HUT Observatory

Volunteers for EVAS

Eagle Valley Astronomical Society has progressed in a very gratifying way since its modest start, March 18, 2011, at an evening event at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.  At that time we were unsure even what to call ourselves.  But a goal was in mind, and it has continued through our development.  The idea was to organize fun events that will be particularly welcoming to young people.  We were fortunate to discover a local organization, Gifted Education Team, that was sympathetic, encouraging, and extremely helpful promoting our early gatherings.  Consequently our typical participants have been parents and children — usually at the level of elementary through middle school.  As we settled into a regular series at the newly constructed Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, it’s be easy to maintain momentum with parents and children.

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December, 2012, meeting of the Eagle Valley Astronomical Society at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, Colorado.

Our activities have thus been different from those of typical astronomical societies, which in fact are common organizations, all over the country.  In typical clubs, most members are older adults.  The “graying” of astronomy is a frequent concern, to the point of magazine editorials and the like.  Many clubs have strong components devoted to astronomy and science education, usually through public observing sessions with portable telescopes, often organized with schools.  The core of most clubs, however, is a team of dedicated adults.

To “bootstrap up” the Eagle Valley Astronomical Society, John Briggs has presented most of the Thursday lectures through these first years, drawing on his adventures in astronomy and his experience as a teacher.  When he has been unavailable due to travel or other occasional conflicts, backup has come from Walking Mountains staff and from visiting speakers coming from regional astronomy clubs.  Through all this, EVAS has begun to attract a regular core of parents, youngsters, dedicated local teachers, and, fortunately, experienced local amateur astronomers from our relatively small Valley population.  A hope is that we can maintain momentum keeping young people interested, while gaining a larger percentage of adult members who enjoy EVAS activities in their own right.  As we progress, hopefully it will become possible to diversify the programs — as Briggs puts it, “to become less of just a ‘John Briggs show.’”

Thus, if you can do any of the following:

–Suggest programs and activities that you think will be popular for the group, including star parties and events beyond our regular monthly meetings.  The best programs are often the simplest!

–Offer to make a presentation yourself, on a topic of your choice.  (One needn’t be an expert!)

–Help organize the EVAS with a more formal structure (officers, bylaws, etc.) than we’ve taken the time to do so far.

–Organize cool ideas like the library telescope loan project, suggested by David Blum.

–Help with the promotion and expended distribution of telescope hardware that has been donated to us.

–Etc.

Anything along these lines, including simply your observations and suggestions, will be most welcome!  Note the sooner EVAS diversifies, the more likely it will endure for decades to come.  How wonderful that would be!

Contact:  John W. Briggs,  970-328-6228, john.w.briggs@gmail.com or jwb@hutobservatory.com

 

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December, 2012, outdoor observing session of Eagle Valley Astronomical Society, using the 11-inch Celestron computer-controlled telescope donated by James K. Hoffmeister of Boulder. Photos kindly supplied by Frank Nadell of the Three Rivers Astronomy Club, Carbondale, Colorado.