Recognizing Kevin Parkinson, A PEEC Volunteer
By Christa Tyson, PEEC Volunteer Coordinator
Kevin is a Los Alamos high school student who volunteers during his free periods at school or the occasional evening and weekend. During the summer he will continue his service to our mission, helping with education programs, field trips, docenting and any other project that sparks his interest (lucky us). Kevin has been so dedicated to his volunteerism that he spent his birthday helping PEEC during our Earth Day festival! He is one of our diverse volunteers that I go to when we have any “please help it’s an emergency” last minute requests. He is always willing to step in and save the day. We really enjoy his kind and professional mannerisms and are honored to recognize him as this months featured volunteer. We hope you enjoy reading about him!
PEEC: Where are you from and how did you end up in Los Alamos?
K.P.: My parents came to Los Alamos with their families when they were pretty young. Although they both grew up here, they didn’t meet until after college. I was born in Los Alamos and I’ve lived in White Rock my entire life.
PEEC: Tell us a bit about your family.
K.P.: My parents both grew up here and are rooted in the area. They built the house we live in now after being married and having their first two kids. I have three older brothers who are all married now, and I live with my parents and my twin brother.
PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC?
K.P: I became very interested in the environment last year. I began looking for things that I could do in my life and around my community that pertained to the environment. I picked up a volunteer application form at PEEC and turned it into Christa, the volunteer coordinator. She helped find a place where I fit in with the organization. I’ve been helping with many different programs.
PEEC: What do you enjoy about being a PEEC volunteer?
K.P.: It’s super fun to help the educators with the weekly nature playtime program! I also enjoy docenting and answering questions at the front desk. I’ve had many positive interactions with all sorts of people when I’ve worked at PEEC and that is pretty valuable to me.
PEEC: How do you balance your schoolwork and volunteer work? Any tips for other teens?
K.P.: It’s not hard for me to balance schoolwork and volunteer work. I primarily volunteer during my free period at school and through lunch. I’m fortunate that with my schedule I’m able to do juggle school and volunteering. I originally wanted to work with some of the critters as well, but I couldn’t do that because it conflicted with my cross country schedule. School work is a challenge whether I volunteer or not. I save most of it up for the weekend and then have a massive homework session!
PEEC: If you could pick one job at PEEC to take over, which job would it be?
K.P.: I love being exactly where I am. I really enjoy being able to come in on occasion and work with the kids during the Nature Playtime program and on various school field trips. They children are so fun and curious, and they’re by far my favorite patrons to interact with.
PEEC: Do you/have you volunteered anywhere else?
K.P.: I always volunteer at local races and I’ve done some small volunteering around the community here and there. I also help do some remote work for a non-profit company based in California called Turning Green.
PEEC: In your opinion, what’s the most important work PEEC does?
K.P.: PEEC helps people get excited about nature. By creating a community that values and interacts with the natural world all around them, PEEC creates concerned global citizens who will helpfully take steps to mitigate their impact on the planet.
PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?
K.P.: I’m a big runner. I spend a lot of time running outdoors on the trails around White Rock and Los Alamos.
PEEC: Best outdoor experience in LA or WR?
K.P.: My favorite hike in the Los Alamos/White Rock area is around the brim of the ski hill and up to the top. There’s a bench up there that looks out over the Valles Caldera. I love all the trees and views you can find from the top of Pajarito mountain. I like to go up there on the weekends and take an hour or two to go all the way around.
PEEC: What do you love about the Pajarito plateau?
K.P.: I’ve never been anywhere like here. We are so fortunate to live in a town with many natural trails around it and at the base of the mountains that offer so many recreational opportunities. I can always find somewhere to go running and I love driving up to the Jemez on the weekends to do things with my friends.
PEEC: What is on your wish list for PEEC for the next 10 years?
K.P.: I would encourage PEEC to continue bringing community members together and standing as an example of sustainability and concern for the environment.
PEEC: How does PEEC improve your life?
K.P.: I’m grateful for the work that PEEC does to engage our community with nature. PEEC allows me and all the other volunteers an opportunity to engage with our town and participate in their efforts.
PEEC: Best or funny memory working at PEEC?
K.P.: A while ago, I was helping with a field trip and we were teaching students about geology. At the end of the activities, they had to draw a mountain and sources of weathering and erosion acting on it. One kid drew lightning from a storm striking the mountain, and when asked to explain his drawing, told us that lightning was part of weather and thus a contributor to “weathering”. I thought that was pretty funny.
PEEC: If you could be a local animal, which would you pick and why?
K.P.: Man, that’s a tough one. I think I would probably be an American Black Bear. They’re our local celebrities right now, and I think that their life is pretty idyllic. They spend their days roaming through our beautiful forests, and I’m don’t think any one of us hasn’t fantasized about hibernating through a large portion of the year.
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.