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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: MattT]
      #5753682 - 03/24/13 11:04 AM


I think outreach programs are operated backwards. If someone is interested, they'll come to me. Me going to them is futile. You can't pique interest if it ain't there.


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Patrick
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5753728 - 03/24/13 11:26 AM

Kids will be kids, no matter who or where they are. As a presenter, it's our jobs to talk with the teachers, parents and kids to lay down any necessary ground rules. Before we let kids do any observing through our expensive gear, we tell them the rules...no touching the telescopes, no running around the scopes, no white lights etc. If they have a wanted disregard for the rules, there's a good chance they're going to get scolded and the entire school not get on the list for next years star party.

Patrick


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SkipW
sage


Reged: 02/03/11

Loc: Oklahoma, USA
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Kraus]
      #5754068 - 03/24/13 01:54 PM

Quote:


I think outreach programs are operated backwards. If someone is interested, they'll come to me. Me going to them is futile. You can't pique interest if it ain't there.



Wouldn't that be "inreach"?


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Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Kraus]
      #5754352 - 03/24/13 04:02 PM

Quote:


I think outreach programs are operated backwards. If someone is interested, they'll come to me. Me going to them is futile. You can't pique interest if it ain't there.




That would seem exquisitely short sighted. Interest doesn't grow in a vacuum, nor from darkness without exposure. In the last two years alone, by doing outreach events at local schools, we've had nine families with 18 children join our club's family education program. They didn't know they were interested until we went to them.

Because our grandchilren live far away from us, I didn't know what their interest was in astronomy so I re-built a 10" dob and took it to Colorado for their family three years ago. Three of the oldest four are now teaching astronomy to visitors at parks. Thirteen year old Stephen asked to come down here to join me at a local event, and using some of my spare equipment he taught both solar observing in daytime and night sky wonders at the Astronomy Magazine Tucson star party, as well as two school events and Univ. of Ariz. astronomy students' first night events.

And his older sisters, now 18 and 17 and both black belt Tai Kwan Do instructors and one a hot air balloon pilot, have been running my scopes at the Grand Canyon Star Party for two years. They are very adept at explaining stellar life cycles, visible planet facts, double star behavior and color meanings, and the nature of planetary nebulae. I never would have known of their hidden abilities if I hadn't dropped the scope off with them.

Speaking of which, about 110 of us astronomers work with over 1,400 visitors each night on the South Rim for a week each June. WE are coming to THEM, and the response is tremendous. I get a couple of dozen unsolicited emails from visitors in the weeks after each year's events talking about the life altering awakening. I've even heard from families helping start school science clubs after returning from their vacations. The best galaxy observer I know had no real interest or awareness of astronomy fifty years ago in Chicago and was kind of aimless going through school, but a local amateur invited science students to a local park to do some observing. It changed Paul's life. Not only did the experience open his mind, he actually fealt a musical inspiriation. He now is a concert pianist and piano teacher as well as having built his own sixteen inch reflector and machined a Beyers style equatorial mount. Several years ago, when we were planning future dates for GCSP and pondering the effect of the moon on the early evenings with visitors versus late evening for the astronomers, he pushed us to favor the limited lunar impingement for the visitors. His closing statement was, "You never know what one life you'll touch." And at least ten percent of the visitors to my scopes say something along the lines of they didn't even know this sort of activity existed.

It's certainly not a character flaw to not want to do outreach. We astronomers tend to flock to the solitary exploration of the sky. Perfectly OK to say no to outreach. But if one enjoys the interaction and seeing the awakening, and, like me, you've seen all the faint fuzzies you care to, it sure is interesting to see some of them all over again through new eyes. As Paul said, you never know what one life you might touch. But part one is going to them; they don't know what they don't know.


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5764147 - 03/29/13 10:32 AM

Well my quick 2 cents of chiming in...

* I have done outreach with the whole range of ages at schools including brothers, sisters, parents, grand parents, etc. Nothing but highly positive and fun. Many adults even shake my hand thanking me for the opportunity. I thank them for letting me share with them!

* For the big events (Annular Eclipse, Transit of Venus) out in public places the crowds were very well behaved and LOTS of questions. People were mesmerized. New friends to be made. Telescopes, laptops, eyepieces survived, lol!

* I still go to concerts - Moody Blues was an amazing concert. And most of the old timers (98% were 45 and up) were well behaved ;-) Even have seen Cold Play, Pit Bull, Neil Young, etc. Fine concerts. No problems at all.

* BTW - biggest non astro question at the outreach events. You must be rich! How much does that rig cost??!?

* Second biggest question - "Are you a professional astronomer? NO? You just do this for fun??!?"

Maybe it is the region? Community? Cloudy day/night for all the negative vibes for some others? For my family and I we have a blast sharing and interacting with the community.


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davidpitre
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/05

Loc: Central Texas
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5784316 - 04/07/13 05:05 PM

Certainly no one has any obligation to do outreach, and I suppose it takes certain personality types to pull it off. I generally observe by myself, but outreach is something very different (isn't this the outreach forum?).
After many many events with much expensive equipment, I can say I have never had any real problems of significance. I have done events with ghetto kids to privileged private schools, and found kids are generally respectful and almost always self-controlled at the scope when given proper directives. Get teachers to help, and give everyone clear instructions about what to do and what not to do.


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Ebyl
super member


Reged: 07/04/12

Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Kraus]
      #5784447 - 04/07/13 06:10 PM

Quote:


I think outreach programs are operated backwards. If someone is interested, they'll come to me. Me going to them is futile. You can't pique interest if it ain't there.




Many people don't realize they have an interest in something until presented with an opportunity to explore that subject. I've personally seen this played out over and over regarding astronomy.

People may also know they have a potential interest, but just never take the time to give themselves the opportunity to explore it. Sometimes that means the interest will never turn into much even if given a chance, but not always. Sometimes if presented with an opportunity, the interest will develop into a part of their lives.

That's what outreach is for - giving people a chance to discover or further develop an interest in astronomy when the they're not taking that initial step for whatever reason. It's an extremely important aspect of the hobby, but not one an amateur astronomer must participate in. It's right for some people and wrong for others.


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PaulEK
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Ebyl]
      #5800322 - 04/15/13 11:34 AM

I work with kids every day, and have for thirty years. I find that, as long as I am firm and clear, they will meet bare requirements for behavior, especially if I have control over something they are interested in. And I've met very few kids who were not interested in the chance to look through a telescope, or going into my portable planetarium. I always make sure that everyone -- including the adults -- understands that there will be consequences for not following the rules. I've only had significant problems a few times, and in thinking about it, it's always been with the adults supposedly in charge of the group. It's tough to get kids to follow your directions when the adults they look to are not backing you up.

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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: PaulEK]
      #5800524 - 04/15/13 01:21 PM

Agree with "adults are the problem";children push to the limits,and if adults don't do their job as parents and insist on apropiate behavior there will be trouble.And not just at astronomy outreach.

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Matthew Ota
Hmmm


Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Los Angeles, California
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: BigC]
      #5857217 - 05/13/13 11:06 AM

The second most common question after asking how much does the scope cost is... how much does it weigh? I tell them it weighs about four grunts...which is what it takes to load and unload it from my truck.

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omahaastro
sage


Reged: 08/30/06

Loc: Omaha, NE
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Matthew Ota]
      #5872515 - 05/19/13 09:21 PM

Grumpy old men and kids don't mix.

I've done several hundred outreach events, in all imaginable venues, downtown, 4H camps, driveway, vineyards, symphony concerts, museums, city parks, state parks, ... suburban kids, inner city kids, home schooled, scouts, minorities, 'troubled', they're all great.


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
*****

Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: omahaastro]
      #5873485 - 05/20/13 11:02 AM

I love doing outreach... BUT I hate doing it for scouts. I just won't. The public is 99% of the time great and many manage the kids really well. Whenever the local community college asks for help I am there, but when our clubs asks for help with scouts I don't do it. Not to generalize but some of these kids are wild and parents don't watch them. Again not every kid but the average seems less behaved compared to families.

Just this Friday I set up my scope and a family with 2 young kids came by they stayed almost an hour and were great. I never did a grammar school and I would be leery about doing it also.


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