The award-winning Dark Skies Bright Kids (DSBK) program is one of several science outreach efforts in the College.
Run by volunteers, DSBK brings astronomy to Virginia’s elementary schools—with a focus on those in rural areas, where night skies are naturally dark—through an after-school astronomy club that is held at a different elementary school each semester.
“We use fun, hands-on activities to teach astronomy and general science concepts,” said Kelsey Johnson, the program’s organizer and an associate professor of astronomy in the College. “Our most important goals are to show students that science can be fun and to encourage them to be curious and inquisitive about the world around them.”
DSBK will now be linked with other science outreach programs across the University under the College’s new director of science education and public outreach, Michelle Prysby. With a background in ecology and environmental conservation, Prysby will coordinate and enhance the array of outreach activities already under way, including the popular McCormick Observatory programs and the extensive education program at the Blandy Experimental Farm.