magazine editors selected Celestial North, Inc.
, an astronomy club in Freeland, Washington, to win the inaugural "Out-of-this-world" Award for public programming. This annual award honors ongoing outreach programming — not one specific event — as conducted by any educational or civic organization.
The $2,500 prize rewards Celestial North, Inc.'s sustained efforts to involve the Puget Sound community in the science and hobby of astronomy. Astronomy
magazine editors chose Celestial North, Inc. from 32 clubs throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, that submitted entries.
Celestial North, Inc.'s award-winning outreach includes:A biweekly astronomy news radio show, "It's over your head" on local public broadcasting station KSER 90.7 FM. In addition to club members producing the show, Celestial North, Inc. invites kids to participate on the air and in the production process.A partnership with the University of Washington's Project AstroBio programSupport of the state of Washington's Assessment of Student Learning through space-science presentations at different grade levels.Multimedia presentations at local public schools, the Table Mountain Star Party, and Seattle's Pacific Science Center.
Celestial North, Inc. committed to putting the $2,500 toward enhancing and promoting their radio show and public presentations. The club believes the radio program, along with its extensive archive, can function as a dynamic classroom tool to help bring astronomy to students.
Runners-up for the 2006 award are Escambia Amateur Astronomers' Association in Pensacola, Florida, and the West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers of Golden Pond, Kentucky.Escambia Amateur Astronomers' Association (EAAA)
brings astronomy to its community in a variety of ways. The club shares its interest in astronomy through events with scout troops, local schools, and a nearby Air Force base. In addition to these presentations, the EAAA also maintains an e-mail network to notify club members and local media of breaking space news.
The West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers
conduct sidewalk programs with local schools, libraries, scout troops, and parks. These events include weekly summer sessions at the Kentucky Sheriffs' Boys and Girls Ranch — a camp for underprivileged children.
"Congratulations, and thank you to all the clubs that entered," Astronomy
Editor Dave Eicher said. "Your tireless efforts and unwavering commitment sustain our beloved hobby. Indeed, today's public programs inspire tomorrow's scientists, astronomers, and astronauts."
To learn more about all the entrants in this year's Out-of-this-world Award please visit their web sites, listed below.