by Heaven Hunter
Even a touch of rain could not put out the fun at Saturday’s Dark Skies event at Calhoun County Park.
Calhoun County Schools hosted the com-munity and family fun event from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Children and adults joined in celebration of the night sky, learning about telescopes and con-stellations, and observing stars.
Star gazing took place outside in the hills, as well as inside the Starlab portable planetarium system.
Starlab was presented by CM/HS sixth grade math teacher Sarah Lane and amateur astronomer Ed Kuzemchak of Kiski and Oil City Astronomy Club.
Lane said, “The Starlab has a unique position in helping teachers inspire the minds of their students through inactive learning and discovery.”
“The reason why public evenings are so important to this hobby, as well as the local com-munities, is because it lets people come out and see the sky in a way that they haven’t been able to before,” said Kuzemchak. “You don’t have to be real knowledgeable about what you are looking at to really enjoy what you are looking at.
“Calhoun County Park is a dark sky park. The people here have such a great resource. Just think if you could get another 10,000-15,000 people through this town, imagine what that would do for local grocery stores and gas stations, and all of those secondary things that tourism can bring.”
Students took away many important aspects from the evening.
Sixth grade students at CM/HS, Mia Fitch and Lindsey Johnston, recalled their favorite parts of the event.
Fitch said, “Looking through the telescopes gives me a chance to view and understand parts of the sky, like the Moon and Venus. Those are things that I would never get to see otherwise.”
Johnston said, “Seeing the craters in the moon makes more sense of what is around us in the night sky.”
Pleasant Hill School second grader Addie Fitch said, “The Starlab is the most important part, because you can see other parts of the sky that are not out right now.”
The school system expressed thanks to the astronomers from NASA, Glenville State College, various clubs, and com-munity volunteers, who came together to share their knowledge and ex-pertise.
The event was made possible by Remake Learning Days, Save the Children, and a 21st Century Community Learning Grant.