With the arrival of April, we begin the active Outreach part of the year and I want to remind everyone that we have several RCA Outreach events coming up. A listing of those can be seen on the RCA Outreach page.
Over the last three years, we have had a very positive response to Outreach events, both by attendees and volunteers. As a result, we have continued to expand our Outreach footprint in the Portland-area community.
Although we’ve had more and more Outreach events, the number of RCA participants has not increased in proportion. In 2015, we had 69 RCA Outreach volunteers participate in an Outreach event, and 20 of those participated in three or more events. That dedication is greatly appreciated and needed to cover the bases, but even better would be for more RCA members to participate in at least one event!
Please look at the RCA Outreach page to see our full 2016 schedule as we currently know it to be (it will change as events are added), then send me an email if you are interested in a particular event (or multiple events), or if you simply want to be on our RCA “Volunteer List.” If you are on the Volunteer List, you are not obligated in any manner—scheduling is always at your discretion. If you’ve volunteered in the last two years, you are already on that list.
To pique your interest, I want to point out a couple of special events coming up this year that are outside of the immediate Portland area and for which we will need several volunteers:
- Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center public star party on July 9. We will be teaming with Friends of Galileo, an astronomy club in Longview, for a public star party. We can stay in the parking lot all night with our camping vehicles and continue to observe. A large group of participants are expected.
- Maryhill Museum star party on July 30. Maryhill, two hours from Portland in the Columbia River Gorge, is putting on a spectacular event. RCA volunteers will get free passes to the museum, dinner and breakfast, a Shakespeare play on the lawn, and can park and camp on the museum grounds, all for free! Set your calendar for July 30. We will provide a solar scope for the day and our own scopes for the night-time star party. We’re sharing support of this event with Goldendale Observatory. A large group of participants are expected.
During 2015, RCA provided star parties and/or astro-presentations to over 9,500 attendees by way of either RCA events or OMSI events staffed by RCA. Our schedule for 2016 is off to a good start and we greatly appreciate your help! As many of you know, we have an annual recognition event in December. For 2016, we will have a special recognition pin for those who participate in three or more events—our new “Three Star Outreach Pin.” And if you log five events, you can earn an Outreach Award from the Astronomical League.
If you have any questions, please send me an email or give me a call. Again, if you want to sign up for attendance at an Outreach Event, or want to be included in our Outreach Volunteer List, please send me an email.
We thank all RCA members—those who contribute directly by participating in our Outreach events and those who contribute indirectly by supporting our club.
Vice President of Outreach, Rose City Astronomers