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Log, Sep 14, 2001

7 people (staff). The weather precluded opening the dome, but as previously planned on the first rainy Friday evening, the staff held an informational and organizational meeting at the Nature Center. We discussed the following subjects.

The Rhythym & Roots lights have been turned off after we made calls to the Town Office Building.

The Sky Theater is substantially at the point we have been for several weeks. We expect that the architect will be doing the "as built" survey of the Nature Center within the week. Basic plans should be available shortly after that if all goes as planned.

The main gates at Ninigret Park will probably close to incoming cars by the middle of the night - perhaps 12 midnight. FDO staff will escort visitors staying after this time out the gates. The concern is that the park has had illegal hunting and vandalism in the past.

We have been almost too successful this summer, attracking as many as 200+ people per weekend. Now we certainly don't want to limit the facility to fewer people, but we would like to make a visit to FDO more enjoyable. We will hand out "places in line" tokens, so that no one needs to stand in a line. These tokens will be groups of ten or a dozen "stars", "moons", "comets", "planets" and "scopes". When a group is called, they will all get to see three objects before the next group is called. This will prevent waits of more than an hour before we move the telescope from one popular item to another.

While awaiting a turn, people will be free to attend star identification sessions, look through private telescopes, watch for comets and satellites and chat with staff.

Les asked the staffers to be thinking of inventive programs and activities for the Sky Theater. Currently our thinking is that we will have Friday Night "waiting for dark" sessions where we let people know some of what we plan to do during the evening. We will run astronomy videos during cold winter nights and while clouds interrupt. We will use the Sky Theater for special events like the occulatation of a planet by the Moon so that many people can see the event. More formal sessions will be available to school groups, scouts, clubs and announced open presentations. The Sky Theater will be used for staff training as well.

Special activity nights will continue. As we have done in the past, we will occasionally open for the training and personal development of the folks who contribute a great deal of time and effort. Some of these will be spur of the moment sessions (usually called Virtual Friday Nights) and others will be planned in advance. We have discussed opening certain "dark of the moon" night to visiting astronomers but these need to be coordinated both with the town and we need to have adequate staff on hand.

John Cummings whose has been the Ninigret Park resident police presence has turned these duties over to Phil Gingerella.

I hope to see everyone next Friday on a clear peaceful evening at FDO.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Sep 14, 2001
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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