Children at Pajarito Environmental Education Center as they practice swooping silently like owls do while looking for prey. Photo Courtesy PEEC
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and the New Mexico Wildlife Center (NMWC) announced today that they received a $8,500 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative.
PEEC and NMWC’s commitment to getting kids active outside in nature aligns with the vision of BCBSNM’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.
“Because of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, we are able to offer weekly programs to young children and their caregivers completely free,” said PEEC Executive Director Katie Bruell. “And now with added support we are able to spread free programming to the Española Valley with our partners, the New Mexico Wildlife Center.”
“Our family loves the Nature Playtimes program at PEEC. I have four small children who attend,” said PEEC parent Desta Parkinson. “It is of special value to me because it gets the kids outside! Being outside is crucial to proper growth and development, and it is something society is losing. Kids are being raised in static indoor environments that do not challenge their bodies and minds the same way the outdoors does. Nature has also been proven to benefit us emotionally– boosting our moods – and improve physical health. I want my kids to develop a lifelong love for nature and being outside.”
Parkinson also said, “I love the varied, interesting activities that are included. The leaders are great with kids, too. Thank you so much for offering this program for families. It is especially important that it is free because young families often cannot afford a fee. Thank you, BCBSNM!”
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is committed to supporting the health and wellness of children,” said Dr. Eugene Sun, vice president and chief medical officer, BCBSNM. “By working with Pajarito Environmental Education Center and New Mexico Wildlife Center, we can promote stimulating, outdoor physical activity for young children and their families.”
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Likewise, Nature Playtimes works to instill a lifelong love of being active outside into young children, and to model to their parents how much fun and learning can take place in nature.
PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC operates the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however, members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $35. To learn more, visit www.peecnature.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is one of the largest commercial health insurers in New Mexico with more than 600,000 New Mexicans carrying a Blue Cross and Blue Shield card. Since 1940, BCBSNM has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSNM is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.