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Celebrate Earth Day

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By The Staff

“The most direct road to … (Los Alamos) … was a treacherous washboard running through the Indian Pueblo of San Ildefonso, over the muddy Rio Grande, and then up a series of muddy switchbacks. As we neared the top of the mesa, the view was breathtaking. Behind us lay the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, at sunset bathed in changing waves of color – scarlets and lavenders. Below was the desert with its flatness broken by majestic palisades that seemed like the ruined cathedrals and palaces of some old, great, vanished race. Ahead was Los Alamos, beyond the flat plateau on which it sat was its backdrop, the Jemez Mountain Range. Whenever things went wrong at Los Alamos, and there never was a day when it didn’t, we had one consolation – we had a view.”

This is a quote by Ruth Marshak, wife of John Marshak, who worked on the Manhattan Project. It can be found at Inspiration Point, on the mesa top just above Anderson Overlook as you come up the hill.

It seems appropriate as we once again prepare to celebrate Earth Day.

The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) will again host this year’s events, as it has done in recent years.

They have put much time and expertise into planning a spectacular event. The theme is “The Tree of Life” in honor of Charles Darwin who was born 200 years ago on Feb. 12, 1809, which by the way was also the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

The celebration begins with a talk by Dr. Howard Snell from the Charles Darwin Research Center in the Galapagos Islands. He is also a curator at the Museum of Southwestern Biology and professor of biology at UNM.

Snell’s talk is entitled “Evolution and Conservation in the Galapagos: A Window to Worldwide Patterns.” The presentation begins at 7 p.m. at Fuller Lodge Wednesday, the official Earth Day. Come at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy refreshments and music.

Then on Saturday head to PEEC at 3540 Orange St. to be part of an exciting Earth Day Festival.

From 10 a.m-2 p.m. your entire family can enjoy a variety of experiences and entertainment. Clan Tynker, a renaissance group, will again be performing magic acts, juggling, tight-rope walking and much more. They were a great hit with young and old last year.

At noon the PEEC Nature Trail, located on the canyon directly behind the PEEC building, will be dedicated. Walk this new addition to our growing trail system in town.

New this year is a garage sale with items related to nature wildlife and sustainability. Prices will be reasonable, so be sure to stop by and shop.

There will again be live animals, a sing-a-long with Dee Morrison, pizza and farmer’s market treats. Buy a backyard compost bin or a rain barrel.

Many organizations will participate with booths, including the Sierra Club. Be sure to visit us and see a computer climate change model developed by some sixth graders. Buy raffle tickets to win a tree, which we will plant for you. Bring your children for arts and crafts.

The festivities aren’t over on Saturday. On Sunday PEEC will host their “Party for PEEC”, a fundraising dinner and auction to be held at Central Avenue Grill from 5-8 p.m.

Tickets will still be available at Fuller Lodge on Wednesday. Auction items include a chipper-shredder, a cooking class, several guided outings and more. Proceeds help to support classes and activities offered by PEEC.

We have many reasons to be celebrating Earth Day this year. The new administration is committed to investing in clean energy while addressing the problem of global warming.

Here in Los Alamos the county council and other administrative entities have taken on the task of creating a greener Los Alamos. Have you taken the Atomic Transit Bus into town?

There is hourly service with additional buses in peak hours on all routes, plus after school service from the schools. And it is still entirely free!

Sign up for LA Green, a voluntary program in which you can elect to purchase green energy produced by solar and wind. Go green and inspire your friends, colleagues and neighbors to do likewise.

Tour the new green-built Ecostation. Marvel at the state of the art features which save energy and water while considering the well-being of those that work there.

As I recently went to Inspiration Point I reflected on how Los Alamos has grown since that quote was written over 60 years ago. With so many projects in progress and in planning stages, I hope we never forget to preserve the beauty of this place.

We are truly blessed with the view.