Recognizing Junseo Kim, A PEEC Volunteer
By Christa Tyson, PEEC Volunteer Coordinator
Have you seen the new tree stump amphitheater and long picnic tables in the nature play area? Volunteer Junseo Kim, a senior at Los Alamos High School is the teen responsible for these much needed improvements. Read below to learn more about Junseo and his volunteer work with PEEC.
PEEC: Where are you from and how did you end up in Los Alamos?
J.K.: I am originally from Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Los Alamos when I was 3 years old. My dad got a job at LANL, and our family has lived here ever since.
PEEC: Tell us a bit about your family.
J.K.: Both my parents were born and raised in Korea, but moved to Los Alamos as my dad followed his passion for Nuclear Physics. I also have a mom who teaches piano, my sister Yun who is entering middle school, and a small white dog named Nilla.
PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC?
J.K.: When I was little, the old PEEC Center use to be my favorite place. Watching the animals, rolling down the grassy hill, and hiking down the canyon was every little kid’s dream. My Boy Scout Troop had many connections to PEEC through past volunteer projects, which drew me closer to volunteering at the place I loved.
PEEC: What type of volunteer work do you do at PEEC?
J.K.: I am a docent at PEEC, meaning I am the PEEC welcome mat. I welcome people to the facility, answer any questions, and help with the gift shop. I also help with data entry and I just finished a large landscaping project in the Nature Play area.
PEEC: Tell us about your Eagle Scout Project. What are Eagle Scouts and how did you get involved?
J.K.: Eagle Scout is one of the highest honors a Boy Scout can achieve, and is every scout’s goal. I became involved in scouting in 1st grade, and joined Boy Scout Troop 122 in Middle School. My eagle project was to improve the outdoor Nature Play Area for PEEC. I constructed two long miniature picnic tables and the stump amphitheater around the sandbox.
PEEC: Why did you choose PEEC for your project?
J.K.: I choose PEEC for my project as PEEC has had such a positive impact on my life as a child and a teenager, and because my Boy Scout Troop has worked alongside PEEC through multiple past eagle projects and volunteer opportunities. I choose to improve PEEC’s Nature Play Area to create a place where kids could experience nature and learn at the same time, something that is rarely done in our society today.
PEEC: What do you enjoy about being a PEEC volunteer?
J.K.: There is no single answer to this question! One of my favorite things about volunteering are my fellow docents as each of them have amazing stories and wonderful personalities. Another would be the staff members. Each of them are supportive, friendly, and spending time with each of them reminds me why I love PEEC. Finally, I love watching the young kids (and a couple of adults!) have a great time as they run over to the animal exhibits or put on puppet shows in the play area.
PEEC: In your opinion, what’s the most important work PEEC does?
J.K.: PEEC creates a gateway from the digital world to a world full of nature. I see so many people, young and old (myself included), engulfed in their phones every second. However, at PEEC, I see people putting down their phones to read about the environment, look at the animals, and learn more about where they live.
PEEC: What are your hopes for PEEC for the next 10 years?
J.K.: PEEC has already improved our community a significant amount, it would be great to see it expand and become a larger part of our community’s identity. Mainly, I want PEEC to advocate for worldwide environmental issues such as global warming, waste and water disposal, and creating low energy societies.
PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?
J.K.: I love to play tennis and go camping. I have made so many great memories camping out with my Boy Scout Troop and friends.
PEEC: Best outdoor experience in LA or WR?
J.K.: My best outdoor experience was reaching the bottom of Red Dot Trail. It was one of my first backpack trips, my Boy Scout Troop was planning on going down and staying the night. While walking down, one of my friends brought along an awfully heavy cooler full of ice cold sodas, and only the people who helped carry it could have one at the bottom. When we reached the bottom, we were all hot and sweaty so we all got into our swim trunks and swam around while drinking soda!
PEEC: How does PEEC improve your life?
J.K.: Volunteering as a docent at PEEC has been life changing as I always get to meet people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Welcoming everyone into the facility has introduced me to people of all different ages, backgrounds, and locations. Giving me the opportunity to talk about anything such as who their kids are, where they work, or their hobbies, has opened up my mind to the diversity the world has to offer
PEEC: Most interesting question a guest has asked you here at PEEC?
J.K.: “Could you take the black widow out of her cage so my mom can squish it? Spiders scare me.” ~ little kid
PEEC: What type of career would you like to pursue?
J.K.: Although I have not yet narrowed down my future career, I am thinking about entering the field of Psychology. I love analyzing the way people act in different situations, and I would love to be a therapist and directly improve people’s lives. I would like to go to a large city college hopefully in the East or West coast.
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 or how to support our Nature Play area, ask to speak with Christa Tyson, Volunteer Coordinator, or send her an email.