PEEC Welcomes New Executive Director and Staff

PEEC’s staff from left, Nature Center Coordinator Beth Cortright, Executive Director Katie Watson and Education Programs Director Angelique Harshman. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Recent visitors to PEEC (Pajarito Environmental Education Center) may have noticed some new faces busily crafting children’s games, managing the menagerie of live critters, and writing pleas and grants for money.  To meet PEEC’s expanding needs, Katie Watson has accepted a new position as Executive Director, while Angelique Harshman is Education Programs Director and Beth Cortright is Nature Center Coordinator.

Katie Watson began her career at PEEC as Program Director in 2010. She rapidly increased the number of public programs, and worked even harder to create and offer outdoor education programs for the Los Alamos Public Schools, both at individual schools and at PEEC. 

She obtained grants for PEEC to create the Pajarito Plateau Field Science curriculum, which enables all elementary grade classes to do standards-based science programs in their schoolyards or trails. 

Watson will continue to plan public programs for PEEC, but will also focus on management and fund-raising for the organization. She has a degree from St. John’s College, where she added Search and Rescue to the Great Books curriculum.

After her M.A. in International Relations at George Washington University, she became a Level II certified teacher in New Mexico with endorsements in Library/Media, Language Arts, Social Studies and Science.  

Angelique Harshman joined PEEC last spring and is now the Education Programs Director, writing curriculum and teaching PEEC programs in the Los Alamos Public Schools. 

She has worked in environmental education for more than 15 years. She lived in Los Alamos for five years as a teen, and moved back here in 2011. 

Harshman’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution. She started working as an educator with the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and also worked for two forest preserve districts in Illinois as a naturalist and volunteer coordinator, then was in charge of youth and family programs at the Morton Arboretum.  

Besides her passion for teaching people to love the outdoors, she has created a series of nature-based birthday parties for PEEC. 

Beth Cortright is our new Nature Center Coordinator. She is a Public Ally (part of Americorps), working on programs, outreach, and volunteer recruitment and training. 

Cortright grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her undergraduate degree in Biology is from the College of Mount St. Joseph, and she has an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Cincinnati. 

She moved from Cincinnati to White Rock in April 2012 and almost immediately started volunteering at PEEC. Hers is the friendly voice answering the phone and helping with programs when she’s not off on caving expeditions.

PEEC also has new Board positions: Terry Foxx, president; Felicia Orth, vice-president; Sue Watts, secretary and Nancy Arendt, treasurer.

PEEC is pleased to have well-qualified professionals to staff the Nature Center and offer engaging programs to the public and the schools.   

Next time you or your out-of-town visitors stop by to check out the new critters or enjoy a talk about skunks or trails, look for our new friendly faces. 

PEEC welcomes visits Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Over the holidays, we’ll keep these hours except for being closed on Christmas and New Years Day.

Watch for exciting new programs listed on our website at www.PajaritoEEC.org and enjoy our photos and information about local natural history.

 

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