The 2017 University of Tennessee ATP class will work with the staff of Pickett Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Memorial State Park in Fentress County, TN to improve and promote dark sky facilities and programming. Pickett State Park is currently Tennessee’s most active dark sky destination. The park has been conducting dark sky activities for the past four years and was recently awarded silver level certification by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). The park currently hosts a half-dozen observing events each year.
While park staff will be the main partner during this effort, UT students will also reach out to additional stakeholders. These may include regional amateur and professional astronomers, local elected officials, park neighbors and the Upper Cumberland Development District.
ATP students will focus on community outreach. Activities will include studying similar educational programs in peer communities and exploring educational resources available at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Educator Resource Center in Huntsville, AL. Students will reach out to local astronomy clubs and businesses to determine interest levels and assets. Finally, using their project findings, students will create an outreach and engagement plan for the state park. The plan will include engagement strategies, funding sources, recommendations, and potential business opportunities.
Tim Ezzell, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science
University of Tennessee
UT Conference Center, Suite 311
Knoxville, TN 37996-4134
Telephone: (865) 974-9036
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