by Gene Allen, Outreach Chair
Last month, as I scrambled to submit yet another delinquent article (!), I neglected to report on the excellent showing our members made at an Outreach Event in Plainsboro back in March. Once again an evening of star gazing was clouded out, but organizer Tara Miller moved the gathering indoors and Event Lead Jeffrey Pinyan reconfigured the program.
“Despite the cloud cover, there was a reasonable turnout (several dozen people), and I think tonight’s event was a success. Both adults and children got to see an array of different telescopes, and some volunteers even had visuals to share (previously captured astrophotographs, and Luisa brought her meteorite collection and presentation). Tara seemed pleased with the result, and all of us were busy with visitors for most of the time we were present. Only one volunteer [of seven!] couldn’t attend, due to illness.”
On Thursday, June 20, we need both Keyholders and Member volunteers who can bring additional scopes to offer a star gazing evening to 20-40 participants of the Delaware River Sojourn, a paddle trip that began in Hancock, NY. They will be camping overnight in WCSP before continuing south on the river.
We have multiple libraries clamoring for astronomy presentations since the state declared a summer reading program theme to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. It has been something of a struggle limiting them to nine by referring more distant ones to other clubs. Some of them will be daytime programs, and some have requested evening star gazing. A couple of us are trying to develop a “canned” but adaptable presentation to introduce an all-age audience to the pleasures and rewards of amateur astronomy. I have been told that our most enthusiastic “guru” of outreach, the late Gene Ramsey, may have had some such materials. When he trained me to become a Keyholder, he spoke often about his meteorite collection as his cloudy weather alternative. “If I can’t show them a star,” he was fond of saying, “at least I can show them a piece of one!” If anyone has a copy of any of his outreach material, please contact me. It would be an honor to compile a “Gene Ramsey Memorial Lecture.” In addition, I will be recruiting members to help make these library presentations.