Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest post: Astronomy Interest Group takes trip to west Texas

Members of the GSSJC Astronomy Interest Group enjoy
the view at McDonald Observatory.
GSSJC's Astronomy Interest Group recently took a trip to west Texas to visit McDonald Observatory located in Fort Davis, Texas with the goal of learning more about stars, constellations, asteroids and new planet discovery. Girl Scouts Katie D. and Joyanna M. share their unexpected adventures from their trip.

After a quick breakfast of taquitos, we arrived in Alpine, Texas around 10:30 a.m. We paused briefly at the Alpine Visitor's Center where we discovered, much to our dismay, that the Museum of Big Bend was closed.

Still all was not lost! Following a suggestion from a visitor center employee, we drove to the Sul Ross University Turner Agricultural Center where a very helpful, quail-obsessed graduate student named Jack and his undergraduate assistant Katie volunteered, without any prior planning, to talk to us about the cycle of life, death in nature and quails. They also gave us some advice about college - and quail. Did I mention he liked quail?

Afterwards, Jack suggested that we go to the Sul Ross cafeteria for lunch at their buffet and stop at the bookstore for some memorabilia and in-depth astronomy guides. Following this, Brandi, an employee at the Lobo Den, was kind enough to give us a spur of the moment tour of the Warnock Science Building, which contributes data to the McDonald Observatory, and one of the dorms. All of the girls were quite impressed, especially by the palatial dorm rooms and the vast wealth of tradition, such as setting the giant SR on the hill behind the school on fire at homecoming.

On the way back to camp we made a detour to Camp Mitre, a Girl Scout camp situated next to a dormant volcano. After finding a camp ranger, a group of former camp counselors allowed us to tour the camp site with them.

The motto of the day was very much spontaneity, perhaps with a touch of flexibility. When one plan fails, another (maybe better!) plan may arrive if you just allow it to come.

Ambassador Katie D. and Senior Joyanna M. co-wrote this guest post. Katie is president of the GSSJC Astronomy Interest Group and Joyanna serves as the group's secretary and historian. For more information on the Astronomy Interest Group, contact Emily Kremer at ekremer@sjgs.org or 713-292-0300.

For more information on becoming a guest blogger, email communications@sjgs.org. Girl Scouts must be 13 or older to contribute.