We are recruiting Girl Scout trainers for our next Astronomy Camp for Girl Scout leaders on April 8-10, 2011. Held in Tucson at the Hacienda Center of the Sahuaro Council, this weekend workshop is a science education program sponsored by the James Webb Space Telescope which is NASA’s next large space telescope. We seek to develop a long-term relationship with all GSUSA Councils that will directly benefit your troops not only in general STEM-education but also in the astronomical and technology concepts relating to our infrared camera (NIRCam) for JWST.
Since 2003, we have trained and equipped 170 adult leaders from many GSUSA Councils so they can teach young women essential concepts in astronomy, the night sky environment, applied math, engineering, and critical thinking. We model what astronomers do by engaging people in the process of scientific inquiry, and we equip leaders to host astronomy-related activities at the troop level. The Camp staff consists of astronomers at different levels (undergrad, grad student, postdoc, faculty) as well as local GSUSA leaders from our partners at Tucson’s Sahuaro Council (http://www.sahuarogsc.org/index.html). This unique opportunity is an offshoot of the more general Astronomy Camp program operating since 1988 (http://www.astronomycamp.org).
Training includes topics in basic astronomy (night sky, phases of the Moon, the scale of the Solar System and beyond, stars, galaxies, telescopes, etc.) as well as in “cosmology”, i.e., the study of the origin of the Universe itself to pave the way for girls and women to understand the first images from JWST. This telescope will record images of the first stars and galaxies that formed in our Universe. We expect to develop a long-term relationship that would lead to your troops’ receiving some of the first images from JWST, perhaps even before they are generally available. We expect that you will become a leader in your Council and will help train other leaders and students in the use of the
materials and information we provide.
The Camp will be held at the Sahuaro Council’s Hacienda Center on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. All major expenses (transportation, lodging) will be paid by our JWST/NIRCam team. If you are interested in participating in the next Camp (April 8-10), please email Dr. McCarthy (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible for follow-up information. We are especially interested in recruiting leaders from Councils not already on our list of graduates: http://zeus.as.arizona.edu/~dmccarthy/GSUSA/Participants.pdf.
The Camp Director, Dr. Don McCarthy, is an astronomer at The University of Arizona and conducts both research and education at many levels. He is involved with a University team, building one of the infrared cameras (NIRCam) for JWST to be launched in 2015. The telescope’s primary mission is to image the first objects that became luminous in the Universe as it cooled. It will also explore our human “Origins” through studies of the formation of stars, planets, and solar systems. To explain such images to the public presents a major educational challenge, and we believe that the Girl
Scout network can help us accomplish that goal.