Programs

Chick Keller to host Herbarium Open House at PEEC. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

This Sept. 5-13, Los Alamos will be abuzz with many different activities and events as part of ScienceFest, a weeklong celebration of Los Alamos as a center of science and creativity.

Many different organizations have come together to contribute to ScienceFest, including the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), which will host two exciting events during the week.

The fate of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout to be discussed in a program at PEEC. Courtesy/PEEC

Tuesday, Sept. 9, noon to 4 p.m., Jemez Mountain Herbarium curator Chick Keller will be on hand at PEEC to host an herbarium open house. Thursday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., Toner Mitchell will share his knowledge of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, the New Mexico state fish.

Los Alamos ScienceFest is a weeklong festival that celebrates Los Alamos as a center of science and creativity. The festival features an exciting line-up of interactive demonstrations, creative competitions, dynamic speakers, community tours and educational-flavored social gatherings to engage families and youth in science.

The Jemez Mountain Herbarium (JMH), housed at PEEC and featuring about 3,000 mounted plants from this area, is an incredible resource. During an open house at PEEC, curator Chick Keller will be on hand to give tours of the herbarium, introduce the plant species, and explain why the herbarium is an important scientific resource. The open house is noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 9. The public is invited to drop by any time during the open house. The JMH includes many plant species, which until they were documented in the JMH, were unknown to the Jemez Mountains. The JMH is part of SEINet, the premier website database for documenting the native plants of New Mexico and Arizona. Keller is a founding member of PEEC and curator of the Herbarium.

Thursday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., expert Toner Mitchell will give a presentation at PEEC chronicling the downfall of the Rio Grande subspecies of cutthroat trout since the arrival of Europeans, but mainly since the onset of heavily extractive land management around the turn of the 20th century. Coincidentally, this was just around the time of the introduction of non-native trout species like the brown trout (from Eurasia), rainbow trout (from the Pacific Coast) and the brook trout (from northeast U.S.). Mitchell also will discuss a road to a future, in which the New Mexico state fish is kept in the public eye, honored as a natural/cultural icon of this place, and preserved in spite of threats like climate change. Mitchell has been an environmental consultant, a staffer in the U.S. Senate, a fishing guide for over 20 years in several states, and he is now the New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator for Trout Unlimited.

Both programs are free and no advance registration is required. For more information about these and other PEEC programs, visit, email 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

Los Alamos MainStreet produces Los Alamos ScienceFest in partnership with Los Alamos Creative District, and Los Alamos County. A committee of community partners, organizations and local businesses leads the festival. Los Alamos ScienceFest is sponsored in part by The Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos National Bank, Horizons Sustainable Financial Services, Positive Energy Solar, Hubble Electro-Mechanical, BMW of Santa Fe, The Education Plan, Los Alamos Medical Center, First National Santa Fe, and Lumenscapes 360. Learn more at