“Look, up in the sky!” will be the word when junior rangers attend “Astronomy Camp” in the Rincon Mountain District (east) of Saguaro National Park East on Saturday, March 24. The new event, running from 3 to 9 PM that day will travel from earth orbit to the farthest reaches of space through indoor and outdoor activities and a hands-on telescope session when darkness falls.
The camp will offer a variety of activities focusing on our place in the universe and under the night skies of Tucson. Youngsters will enjoy games and crafts about our solar system, alien worlds, science careers, black holes, and legends of the stars. Highlight of the day will be the chance to gaze through a number of telescopes (including a solar scope during the afternoon) provided by volunteers from the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA.)
Park volunteer Nick Applegate, who coordinates monthly “Star Parties” at the park, points out that astronomy is a “hot topic” in STEM education and especially in the Tucson area with its many observatories on the surrounding mountains and planetary explorations spearheaded by the University of Arizona. Members of TAAA complement and assist the work of the scientific community in southern Arizona, and will serve as mentors at the Camp.
Space in the “Astronomy Camp” is limited and advance registration is required. To register your youngster, simply call the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center at (520) 733-5153. A fee of $15 per child will be due on the day of camp. Participants should bring water bottles, lunch, and clothing suitable to the weather for both afternoon and evening outdoors. No previous experience as a ‘junior ranger’ is required, all are welcome!