Isa Manzanares recently joined PEEC as a critter care volunteer. The staff is thrilled to have her here and the critters are equally excited; just last week I saw the frogs “jump for joy” as Isa approached the exhibit with their morning snack. We hope you enjoy learning more about Isa and her volunteer work at the nature center.
PEEC: Where are you from and how did you end up in Los Alamos?
I.M.: I am originally from Santa Fe, NM. My family moved to Los Alamos when I was about 5 years old and we’ve been here ever since. We also have a family ranch in Abiquiu where we’ve spent a lot of time over the years.
PEEC: What is your job at the nature center?
I.M.: Mainly, I help keep the animal exhibits clean: fish, lizards, frogs, salamanders, snakes; I’m being trained to hold the snakes as well and assist with feedings.
PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC?
I.M.: Growing up I lived close to the old PEEC on Orange St., experiences I had there intrigued me; planting the seed that prompted me to volunteer. I never would have gone through with volunteering if it weren’t for the support from my family and friends.
PEEC: Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?
I.M.: The animals must have routine care. Volunteering is important because it teaches you how to work in a possible job environment. Luckily, I enjoy learning about and working with different local animals. I’m learning a lot and I’m having fun educating guests.
PEEC: In your opinion, what’s the most important work PEEC does?
I.M.: I think being able to act as a hotspot for environmental teachings for the community is an honorable position taken by PEEC.
PEEC: What hobbies do you enjoy?
I.M.: I love to climb, run, and go on hikes with my family. I also find passion in learning new things, singing, drawing, sewing, reading, and writing.
PEEC: Best outdoor experience in the Los Alamos area?
I.M.: Running with my cross country team was always “the best experience.”
PEEC: Do you have any advice for people interested in volunteering?
I.M.: If you are interested in volunteering, just do it, go for it and give it time. You can’t know if you’d enjoy volunteering or not unless you try it yourself!
PEEC: What is on your wish list for PEEC for the next 10 years?
I.M.: I would love to see more outreach and programs in the schools.
PEEC: Best memory working with PEEC?
I.M.: The first time I got the Hognose Snake, Foxy, out of his enclosure he tried to “dig a hole” in my shirt, it was adorable.
PEEC: If you could be a local animal which would you pick?
I.M.: I would be a Raven. They live in both the canyons and the town and I appreciate the bird
Article by Christa Tyson, PEEC Visitor Services Manager. To inquire about volunteering call 505-662-0460.