PEEC benefit brings out supporters

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By Carol A. Clark

Earth Day weekend activities culminated in a benefit dinner for the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) Sunday evening at Central Avenue Grill. The well-attended party was filled with sponsors and supporters.

Proceeds from corporate table sponsors and a silent and live auction conducted by Auctioneer Jill Cook, generated some $12,000 for the nature center.

“This will keep the center going for another six months,” said PEEC party organizer Michele Altherr. “We can write grants for specific programs but it’s difficult to find grants for operating expenses.”

Meeting these expenses is why PEEC held Sunday’s benefit dinner and why the center is always grateful for individual donations.

The big moneymaker of the evening was a quilt titled “Wildflower” created and donated by artist Katy Korkos. The 4.5-foot by 5.5-foot quilt brought in $525, said PEEC member Becky Shankland.

Among the many donated items were a stone vertical flower arrangement from artist Phil Kilgour, a framed panoramic photograph of Carlsbad Caverns by artist Hari Viswanathan, a Kullu wool shawl from Kashmir, three cherrywood bar stools and a photographic portrait sitting gift certificate by Don Taylor Photography.

“Whether you’re dark green or light green, or just becoming proactive, we welcome you,” Altherr said.

PEEC Board President Randy Ryti and Earth Day Chairman Peter O’Rourke thanked all the supporters for their presence and contributions.

PEEC Board Vice President Chick Heller praised the community for responding so well to PEEC’s efforts to educate the public about the environment.

“We don’t do activism...We just ask you to come by and see what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s amazing to see the experts in different fields who ask if they can help. We just picked up a lady who knows everything there is to know about insects and we already have an insect display up.”

PEEC is located at 3540 Orange Street. For information and to contribute time or money, access www.PajaritoEEC.org.