Featured Volunteer: Maria Musgrave

Recognizing Maria Musgrave, A PEEC Volunteer

By Christa Tyson, PEEC Volunteer Coordinator

Maria is a dedicated PEEC volunteer who’s helped with many different projects. She is one of our volunteers that takes on large amounts of responsibility. This summer she helped with events, education programs, recycled art projects, and docenting. Most recently she helped with a month-long filming project for a PEEC commercial! You can see the results of her hard work here on our website. We hope you enjoy reading about her.

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

M.M.: I grew up in Los Alamos. I came back to the area as an intern with LANL after going to Southern California for college.

PEEC: Where do you go to school and what are you studying? 

M.M.: I received my B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Redlands. I’m currently attending Colorado State University for an M.S. degree in Conservation Leadership. I’m looking forward to a career in conservation and/or environmental education, working outdoors as much as possible and ideally, somewhere I can bring my dog, Pepita, to work!

PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC?

M.M.: I wanted to learn more about environmental education and be a part of a great asset to our community! I’ve learned so much while volunteering with PEEC. I also really enjoy seeing how others adore the Nature Center, both locals and guests visiting from out of town.  

PEEC: What type of volunteer work do you do at PEEC?  Tell us about the video project you worked on.

M.M.: The PEEC Staff approached me about a video project they were thinking of creating. They wanted to involve people talking about their memories in nature. When asked if I would like to be involved, I was thrilled. I strongly believe nature is a powerful influence in our lives and provides us with many positive experiences. The experiences we have in nature, as individuals or with others can help create lasting memories. These memories are similarities we hold regardless of a person’s background, career, age, or gender. Listening to people’s responses in the interviews was even better than I expected; despite the diverse mix of people, all of their stories and feelings toward nature were so positive and with many similarities. I was beyond impressed with the final videos! Click here to see the video.

PEEC: In your opinion what is the most important work PEEC does?

M.M.: I love that PEEC brings the community together. Families have a place to connect with others or with nature. Also, environmental education and fostering an awareness and appreciation for our natural environment is so important, especially for our younger generations.

PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?

M.M.: I love to be outdoors as much as possible!  My go-to activities usually include running, biking, or hiking, but also looking for birds and wildflowers. In the colder months, I enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. I like to be outside regardless of the season (and temperatures)!  Since coming home from college, I’ve been doing a lot of trail running with my mom and sisters and biking with my parents. These connections in nature give me a deep appreciation for the outdoor opportunities we have in Los Alamos and our surrounding areas. I can’t say enough good things about the trail network and the wildlife of the Pajarito Plateau–it’s like nowhere else.

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

M.M: I hope PEEC continues to grow over the next 10 years! There’s so much value in an environmental education center. PEEC offers many different topics and programs that help teach people of all ages. I look forward to seeing this continue.

PEEC: How does volunteering with PEEC help improve your life?

M.M: Each time I volunteer with PEEC I leave feeling happy and grateful. Guests, volunteers, and staff just love being there. Whether it’s someone’s first time at the nature center or they go every week, I always see people enjoying what PEEC offers. Volunteering there is such a positive experience! It’s also encouraging for me to see people learning about nature and gaining an appreciation for our environment. Although I’m not a regular docent, I absolutely love working with the other docents–I know that I haven’t met everyone, but the other volunteers have been so friendly and fun to work with! Volunteering at the weekly Nature Playtime with Denise was full of great memories as well. There are so many great kids, and their parents also look like they’re having so much fun.

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.