Featured Volunteer: Brian Wu

Brian Wu (16) traveled from TX to NM to volunteer (and visit family) this past summer. PEEC educators were thrilled to have his help with various education programs. We hope you enjoy reading about this young volunteer!

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

B.W.: I live in Richmond, TX – a small city west of Houston. I’m a sophomore at Foster High School. My mom, Christine Wu, grew up in White Rock and graduated from LAHS in 1993. My grandparents, Jasmine and Dr. Paul Pan both worked at the Lab and have lived in White Rock since 1980. I wanted to spend my summer in Los Alamos to escape the heat and humidity of Texas. I have a younger brother, Ben, who is in 8th grade. He came to volunteer at PEEC with me a couple of times too.

PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC??

B.W.:  I was looking for volunteer opportunities for the summer when I discovered PEEC needed help with their ongoing Monday program; Nature Playtimes. I helped teach preschoolers about water conservation and other nature-related themes. I learned a lot and I think the parents learned some things too! I liked working with Denise Matthews, PEEC’s Play-based education specialist so much that I added a second (then third) volunteer work to my weekly schedule. I started helping with Forest Explorers, a hiking program on Wednesdays and with random field trips throughout summer. Everyone at PEEC is very organized, and they make exploring nature fun for kids of all ages (including myself).

PEEC: What (other) volunteer work have you done in our community?

B.W: I also helped my grandpa and mom when they volunteered at the Bradbury Science Museum. One time, I saw a field trip group who had come to PEEC earlier in the week. Some of the kids remembered me, and I gave them high-fives! It felt good to know I had made a good impression on them.

PEEC: Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?

B.W.: It’s important to volunteer in the community because you get to see how an organization works from the inside. I had no idea how much work goes into getting a one-hour lesson ready for 30 preschoolers. I felt very useful every time I volunteered at PEEC.

PEEC: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

B.W.: I like volunteering for PEEC because I can be outside and spend time with happy kids. Los Alamos is so dry and cool compared to Houston!

PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?

B.W..: Hiking, fishing, and tennis.

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

B.W.: The events I helped with at PEEC teaches young kids about nature and the environment. They can start conserving water, recycling, or planting a garden at any age.

PEEC: What do you love about the Pajarito Plateau?

B.W.: The view of the mountains and all the wildlife! We had to stop for an elk to cross the road when I was driving down the Truck Route!

PEEC: What is on your wish list for PEEC for the next ten years?

B.W.: I hope that PEEC continues to expand their outdoor nature programs. Kids should spend as much time as they can outdoors.

PEEC: Do you have any advice for people interested in volunteering?

B.W.:  Dress comfortably and be ready to get dirty.

PEEC: Best or funny memory working with PEEC?

B.W.: During one of the school field trips, the kids asked me to act like a dinosaur. Since I knew many of them had just watched Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom movie, I pretended to be the Indominus Rex. At first, I was chasing them, then they all decided to become velociraptors and chased me!

PEEC: If you could be a local animal, which would you pick and why?

B.W.: I would be an owl for two reasons:

1. I want to be able to fly wherever I want. It’s especially important in case of wildfire or drought.
2. I wish I could be nocturnal. I prefer being awake during the night because it’s cooler and quieter.

-If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please email Christa Tyson at visitorservices@peecnature.org. 

Article by Christa Tyson, PEEC Visitor Services Manager

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