Sue Watts Receives 2016 Spirit Of The West Award

Sue Watts. Photo by Chad Lauritzen

Los Alamos resident Sue Watts is the Spirit of the West recipient at the 2016 Community Asset Awards. The award is named for former community member and County Councilor Jim West.

Nominated by Becky Shankland, Watts is recognized for her community envolvement and commitment to learning. She recently led a two-year project to create the narrative for the exhibits at the new Los Alamos Nature Center in which she engaged community members such as geologists, birders, wildflower enthusiasts, astronomers, trail experts to gather their perspectives on Los Alamos canyons, mesas, mountains and skies. 

Watts refined that input with Pajarito Environmental Education Center exhibit committee members into themes like “A Vertical Mile of Diversity.” She created a lengthy document that was given to the exhibit designers as the basis for their work.  

The Los Alamos Historical Society is using her group input skills to work on its new exhibits. 

“She is a true master of community involvement,” Shankland said.

Watts moved to Los Alamos to be near her children and grandchildren. She immediately became involved in PEEC because she has led Girl Scout groups in previous work—not just as a troop leader, but as a major leader for Scout leaders.

She has given the community the ability to participate in important new county and non-profit endeavors. Her work received little credit because the exhibit designers were paid to make her work professional, but her volunteer work was the heart of what they created. And her skill was making everyone’s voice a part of the whole.

“Now her wonderful work is a learning tool for all who visit the nature center,” Shankland said.

Editor’s note: Watch the Los Alamos Daily Post for more award recipients to be announced throughout the week.