Mohini and John have been docenting together since the Los Alamos Nature Center opened in 2015. We hope you enjoy reading about our “docenting duo.”
PEEC: Where are you both from and how did you end up in Los Alamos?
M.R-S.: I grew up in Mumbai, India, then came to the United States to attend graduate school in physics. After graduating in 1984, I got a post-doc position at LANL to work on my thesis experiment.
J.S.: My father was in the Air Force and we moved quite a bit. After I finished graduate school I worked at Texas A&M. During this time, I spent a summer at LANL – where I met Mohini. Eventually, I took a job with LANL. We both retired this year after 27 (Mohini), 28 (John) years of service.
PEEC: What are your volunteer jobs?
J.S.: We docent the welcome desk. We greet the visitors when they enter the building and help answer any questions.
PEEC: How did you get involved with PEEC?
M.R-S.: When the Nature Center opened in 2015 they needed Docents. We started working a couple of shifts over the weekend, which was easier for our schedules since we were still working at the lab. During our docent training, John was asked why he was there. He told the staff, “Mohini dragged me here.” He’s been joining me every week since 2015.
PEEC: What other volunteer work have you done in our community?
J.S.: Recently, we both started volunteering for Self Help Inc.
PEEC: Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?
M.R-S.: I’ve always felt supported and very grateful for the Los Alamos National Lab and the Los Alamos/White Rock Community. I wanted to give back – volunteering allows me that opportunity.
PEEC: What outdoor hobbies do you enjoy?
M.R-S.: Hiking, traveling, gardening, painting watercolors, reading, and learning new things.
J.S.: I also enjoy gardening and hiking but will add skiing and cooking to the list.
PEEC: What is your best outdoor experience in Los Alamos/White Rock?
M.R-S.: Walking through my neighborhood in Pajarito Acres, a true pleasure. I also love the many sunny days, long history of people in the area, and beautiful scenery.
J.S.: Skiing at Pajarito Mountain on a snowy, sunny day.
PEEC: What is on your wish list for PEEC for the next 10 years?
M.R-S.: I would love to see PEEC continue to schedule exciting planetarium programs.
J.S.: Continue as a healthy organization and continue with the passport program. It’s enjoyable when hikers come into the nature center to claim their passport prizes and to hear their hiking stories.
PEEC: Best memory working with PEEC?
M.R-S.: The nature center has an incredible indoor play area with many toys, crayons, animal puppets, puzzles, and games. I appreciate watching the children play. Parents gather to let their children play and connect with other families. Visitors always seem happy. It’s great to see the nature center provide such a lovely place for the community to come together.
J.S.: We were at the nature center during a birthday party for a boy who was about four years old. The children at the party were delighted to see the snakes, salamanders, and the fish tank. A volunteer was feeding the fish and would hold fish food above the tank – the fish were jumping and grabbing the food above the water. The kids were so excited to see fish jump, they too began to jump. After that, all the kids went back to the classroom to have cake and drinks. A good time was had by all.
PEEC: Do you have any advice for people interested in volunteering?
M.R-S.: I think it is a great place to volunteer – just do it.
J.S.: It is interesting and fun, you will enjoy working at the nature center.
-If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please email Christa Tyson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Christa Tyson, PEEC Visitor Services Manager