by John McDonald
March proved to be a mixed bag for weather but a great month for some welcome
news. The British Columbia Gaming Commission has responded to our request to
fund two programs with a grant of $40,000. This will allow us to fully fund our
outreach activities for the rest of the International Year of Astronomy and to
finish making the Victoria Centre Observatory accessible on line. I can't be
sure just which aspects of the grant application made the greatest difference
but some key factors that likely put us over the top were the following:
A large contribution in
volunteer time. BCGC counts volunteer time at a modest value of $15/hr but
even at that rate the total was impressive.
The sustained effort in
running an excellent and successful school program for many years.
donations to the VCO.
Support from local businesses
through "in kind" contributions to the VCO.
Space and financial support
from the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.
A very well constructed grant
My thanks to Sid Sidhu and everyone in the Centre whose contributions led to
this successful result.
Council will be considering plans for the use of the funds at its next meeting
on April 1. As usual, the meeting will be open to any member who wishes to
IYA activities are continuing and it seems that new opportunities pop up every
week. Sid has recently signed an agreement with Butchart Gardens that will see
us putting on night sky viewing there each Thursday in the summer. Check out the
A special event in March was the first ever Victoria Centre
Messier Marathon. As I write
this the forecast for March 28 is iffy but on Wednesday, March 25 a practice
session on the hill proved to be very successful. Thanks to Nelson Walker and
Bruno Quenneville for organizing the event and Joe Carr for providing a warm RV
for use of the participants.