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Margaret Blewett grew up in northern New Mexico and developed a deep appreciation for this area. It is that love and the Pajarito Plateau that drives her to volunteer at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center.
She first started volunteering as a preschool teacher, leading a class for young ones at the nature center, and more recently Blewett volunteers as a docent.
Even at 81 years of age, she has plenty of energy to share with the community.
Blewett grew up in Albuquerque. “I spent my summers at a Girl Scout camp in the Jemez mountains. It was during those summers that I fell in love with this area,” she said in a recent PEEC interview. “I went to the camp for many years, first as a camper and then as a counselor.
She has taught in Australia for one year and then returned to Albuquerque, before moving to Los Alamos. She has resided on the Hill with her husband for the past 51 years. “We raised our six kids in Los Alamos, and naturally they grew up to be New Mexico lovers,” Blewett said. “I especially love northern New Mexico and southeastern Utah, where I have spent a lot of time camping and hiking.” Blewett boasts she is the proud grandmother of 14 grandchildren.
When Blewett retired from teaching in 1994 from Little Forest Playschool, PEEC co-founder, Becky Skankland knew she had worked with children and asked her to work with a group of preschool kids. My co-teacher Jennifer Moss and I ran a PEEC preschool program for about two years. “That probably evolved into Nature Playtimes, but we didn’t have a name for it at that time,” Blewett said. “I also helped set up the current nature center, and I paid special attention to the children’s areas since that is my area of interest.”
She continues to volunteer as a docent every Thursday. She no longer works with kids these days, but still serves as a greeter and helps with office duties.
“I like being involved with PEEC because I think it’s a very important resource for the community, and I like that it’s concerned with our local area. The main emphasis is on a sense of place — where we are,” she said. “I think that it’s really important for kids to grow up knowing where they are and what’s around them, as far as the environment goes. We always tried to do that in our preschool classes, with field trips to Tsankawi and the reservoir. We wanted to give them a sense of place.”
Blewett said she is excited about the Los Alamos County Nature Center, scheduled to open in spring 2015. “My husband and I went to an event recently at the site of the new Nature Center, and we were really impressed with the location, the view and the plans,” she said.
Blewett still remains active with outdoor activities. She enjoys hiking, camping and rafting. She attends family outings in southwest Utah. “There are a lot of really good sites and places to explore,” she said.