Featured Volunteer: Dody Richardson

Recognizing Dody Richardson, A PEEC Volunteer

By Christa Tyson, PEEC Volunteer Coordinator

This month we recognize Dody Richardson, one of our “jack-of-all-trades” volunteers.  Dody has helped on countless nature field trips, she docents the front desk and gift shop at our nature center, regularly helps with school programs and also assists with odd projects we need last minute help with.  She is kind, observant and naturally talented with each project she works on.  Dody is a joy to work with.  We are very lucky to have her as a PEEC volunteer!

PEEC: Where are you from and how did you end up in Los Alamos? 
D.R.: I was born and raised in the small town of New Brighton, Pennsylvania. I moved away after nursing school to live and work in various places; Cleveland (OH), Pittsburgh (PA), Ganado (AZ)), Petersburg (AK), Coos Bay (OR), and Keams Canyon (AZ). We raised our 2 girls in Prescott Valley (AZ) and after they both graduated from college, my husband took a job with Los Alamos County and that is how we ended up here in Los Alamos!

PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC? 
D.R.: I retired after 35 years of nursing and I wanted to spend more time enjoying nature, especially in Los Alamos county, where the natural world is breathtaking. Now a retiree, I having more time to hike (which is my favorite hobby). I joined PEEC and became a volunteer mainly because of the non-profits mission and opportunities.  I do not have any formal training in environmental education but love the outdoors and helping people, so PEEC was a good fit for me. They have many volunteer programs that include hiking in nature.  I get to participate in my favorite hobby while volunteering!

PEEC: What do you enjoy about being a PEEC volunteer?
D.R.: What I enjoy most about PEEC is the people – staff, visitors, other volunteers and the children. They have all enriched my life and it is such a positive and happy place to be! The interactions are priceless.

PEEC: In your opinion what’s the most important work PEEC does? 
D.R.: I feel PEEC’s most important work is education. Sometimes the serious problems of the world can be overwhelming. Through environmental education, I believe that each of us can contribute something positive and help protect and care for the environment. Educating people of all ages is what PEEC does best. They have so many educational programs to choose from.  

PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?
D.R.: Besides hiking, I enjoy taking care of my yard.  The home we bought a year ago has grapes, cherries, sunflowers, and so many varieties of flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees. I hope to do more snowshoeing this winter. PEEC has some winter snowshoeing events that look fun!

PEEC: What do you love about the Pajarito Plateau? 
D.R.: I love the vast array of hiking and outdoor opportunities that the Pajarito plateau provides. There is always something new to discover and endless areas to explore, in every season!  We are lucky to live in such a diverse and beautiful natural area.  

PEEC: Where was the first place you ever volunteered? 
D.R.: The first place I volunteered was with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I had several “littles”,  one girl I worked with from the age of 7 to 12 and another very active boy from 6 to 11 years old.  They could never get enough of being outside and exploring nature with me.

I am excited to hear PEEC and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) are partnering and starting a new program named The Big Outdoors, which will match kids with a PEEC volunteer “Big” who can show them how much fun the outdoors can be. 

PEEC: If had magic super powers, what would you do? 
D.R.: Magic super-powers! I would want to create a more peaceful and kind world for everyone. I really believe that protecting and enjoying nature can help us do this, together!

If you are interested in learning more about PEEC and the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road visit peecnture.org. To learn more about volunteering, ask to speak with Christa Tyson, Volunteer Coordinator, or send her an email.

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