Featured Volunteer: Adah Gellis

Adah Gellis, a busy senior at Los Alamos High School has been volunteering multiple times a week at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Her dedication to philanthropy is an inspiration. She freely devotes her time to volunteer and give back to her community. Adah’s giving attitude reminds me of the quote, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” ~Elizabeth Andrew.  Adah works as a docent on Tuesdays and Fridays, greets visitors, answers questions and works in the gift shop. She’s also training to handle the animals and has become fond of the bull snake, Severus. Adah is kind-hearted and a welcome addition to the PEEC volunteer team. We hope you enjoy reading about one of our teen volunteers!

PEEC: Where are you from and how did you end up in Los Alamos?

A.G.: I’ve lived in Alcalde, Espanola, and Pojoaque. I was commuting to school for 1 year before we moved to Los Alamos in 2016. 

PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC?

A.G.: I was looking for work experience that fit my career interests. I’m still not sure exactly what I want to study when I go to college, but I’m very interested in nature and the outdoors. I’m leaning toward something that has to do with the outdoors, like agriculture or environmental science. 

PEEC: Tell me about yourself.

A.G.: I’m a senior in high school. I like to play sports, go on hikes, do anything music related (I play the piano), or spend time with family and friends. 

PEEC: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

A.G.: I like getting to know new people. The conversations I have with the guests who come to the nature center are always interesting. I also really enjoy the animals in the exhibits, especially the salamanders. 

PEEC: What are your jobs at PEEC, what do you do?

A.G.: I docent a few times each week. Docents greet visitors when they enter the building, answer questions, and work in the gift shop. I will also be helping with the landscaping committee when gardening season starts. The nature center has beautiful gardens; a native/wildflower garden, water-wise garden, and pollinator garden. Not to mention, the penstemon garden within the parking island and back of the building.

PEEC: In your opinion, what’s the most important work PEEC does?

A.G.: The environmental education programs PEEC offers for children (and adults) are really important. It’s key that children learn to appreciate and respect nature at a young age. I also like the Passport to Pajarito Plateau Program, it’s a great way to get people of all ages outside, exploring the trails.

PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?

A.G.: I enjoy hiking and gardening. I love the hiking trails in the Jemez! I had a garden for about 3 years at our old home in Pojoaque. It’s harder to garden up here in Los Alamos, but I’m excited to learn. That’s why I’m eager to start volunteering with the PEEC landscaping committee.

PEEC: Best outdoor experience in LA/WR area??

A.G.: Seeing a fox! I was on a trail one evening and looked up, a fox was standing on a rock looking down at me! It was amazing. I’m glad I looked up at that moment.

PEEC: Best or funny memory working at PEEC?

A.G.: One morning when I was docenting, an excited one-year-old walked through the doors, took one look at me, and then turned around and went back out. 

PEEC: Do you have a favorite animal at the nature center?

A.G.: I like the salamanders, Tam and Titus. They’re funny and adorable and remind me of babies. I just wish they would move around a bit more, they’re so lazy. Maybe they get all their exercise at night when we’re not looking!

-If you are interested in learning more about the PEEC  volunteer program and the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road visit peecnture.org. 

Article by Christa Tyson, PEEC Visitor Services Manager

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