Featured Volunteer: Else Tennessen

Else recently joined PEEC’s volunteer program and settled in quickly. After her first training we knew she would do great; already a docenting pro and a weekly volunteer. We hope you enjoy reading about Else (pronounced like our favorite character from Frozen).

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

E.T.: I’m a city and suburbs girl from Chicago, where I grew up. I came to Los Alamos after accepting a job at LANL.

PEEC: Tell us about yourself.

E.T.: By profession, I am a technical communicator and work on the Lab’s websites as a web content specialist. In my spare time, I enjoy nature, books, music, visiting museums and historical sites, and I do arts and crafts.

My husband, Dave, is an analyst for NCR. My eldest, Alex, and his wife Afton live in Sioux Falls where he is a professor of neuroscience. My number two, Nicholas, works for a consulting firm in Chicago. Zachary, my third son, is an engineer for Husquavarna in Arkansas. And my youngest, Emrys, works for the YMCA here in LA and is studying to be a deacon in the Orthodox Church. Sam, our dog, is a chihuahua-terrier mix who thinks he is lion-sized and is my faithful animal buddy.

PEEC: Why did you want to get involved with PEEC’s volunteer program?

E.T.: Two reasons: as a way to give back to my community and to be more involved in PEEC’s mission of bringing nature to our townsfolk. PEEC is my first volunteer job in Los Alamos, I really enjoying spending time at the nature center.

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

E.T.: It’s important to volunteer because it gets one involved in the community and it supports where one lives. I believe it’s important to do something outside oneself.

PEEC: What is your job at the nature center?

E.T.: I’m a docent, welcoming and assisting folks as they visit the nature center. I look forward to helping others have an enjoyable, happy time. I’ve learned that PEEC volunteers and staff are helping to keep folks engaged with nature. We live in such an artificial world; we’ve forgotten where we come from and how to enjoy the simple things. Enjoying the natural world keeps us healthy and sane and reminds us we are all part of Earth’s greater community.

PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?

E.T.: I enjoy walking and nature-watching. It’s always exciting to see one of our wildlife neighbors or evidence of their presence. I enjoy container gardening during spring and summer.

PEEC: Best outdoor experience in the Los Alamos area?

E.T.: I’m a huge fan of our National Parks: Bandelier and the Valles Caldera are two of my favorite places on earth. You can’t beat the view from Anderson Overlook or the drives in and out of LA and WR.

PEEC: What do you love about the Pajarito Plateau?

E.T.: The views and wildlife: mountain guardians all around, stunning views into the Valley, the colorful rock formations against our turquoise skies, and seeing deer, bears and more right in my backyard. It’s so nice to see something other than skyscrapers on the horizon!

PEEC: What is on your wish list for PEEC for the next 10 years?

E.T.: I hope PEEC continues to grow and be an important part of the community health of Los Alamos.

PEEC: Best memory working with PEEC? 

E.T.: I truly enjoy our PEEC critters. I never get tired of watching them. It’s wonderful to see the adults ooh and ahh as much as their children.

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

E.T.: I That’s a hard one. I love the mule deer. They are so gentle and peaceful. They don’t seem to worry about much. It would be nice not to worry!

Article by Christa Tyson, PEEC Visitor Services Manager. To inquire about volunteering call 505-662-0460.

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