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PEEC Bird Of The Week: The Hairy Woodpecker

on December 24, 2016 - 9:20am
Hairy woodpecker. Courtesy photo

The Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) is one of the most common and abundant of the North American Woodpeckers.

They are not as common at the Los Alamos Nature Center as the Acorn Woodpeckers frequently seen, but there have been many reports of Hairy Woodpeckers in the area.

Slightly smaller than the Acorn Woodpecker, the Hairy Woodpecker enjoys the suet feeder and the various seed mixes we use. Away from feeders, they tend to be shyer than Acorn Woodpeckers.

The Hairy Woodpecker has a black-and-white striped face, all-white

WIPP Cleared To Resume Waste Emplacement

on December 23, 2016 - 11:39am

WIPP News:

Today the Department of Energy (DOE) authorized Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) to resume waste emplacement in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

This decision confirms that all pre-start corrective actions identified in the two operational readiness reviews have been completed and properly validated and other required actions were completed.

It is anticipated that the first waste emplacement will be completed in early January 2017 after final ground control preparations are completed.

Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) Manager Todd Shrader said, “Extensive efforts to identify and implement

DOE Awards Cooperative Agreement To Nambe Pueblo

on December 23, 2016 - 10:46am

DOE News:

CARLSBAD -- The Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office has awarded a $250,000 five-year cooperative agreement to the Nambe Pueblo for the coordination of activities to ensure the safe transportation of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Activities under the cooperative agreement focus on technical assistance to be provided through training and exercises for the New Mexico Pueblo to prepare emergency responders and emergency management for continued assurance of safe and uneventful transportation of radioactive waste through the Pueblo lands.


Bandelier Closed Due To Weather

on December 22, 2016 - 11:13am

Bandelier entrance sign. Courtesy/NPS


Bandelier has closed today due to the winter snow storm and will not open again until at least 10 a.m. Friday. 

Also, the Visitor Center will be closed Dec. 25, but, weather permitting, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 will be normal days with the park and Visitor Center open.

PEEC And BBBS Ask For Help To Get Kids Outside

on December 22, 2016 - 9:52am
Big Brothers and Big Sisters Mountain Region provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Courtesy image
PEEC News:
Want to help kids get outside? The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) are providing an opportunity to make a difference in a powerful and personal way by starting a new program that can flourish with the help of volunteers.
BBBS has a long waiting list, especially for boys wanting a Big.

Letter To The Editor: Obama’s Last Chance To Protect Grand Canyon

on December 22, 2016 - 9:51am
By Hannah Perkins and Dan McGuinness
Environment New Mexico, Golden Dawn Gallery
While climbing into ancient cavates and hiking through the beautiful wilderness of Bandelier National Monument a few weeks ago, I was struck by the thought, what if we hadn’t protected this?
What would have happened to sites of the ancestral pueblo culture and the miles of natural wonders if this hadn’t been designated as a national monument one hundred years ago?

Bandelier National Monument doesn’t just preserve history, culture, and nature.

Daily Postcard: Snow Falls As Christmas Nears

on December 22, 2016 - 9:28am

Daily Postcard: Snow is covering the area this morning including Aster Street in the Pinon Trails neighborhood in White Rock. The National Weather Service reports a daytime high of 35 with this morning’s snow likely turning to rain this afternoon. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches is possible. Tonight’s low will reach around 31. Friday’s forecast includes a high of near 43 with a 30 percent chance of snow and a low of around 26. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

LANL’s Short Animation On Asteroid Ocean Impacts Takes A First Prize

on December 21, 2016 - 3:03pm
Asteroid visualization team. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Daily Post
For the second year in a row, a Los Alamos data visualization team won the Best Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase Award at Supercomputing 2016 in Salt Lake City last month.
The content of their 4-minute video illustrates varying degrees of threats from different types and sizes of asteroids landing in the ocean.
There’s a lot of traffic bustling about in the vicinity of Earth, not only the objects that orbit the planet, but also asteroids that orbit the Sun, which brings the objects

Santa Fe National Forest Announces Holiday Closures

on December 21, 2016 - 2:48pm
SFNF News:
SANTA FE  All Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 2 in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. 
Forest offices will resume regular business hours Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, respectively.
Cut-your-own Christmas tree permits are still available at SFNF offices and select vendors through Friday, Dec. 23. Fourth-graders with an Every Kid in a Park pass are entitled to a free Christmas tree permit. For more information, review the press release issued Nov. 9 at
For additional

PEEC: Planetarium Line-up For Dec. 23

on December 21, 2016 - 2:45pm
PEEC News:
At 7 p.m., Friday, Dec 23, local astronomers will share information about the sun and the winter solstice in the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium.
The winter solstice, marking the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, also signifies the first day of winter. Astronomers will use the planetarium dome to reveal how this cosmic dynamic works and share more information about our solar system.
The nature center is closed Dec. 23-24 as well as Jan. 1 for the holidays. Otherwise, the nature center will be open regular hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

PEEC's Top 10 List Continues: # 2

on December 21, 2016 - 8:36am

There are so many wonderful things about Los Alamos and the Pajarito Plateau. The number 2 reason why people support PEEC is to enable PEEC to show everyone the wonderful things about the beautiful area we live in. Support PEEC and share the best side of this area with our community and visitors. Courtesy/PEEC

DOE Awards Co-op Agreement To New Mexico Energy, Confederated Tribes Of Umatilla Indian Reservation

on December 20, 2016 - 7:34am

DOE News:

CARLSBAD -- The Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office Monday awarded a $375,000, five-year cooperative agreement to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore. for the coordination of activities to ensure the safe transportation of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Activities under the cooperative agreement focus on technical assistance to be provided through training and exercises for the Indian Nation to prepare emergency responders and emergency management for the continued assurance of safe transportation of

Daily Postcard: Los Alamos Canyon

on December 20, 2016 - 5:37am

Daily Postcard: View of Los Alamos Canyon. Photo by Chris Clark/

Secretary Jewell Celebrates Milestones For Smart Western Water Management

on December 19, 2016 - 4:52pm
USDI News:
LAS VEGAS  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor celebrated milestones for two collaborative efforts the Interior Department has spearheaded to help secure sustainable water supplies for future generations.
They made the announcements at the Colorado River Water Users Association meeting in Las Vegas.
First, Secretary Jewell finalized the framework to adaptively manage the Glen Canyon Dam over the next 20 years, with the goal of creating certainty and predictability for water and power users while protecting

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell Leads Call To Protect National Laboratory Employees From Blacklisting

on December 19, 2016 - 10:39am

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA15) today led 26 members of Congress, including Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), in sending President-elect Donald Trump their vow to defend the scientific freedom of employees at the Department of Energy’s 17 National Laboratories, following reports that Trump’s transition team sought personal information regarding department employees’ work on climate change.

Swalwell’s district includes Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories.

Daily Postcard: Moon Glows Through Trees

on December 19, 2016 - 7:22am

Daily Postcard: The moon glows through tree branches at a residence Thursday night on Oakwood Loop near downtown Los Alamos. Photo by Leland Lehman/

WIPP’s Long Closure Nears End

on December 18, 2016 - 9:56am

WIPP officials at the Carlsbad Town Hall Meeting from left, Phil Briedenbach, president and project director of the Nuclear Weapons Partnership, DOE’s operational readiness review team leader, Ed Westbrook, Carlsbad Field Office Manager Todd Shrader, along with John Heaton, the moderator. ScreenShot Photo


Los Alamos Daily Post

Thanks to Internet video streaming, informational meetings in the two-and-a-half year struggle to re-open the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Southern New Mexico are accessible not only to the people of Carlsbad but for people throughout

Daily Postcard: Mid-December Rainbow

on December 18, 2016 - 7:52am

Daily Postcard: A rainbow fills the sky Friday in downtown Los Alamos. Photo by Chris Clark/

Joaquin Prescribed Pile Burn Continues On Santa Fe National Forest, Jemez And Cuba Ranger Districts

on December 15, 2016 - 3:30pm
SFNF News:
SANTA FE  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to continue the Joaquin prescribed pile burn on Thursday, Dec. 15, if conditions, including air quality and weather forecasts, remain favorable. 
The 60-acre treatment area sits on the boundary between the Jemez and Cuba Ranger Districts.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity.

PEEC's Top 10 List Continues: # 3

on December 15, 2016 - 9:52am

Supporting local is important for many reasons. The number 3 reason why people support PEEC is that the support continues to benefit people in the community. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Click here to support PEEC and make your money go farther in our community. Courtesy/PEEC

Environment Department Completes Inspection Of WIPP

on December 15, 2016 - 9:51am
NMED News:
SANTA FE  The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Hazardous Waste Bureau team completed their surface and underground inspections of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) facility last week.
The inspections covered issues dating back to the 2014 salt truck fire and radiation leak incident that led to the facility’s temporary closure, as well as the conditions of the facility’s current hazardous waste permit.
“WIPP is a critical asset to our nation’s security, our state’s economy, and the community in which it operates.

Bandelier Offers Special Walks On Winter Solstice

on December 13, 2016 - 6:45pm
Sunrise at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice. Courtesy/wikipedia
For Ancestral Pueblo farmers, keeping track of the changing of the seasons was crucial for knowing when to plant and harvest.
In many places it appears that they made markers aligned with the sunrise and sunset on the winter and summer solstices, the shortest and longest days of the year. This year Bandelier National Monument will offer ranger-guided walks to observe possible solstice markers among the Ancestral Pueblo dwellings in Frijoles Canyon.
On Dec.

LANL: First Detection Of Boron On Surface Of Mars

on December 13, 2016 - 2:42pm

ChemCam target Catabola is a raised resistant calcium sulfate vein with the highest abundance of boron observed so far. The red outline shows the location of the ChemCam target remote micro images (inset). The remote micro images show the location of each individual ChemCam laser point (red crosshairs) and the B chemistry associated with each point (colored bars). The scale bar is 9.2 mm or about 0.36 inches. Courtesy/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/LANL/CNES-IRAP/William Rapin

LANL News:

  • New finding provides more clues about water habitability

Boron has been identified for the first time on the surface

What's Playing In The Planetarium This Weekend?

on December 13, 2016 - 7:36am

PEEC News:

Scientists are still learning more about exoplanets and frequently finding new ones. This Friday at 7 p.m., a local astronomer will present the latest information about exoplanets and show images of known exoplanets on the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium dome. 

Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., We are Stars will play on the full planetarium dome. This exciting, family-friendly film connects us to the evolution of the Universe and explores the secrets of our cosmic chemistry.

The Los Alamos Nature Center will be closed Dec. 23-24 and Jan. 1 for the holidays.

Prescribed Burn Planned On Santa Fe National Forest

on December 13, 2016 - 6:44am

Prescribed pile burn planned as early as Wednesday on the SFNF's Cuba Ranger District. Courtesy/NPS

SFNF News:

SANTA FE – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning a prescribed pile burn on the Cuba Ranger District.

The 20-acre Ojitos prescribed pile burn, located just northeast of Rancho Del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp, may begin as early as Wednesday, Dec. 14, only if conditions, including air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable. Fire managers expect to complete ignitions in one day.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource