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Half the Park is After Dark

What would life and learning be like without the stars? They engage, inspire, and help us to understand this world and the worlds around us. For the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), they help advance science and science literacy, and I’m writing to ask for your support in helping us deliver on our mission.

Every day, the ASP works with countless people across the country to bring our mission to life. Consider, for example, the story of Anne Wilson, park ranger at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument near Harrison, Nebraska. Prior to 2010 and Anne’s participation in the ASP’s Astronomy from the Ground Up (AFGU) program, the park had no astronomy program. But now, using the training and materials she received and continues to augment via ASP’s AFGU “Sky Rangers” companion program, Anne incorporates astronomy into her outdoor interpretation. The Monument boasts a telescope, regular star parties, and interactive sky programs to the delight of its visitors, including families and school children. Anne even finds time to conduct popular astronomy programs at neighboring parks.

“The training and materials from AFGU have been terrific and we have really broadened our interpretive possibilities here in western Nebraska,” says Anne. People who visit these parks today see the sky as a valuable natural resource to be explored and understood.

Whether training park rangers to share the wonder of the sky with families and children, providing professional development to K-12 educators to improve science literacy in the classroom, or facilitating amateur club activities to instill a grassroots interest in astronomy in their public outreach, the ASP is at the forefront of fostering the excitement of scientific discovery. Through our workshops, programs, professional publications, and special initiatives, we use the precious natural resource of the stars to inspire and educate girls and boys, young women and men – our science, technology and academic leaders of tomorrow. Your gift is an investment in this exciting future.

When you look at the stars tonight, we hope that you see them, as we do: as a precious natural resource that can introduce science to people of all ages. With your support, we can make this difference in the world—for people like Anne Wilson, for all of those they inspire and educate, and for a world in which science literacy is celebrated every day!