SciGirls meet Juanita Raymond at the Challenger Learning Center!
This morning was a blast as we shuttled off to the Challenger Learning Center!
Juanita Raymond, Tallahassee Astronomical Society member and voice of the planetarium, greeted us as we arrived and took us into the planetarium. Once there, we viewed the July skies over Tallahassee as Juanita told us her story. She is a self taught astronomer, after always being the caretaker of her younger siblings. She found herself always cooking, sewing, and cleaning. One day, when asked about her hobbies, she went to write down, "sewing," and realized that's all she knew, so she turned to the night skies and made herself a new hobby. She shared with us her education, her travels, and her career, including 6 years in the army and working at the post office. While working at the post office on the night shift, she would star gaze, which led to her joining TAS and eventually, began sharing her love of astronomy to students in schools around Leon County during the day, and when the Challenger Learning Center opened, she began working there. She wrote a novel, entitled, "Orion and the Skateboard Kid," and has been the voice of the planetarium since the Challenger Learning Center opened.
Juanita narrated the morning and night skies over Tallahassee, identifying stars, planets, constellations, and satellites. Then, as a special treat, Juanita spent a lot of time sharing with us information about the total solar eclipse, happening on August 21st, 2017, and what to expect, and how to view it. A few of our girls were unaware of this upcoming event, and are now very excited! Juanita gave each scigirl a pair of solar viewing glasses, which our girls used to view the sun outside of the building. When leaving the planetarium area, scigirls were saying how much they enjoyed Juanita's story, and how viewing the stars was astounding.
After the planetarium show and talk with Juanita, scigirls got a hands on learning lab about scale distances and sizes of the planets in our solar system. Our girls created a make and take of the scale distances of the solar system, and all thought it was relatively cool.
From the Challenger Learning Center, we boarded the bus to cool off at Wakulla Springs! Our girls enjoyed swimming, jumping off the high dive, and exploring with our GoPros! Of course, no trip to Wakulla Springs is complete without a trip to the lodge ice cream shop!
Towards the end of our visit, we got on a boat tour of the Wakulla River. Our girls were stoked and ready with their binders, to check off all the wildlife they were going to see from their scavenger hunts. On the boat tour, we saw alligators, many varieties of birds, including ibises and comarands, and lots of fish.
All in all, it was a wonderful ending to the first week of camp! Next week, we look forward to many more scientific endeavors!