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PEEC plans to celebrate the planet

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By Special to the Monitor

Although spring officially begins in March, it is April when people begin to think of birds migrating, flowers blooming and a time to be outdoors.

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As the skies lighten, Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s volunteers turn their attention to recognizing Earth Day.

Earth Day 2010 is the 40th anniversary of the founding of a grassroots movement to explore humans’ relationships with the Earth. As it has done for the past 10 years, PEEC is organizing community activities around Earth Day. On a community level, Earth Day activities will recognize important community events: the Cerro Grande fire, the founding of PEEC and the beginning of the Volunteer Task Force, a community-based volunteer group. Nationally, this year’s Earth Day theme is volunteerism:  “A Billion Acts of Green.”

The theme, “The Difference a Decade Makes,” recognizes a decade of environmental education and volunteerism in the community of Los Alamos.

This year, PEEC’s activities span the month of April.  In recognition of the Cerro Grande fire and the volunteerism it generated, PEEC has joined with Mesa Public Library for a display called “Touched by Fire: Hands that Help, Hands that Create.”

The display will focus on artwork done at the time of the Cerro Grande fire and since that time. A display about the founding of PEEC and the Volunteer Task Force with a Wall of Volunteers, recognizing more than 2,000 volunteers who have helped in environmental education and restoration over the past 10 years is also planned.

The show will run from April 3-30, with an opening on April 8. Craig Martin, Los Alamos open space specialist, will talk about the landscape recovery since the Cerro Grande fire. Readings and a publication recognizing the community and its experiences after the fire are also planned.

On April 14, the Earth Day tabloid in the Los Alamos Monitor will be available to the community. It will include articles about the environment and will help the community find organizations that have green products.

In late April, PEEC and the Sierra Club will lead hikes on various community trails to help people understand the environment and archaeology of the area.

On the actual Earth Day, April 22, Dr. Richard Reynolds will speak at the Bradbury Science Museum, in a free talk sponsored by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He will speak about the relationship of the forest and fire to species like the goshawk and Kaibab squirrel

The Earth Day Festival is a big event for all ages. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 24, come to PEEC on Orange Street and help celebrate Earth Day with the performance group Clan Tynker.  

They will entertain with their daring show of stilts, rope walking and juggling. In addition, there will be booths representing different organizations displaying their green products and information. Finally, we will have a groundbreaking for a Butterfly Garden at PEEC, a project of the elementary schools’ Kinnikinnick Club.   

The fundraising birthday party for PEEC will be held on April 25. This event will be at the Hilltop House and will feature a Native meal prepared with foods that were found in the ancient Americas including corn, beans, squash, turkey, buffalo, trout, seeds, berries and cocoa.

To honor the outdoor education of children over the past decade, there will be a student symposium April 28 at Fuller Lodge. Students will present data taken after the Cerro Grande fire by their classes at Mountain, Aspen, Chamisa and Piñon Elementary Schools as well as the Los Alamos Middle School.  

On May 1, the Quemazon Trail will be re-dedicated with the revised trail guide prepared by students at Mountain School.

Those who sponsor these activities are appreciated and it is hoped that many groups will consider coming to or participating in these events.  For more information, call PEEC at 662-0460 or visit www.PajaritoEEC.org.  PEEC contacts are Terry Foxx, chairperson of the Earth Day events and Peter O’Rourke, fundraising chair.