(Credit: Heather Miles)
NASA has trained more than one third of all Girl Scout Councils in earth and solar science. And when it comes to looking up, many of the troops are partnering with their local amateur astronomy clubs to bring the wonders of the night sky to the girls. And these girls are getting a lot more than star parties. They get to build their own constellations, learn about black holes, and explore our solar system. Clubs from around the country tell us about their experiences working with Girl Scout troops.
Katrina DeWitt of the Neville Public Museum Astronomical Society in Wisconsin tells us about her experience with the Girl Scout Sky Search Badge: "We started the day in the planetarium identifying several constellations and talking about what planets were visible to the naked eye. Then we moved out into the Union, broke the girls up into groups and led them to five different hands on astronomy stations. I was pleased to find that the Girl Scouts, when faced with a difficult task stuck to it and worked through the problem until it was solved. The scouts had a lot more patience than the parents!"
The Lipan Astronomy and Space Society (LASS) of Texas found that the Girl Scouts weren't the only ones impressed by the night sky. James M. Addison tells us about a star party they had with the families: "The girls had been studying about astronomy and the solar system in school so they were well prepared and excited. Some of the moms & dads were even more impressed with Saturn and the Moon views in the telescope than the girls."
In April, Montana's Springfield Astronomical Society told us about their adventures working with the Girl Scout troop leaders. Dale Flippo built on the Girl Scout commitment to contributing to the improvement of society and talked about the problem of light pollution: "I used the images of the size of the various planets to scale, then the size of various stars when compared to the Sun. I then talked about using mini-marshmallows and toothpicks with star maps to make the different constellations. I also covered how light pollution affects everyone, and that we should take a more pro-active approach towards containing it."
If a troop near you is interested in astronomy, they may want to contact a club to see about upcoming star parties being planned for their area. Click here to find a local club.