Gustafson instills love of science and nature

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By Gina Velasquez

Sarah Gustafson has an interest in nature as it relates to the young people of the community.
She is the coordinator of the Nature Odyssey summer program for children in fourth through sixth grade. It takes place one to two weeks in June. Over the years, it has evolved to combine outdoor adventure with field science, which the kids love.
“We have a lot of kids whose parents work at the lab, so that’s their view of what scientists do,” Gustafson said. “We try to instill the idea that you can do science outside, too. So we bring in geologists, ecologists and other field scientists. Over the last 4-5 years, I’ve been developing the theme of Nature Detectives to tie the activities together.”
Gustafson also coordinates the Living Earth Adventure Program program for middle schoolers, that is also a summer program in June. “What (kids) love about it really comes back to the connections they make with nature, with other people, and with themselves. They all talk about making new friends and discovering interesting things,” she said.
Gustafson served as the Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s first vice president and was very involved in early Earth Day celebrations. During PEEC’s infancy, she focused on forging connections with Bandelier and other local organizations.

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