[ASA] Call for volunteer school student mentors - Siding Spring Observatory Dark Sky Education Competition

Richard McDermid richard.mcdermid at mq.edu.au
Tue Mar 26 14:54:37 AEDT 2019

Dear ASA Colleagues,

I would like to bring to your attention a new initiative from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the NSW Department of Education, who have created an exciting education program around the important topic of light pollution and preserving the pristine dark skies around Siding Spring Observatory, which many of us use for our research.

The unit is aimed at Stage 3 (years 5-6) students, and involves them working in teams to tackle the question of how they can protect the night sky around Siding Spring Observatory by helping their community take specific steps to reduce light pollution. Students will gather information about different types of light pollution in their area, and develop an idea/concept/product that will help maintain or reduce the levels of light pollution in their community. A competition will be held to select the best projects. More information is available here<https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Environment-and-Heritage/Dark-Sky-Planning/Dark-Sky-education>.

The program has had an excellent response, with 49 schools (up to 120 classes!) signing up from all over NSW to participate in the next school term. The organisers are now looking for volunteer 'expert mentors' to connect with these classes and provide feedback and advice to the students on their solutions. This is where you come in….! You don’t need to be an expert on the topic of light pollution - just an enthusiastic scientist who can provide helpful input and guidance to a bunch of equally enthusiastic school students.

Mentors will be required to connect via videoconference to their class/es 2 times in total (about 90 minutes each session), at a time agreed upon with the class teacher. Approximate timing would be during the weeks of 20th-24th May, and 3rd-7th of June. The program organisers will provide mentors with guidelines and support in advance of connecting with class/es.

If you are interested in participating, then please contact Kelly Pfeiffer at the following address: kelly.pfeiffer3 at det.nsw.edu.au<mailto:kelly.pfeiffer3 at det.nsw.edu.au> .

Best wishes,
Dr Richard McDermid
ARC Future Fellow / Senior Lecturer
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
Macquarie University NSW 2109, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9850 4476

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