I’m delighted to report that the Astronomy Foundation held a meeting of the board of directors on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, via Skype, and made substantial progress toward our goals of bringing astronomy outreach to as many people as we can. Over the past few months, the group has continued to organize itself; we now have officers and a great many committees that have started active plans to popularize the hobby, and we will keep in touch with a quarterly newsletter with updates.
Those in attendance at our meeting included President Dave Eicher, Vice President Karen Jennings, Secretary Rick Hedrick, and members of the board Vic Maris and Mike Reynolds. We were joined by many committee members, whose ideas you will see summarized below. Robert Powell named Astronomy Foundation Treasurer
A significant action took place when the board voted to appoint Robert Powell, of Mequon, Wisconsin, treasurer, effective immediately. Rob is an active amateur astronomer and corporate fundraiser who was graduated from Connecticut College in 1978 with a B.A. degree in zoology. In 1996, he earned his M.B.A. degree, graduating magna cum laude from Concordia University Wisconsin.
In 2002, Rob joined the Northern Cross Science Foundation (NCSF), an amateur astronomy club in Southeastern Wisconsin. He served on their board of directors from 2003 through 2007.
In 2003, he was appointed to NASA’s Saturn Observation Campaign, one of six such appointees in Wisconsin. The international campaign was a public outreach program of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to engage youth in the excitement of astronomy.
In 2005, Rob completed a capital fundraising campaign from within the NCSF membership, raising $27,000 to construct and equip a new observatory.
In 2007, coincident with the expansion and renovation of a metro Milwaukee mall, Rob cultivated a relationship with Bayshore Town Center, which led to the start of the NCSF urban sidewalk astronomy program. In appreciation of their first year of regularly scheduled public outreach activity, mall management donated $3,000 to the club, which was used toward the purchase of a 60mm Coronado Hydrogen-alpha refractor and equatorial mount. The acquisition of the solar telescope permitted the NCSF to double the hours of service to the community.
Rob and his family reside in Mequon, Wisconsin. When not observing the heavens, Rob enjoys archery, curling, photography, videography, sailing, and musical instrument building.
Welcome to the Astronomy Foundation, Rob!
Thus, our officers are:
President: Dave Eicher
Vice President: Karen Jennings
Secretary: Rick Hedrick
Treasurer: Robert Powell
The board members are Eicher, Hedrick, Vic Maris, Mike Reynolds, and Craig Weatherwax.
Our previous treasurer, Robert Dibbell, provided outstanding service to the group and will graciously help us complete a very important task in the near future — the submission of 501c3 paperwork to grant our organization nonprofit status.
Our Director of Publicity is Marsie Hall Newbold.
Our “daily ops superstar,” who handles a great deal of the Foundation’s communication, is Frank Dibbell.
Our committee chairs are:
Astronomy Club Committee: Karen Jennings
Education Committee: Tom Trusock
Light Pollution Committee: Scott Kardel
Observing Committee: Glenn Chaple
Planetarium Committee: John Schroer
Standards Committee: Rick Hedrick and Vic Maris
Star Party Committee: Mike Reynolds
Website: Alex Khachaturyan
Youth Committee: Benjamin PalmerNew activities
The board meeting lasted 110 minutes and covered a wide range of activities and planned events and programs.
The group’s actions over the next few weeks will be reestablishing and updating the treasurer position with Rob Powell, the collection of membership and supporter dues (Rick Hedrick), the membership duties with Karen Jennings (and inventory of materials sent to members), the 501c3 paperwork completion with Robert Dibbell, the website (with Alex training Karen to take over updates), and establishing an online store (Karen).
Aside from these major issues of architecture, the group discussed a wide variety of events and projects, which include but were not limited to the following:
• Public Relations:
Marsie Hall Newbold reported on the very successful star party held on Venus transit day at the Drake Planetarium in Cincinnati, at which Frank Drake was the guest of honor and helped to celebrate not only the transit but the planetarium that is named for him. He also described an astronomy-themed poster idea that will be rolling out soon, and a big public relations event that will tie in to a major TV show coming this September. More details on each of those projects soon.
Vic Maris shared a draft letter he will be sending out to members of the astronomical community to establish a working group on standards — eyepieces, accessories, etc. You’ll hear more about this soon.
John Schroer shared information about the Next Generation Science Standards. Stay tuned for more.
Ben Palmer reported on a variety of topics with great precision and eloquence, including his ideas on a virtual star party (much more on that coming soon). He also suggested a presence for the AF at the Adirondack Balloon Festival (see www.adirondackballoonfestival.com
• Light Pollution:
Scott Kardel reported that issues with the committee stand essentially as they did at the annual meeting we held at NEAF in April.
Tom Trusock described his “train the trainer” proposed set of videos for teachers, and his ideas to produce astronomy lesson plans for teachers. He will pursue these and other ideas as student projects in his upcoming classes, and this will be an important development. He also urged, if possible, attendance and involvement with the National Science Teachers Association meetings, which are normally held in March of each year (see www.nsta.org
Glenn Chaple presented an excellent printed observing form to be distributed and used by AF members and associates, with the idea of collecting and sharing observations. More on this coming soon.
• Star Parties:
Mike Reynolds described his work on establishing star parties for schools, and will report more on this soon. He also covered the International Science and Engineering Fair (see www.societyforscience.org/isef
) and the idea of involvement with other science fairs.
• Astronomy Clubs:
Karen Jennings reported on an awards and certificates program for astronomy clubs.
Lots more to come on all of this soon. I wanted those interested in the Astronomy Foundation to know that we have a new treasurer and that many programs are underway.
Cheers and clear skies,