Connecting Camps to NASA Communities

September 17, 2018
Christine Shupla, Amelia Chapman, Kay Ferrari, Heather Doyle, and Vivian White

Looking for someone to bring telescopes to an evening camp program, or to give your campers a presentation about the InSight mission landing on Mars this fall? NASA has communities of volunteers across the United States that can help.

The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA's missions to the general public. They share their time and telescopes for free to provide audiences with unique astronomy experiences under the real night sky. Go to bit.ly/findnsn to find a club in your area.

The NASA Solar System Ambassadors are motivated volunteers across the nation who share the latest science and discoveries of NASA's space exploration missions for free through a variety of events. Consider inviting a Solar System Ambassador in your area to conduct space science activities, give presentations, or just answer campers’ questions. Solar System Ambassador Kevin Koski frequently spends time at camps, setting up telescopes to safely view the Sun and planets. He says that the best part for him is hearing a child say, "I will never look at the sky again the same." 

Love NASA and want to share your knowledge with others? Consider applying to become a Solar System Ambassador yourself! Applications are due every year in September.

Do you want to know more about NASA’s missions, resources, science, and products? The NASA Museum Alliance brings current NASA science and technology for free to the world of informal education. The Alliance is meant to be the starting point for all informal educators who are seeking free NASA educational resources and services. NASA has a great library of curriculum and activities, multimedia, planetarium shows, professional learning, and networking platforms. The Alliance is designed to save time for you and your staff by helping you navigate, find, or even create exactly what you need to teach your audiences about STEAM topics. The Alliance also offers direct, regular access to NASA experts, to answer all of your STEAM education questions and to keep your staff updated on the latest at NASA. Camp programmers and camp facilitators, as well as camp organizations, are welcome to apply to become members of the Museum Alliance.

Christine Shupla leads the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s professional and materials development for a variety of audiences, and serves as NASA’s liaison to the American Camp Association. 

Amelia Chapman has more than 20 years of experience as an informal educator, working in a range of science, history, art and cultural museums. Now at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she helps run the Museum Alliance community of practice, providing professional development and NASA resources to informal educators.

Kay Ferrari and Heather Doyle are leads for the Solar System Ambassadors program.

Vivian White is the director of Free-Choice Learning at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific where she designs educational programs for amateur and professional astronomers, museum educators, and informal learners from Girl Scouts to Tibetan monks. 

Images of the Night Sky Network and the Solar System Ambassadors logos courtesy of NASA; image of Kevin Koski and telescope courtesy of Kevin Koski

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