Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Outreach protocol

  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#51 amicus sidera

amicus sidera


  • *****
  • Posts: 4358
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011
  • Loc: East of the Sun, West of the Moon...

Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:15 PM

Thanks for the reply... I could see where that might be a hindrance for many people.

#52 Globularnut


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 87
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2005
  • Loc: Southeastern, WI

Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:17 PM

I always joke with the rangers out there and tell them that my park sticker is usually paid for by May if not sooner because I'm out there so much. Club members need to have a sticker as well.

#53 Matthew Ota

Matthew Ota


  • -----
  • Posts: 2208
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Los Angeles, California

Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:22 PM

I see nothing wrong with putting out a tip cup, but then again I am a poor person and really need the money to cover gasoline expenses. Amateurs who are better heeled have no need to do this but I have done my share in spades of giving free public outreach shows and running telescope at an observatory with no monetary compensation.

I now ask for donations and do not formally charge for telescope views. I leave it up the the viewers to put in money of they so desire.

I have noticed how I get absolutely NO donations when I do outreach in affluent areas, but I do get donation in middle class and poor neighborhoods. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to see this.

#54 Substrate


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 24
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2012

Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:32 PM

Wow this is bizarre! I believe I am the gentleman in question from the OP, as I doubt there is anyone else showing the sun to folks at Garden of the Gods.

This is the second time I've looked in this forum (first time was years ago) and this was the first thread I clicked on. Imagine my dismay to find that I have been the topic of an online discussion started months ago ;)

Reading through the comments I felt somewhat compelled to address the speculation concerning me:

Something not mentioned: perhaps he was a victim of the Waldo canyon fire in the springs and is trying to make extra to help rebuild or just take care of his family. Could be a big assumption on my part but just to throw it out there...

Fortunately my dwelling was not consumed by the fire, although it was right on the evac line. I count my lucky star on that one.

After getting laid-off from a job I had held for nearly seven years, I decided to go back to school and better my prospects. While I should have saved to make this possible when times were good, I didn't. Being in the position I was, I had to think of another way. This is right around the time the sun was throwing its first real temper tantrum of the summer, and I thought it was a shame that so few people get to witness our star putting on the amazing and violent display that it does. I made a sign, got a little basket, a rock that reads "Help solar power my college", a stool for the kids and a parasol and went to the most touristy place I could think of near colorado springs.

I am now currently enrolled in school full-time with no need for a part time job at the moment, due to my outreach efforts this summer. Regardless of how you feel about how I'm going about it, I doubt I'd be doing what I am without it.

Many posters are using the word charging, when accepting is more appropriate.

I put free views on my sign and I mean it. It is a joy to allow people to see their star in a way they might never have seen it otherwise. The telescope they look through is a 60mm dedicated Ha scope that is doublestacked with an additional Ha filter to increase surface contrast, so the view isn't shabby.

If I hear a person saying to their friend that they would like to look but they didn't bring any change, I encourage them to look, saying my primary goal is to share the view with others. I estimate that out of every 10 people that look, 3 may leave something in the basket. A lot of people are profusely thankful, especially parents who beam over their children experiencing something new.

The scope could have been acquired under different circumstances. It could be like if you have a cow, do you sell the cow or the milk?

I bought the scope before losing my job, and have never considered selling it. Though my situation might have gotten to the point where I would have been forced to. Thankfully I discovered it's udders are endlessly full of sun (at least when it's clear). :p

I think it would have been interesting had you taken a moment and asked the fellow about it and how he felt. You probably would have had a clearer understanding.

You should have, I am not shy in explaining to anyone what it is I am doing regarding the outreach. The way I look at it, what better way to fund my education than by educating others?

Heck, I'd probably stick the poor devil with some of my astro-gear overflow and he would never again put out the box.

Is that an offer? My mount is falling apart... I assume you were jesting and so am I.

That is unless you really do want to send me stuff... (I'd pay the shipping) :jump:

Personally, I am a big fan of being fed dinner when I do outreach. After all, we often do this around dinner time, and don't always have time to eat or drink for the 2-4 hours we're on the lawn or in the parking lot.

This summer I had a lady bring me a bottle of local ginger ale from south carolina. Man was it good!

My reward comes when I show someone Saturn for the first time. I had a cousin come out to our observatory with a boy scout troop. He said that was the best night of his life.

This activity does have it's own rewards and often it is quite humbling. Like hearing someone exclaim "That is the coolest thing I've ever seen!", while at the same time being surrounded by the majesty of Garden of the Gods. Maybe someday I can do this without having to ask the public for anything in return. I sure enjoy it enough!

I'm in no way offended by this thread, in fact I am thrilled, and view this discussion as a very healthy thing.


#55 omahaastro


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 534
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Omaha, NE

Posted 20 October 2012 - 01:34 AM

The Omaha Astronomical Society has no public observatory. We go to the people, where ever they are. Sometimes in urban parks, sometimes in rural campgrounds. We do probably 50 outreach events each year, including, in one case, a night for each of all 14 elementary school in a school district (they do an outdoor ed program for each at a 4-H center outside of town). We don't have any signs or donation buckets put out. It's pure enjoyment for us, and that is our reward. Invariably, we do get donations sent our way, especially by the school parents. But for us, what we look forward to the most, are the cards which kids make, often with crayon drawings, sharing what they learned from their evenings with us. :)

#56 Lynnblac


    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 197
  • Joined: 06 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:47 PM

I volunteer in our western national parks night sky programs every summer, in addition to our local club programs. I have noticed Americans are more likely to accept my invitations to view through my scope than foreign visitors.
I attribute this to the nature of our national parks ranger programs, which are free, and Americans have come to expect this. I have been told that Europeans are more likely to
pay for this type of program. In addition national parks are not as common elsewhere as in the U.S.
Since my goal is to show the sky to as many people as possible any deterrent, such as a fee to view or even the question of a fee, defeats my efforts.
For these reasons I feel outreach must not have any economic component. Any doubts in the visitors mind only discourages his participation.

#57 MawkHawk


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 507
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: SE Michigan, USA

Posted 11 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

We have a donation box set up at all of our club events, public and private (to the club). Nobody is compelled nor required to make a donation. Some do. Some don't. The money helps cover the club's costs. I've never heard any complaints.
The original post said that the guy had a sign that indicated that viewing was free. I don't see where he was actually charging to look. So, just as with our club, people can donate or not and nobody has to make a stink about it.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics