ORBIT launch meeting

Default event

Open to Public

Type: Outreach

Held on: Feb 18, 2012 (Sat) at 01:00 PM to Feb 18, 2012 (Sat) at 03:00 PM

Location: 47.680880, -122.341411

Event Coordinator: Denis G. Janky

This is the first meeting for the OutReach BuIlders Team, ORBIT, which is an outreach Special-interest group of the Seattle Astronomical Society.


Latitude 47.68136, Longitude -122.3408605


We had a great turnout for the first ORBIT meeting which was held last Saturday afternoon.  Twenty-five SA members indicated that they will participate in outreach activities, and fifteen SAS members attended the meeting last Saturday.  If we count other members, like Alan and Mike, who are already quietly doing outreach, the total would be an impressive percentage of SAS membership. The meeting was a rewarding opportunity to meet new members, to see some familiar faces, and to exchange ideas about ways to share astronomy with others.  The very enjoyable meeting produced some excellent ideas about expanding SAS outreach and identified many ways of doing this that may be classified under three main headings: education outreach, public outreach, and SAS outreach.
In the area of education outreach it was decided to focus at this time mainly on elementary level education.   So far there has been considerable demand from elementary schools for assistance with events like Science Night at various schools.  Six SAS members recently made a very well received presentation at Northgate Elementary School.  Now five different SAS members are finalizing preparations for their Science Night presentation in a week and a half at another elementary school.  Education outreach is really rolling along and making an impact!  As the word gets around, there will be more invitations for SAS members to participate in elementary school events.  Liz and Diane agreed to work at coordination in this area, and future meetings may define ways to provide middle school and high school outreach.  The education outreach effort is really thriving right now, but there is always room for more volunteers.
Public outreach perhaps offers the greatest number of opportunities for varied participation, I think.  At the meeting some of those opportunities were defined as  sidewalk astronomy, public star parties like Green Lake and Paramount Park, the T. J. Observatory at the UW, special celestial events like the Venus transit, astronomy "holidays" like Astronomy Day, and one time requests for SAS participation in a special event like a festival or seminar.  As with education outreach, the focus was on setting up one specific area for attention: the Green Lake and Paramount Park Star Parties.  Mike and Mary will coordinate those, and others at the meeting generously volunteered to help Mary and Mike.  I think the consensus at the meeting was that it's better to focus on a limited number of areas at first and gradually expand as interest and volunteer numbers increase.
SAS outreach within the club was also recognized as a way to promote connection among SAS members and a better organizational experience.  The meetings for new members of SAS, hosted by Mike Dole, are an excellent example of outreach within SAS.  Also, This Through the Clouds discussion group already offers the opportunity for interaction among members, so an effort to involve more SAS members in this group could be a start in improving outreach.  More focus on the SIG's or Special Interest Groups like ORBIT could also help to connect SAS members more effectively.  The camaraderie of last Saturday's meeting was a good example of esprit that is built when people work on and share a common interest.  Future meetings will offer new ideas for interaction among SAS members.
The main accomplishment of this meeting was definition of the areas that could receive future attention and definition of specific outreach activities in at least two areas:  elementary school education outreach and public outreach in the form of sidewalk astronomy including the Green Lake and Paramount Park Star Parties as a basis for future expanded efforts. But I had the feeling that this meeting was just a beginning, an excellent beginning, for a process that will strengthen SAS and will provide an opportunity for fun and rewards for individual SAS members in helping others to discover the joys of astronomy. Fun is certainly a reward to be expected from participation in outreach.  The meeting itself was fun and enjoyable, but there is no reward to compare with those oohs' and aah's that usually result when a child or adult has that first view of the moon or a planet through a telescope.  There is no source of gratification or reward greater than knowing that you have made an important difference in others' lives by helping them to know the joy of astronomy.  So I invite and encourage all who are interested to join us at the next ORBIT meeting on Sunday, March 4.  Watch for further information to be posted to Through the Clouds.  And I thank all who turned out and volunteered to give this outreach effort a very strong beginning!


Number of Supporters: 0

Number of Attendees: 25

Number of Telescopes: 0

Duration (hours): 2.0



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