NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CONTACT: Susan Cook Email: [email protected] Phone: +1-402-223-3514
Beatrice, Nebraska (14 June 2017) -- Bill Nye – The Science Guy® and CEO of The Planetary Society – will join park rangers and celebrated science educators as part of a three-day festival focused on the Total Eclipse of the Sun at Homestead National Monument of America in August. On the day of the eclipse, Aug. 21, Nye will be on stage to welcome park visitors and to highlight a new Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer booklet.
“We’re planning many special programs during the three days but we are thrilled that Bill Nye is joining us in a partnership to roll out a Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer booklet and Totality Junior Ranger Badge,” said Mark Engler, superintendent of Homestead National Monument. “Lots of lucky kids are going to complete the educational activity booklet, which features kids and Bill, and be sworn in as new junior rangers right after the eclipse.”
Nye said, “The Planetary Society is over the Moon to partner with the National Park Service for this great North American eclipse. Through a remarkable cosmic coincidence, our Moon is of just the right size and at just the right orbital distance from us to completely block out the Sun every couple years— a total solar eclipse. This year, this phenomenon will sweep right across the world’s third most populous country. It will be spectacular. We encourage everyone to experience this rare, extraordinary event. It’s going to be cool – I’ve been looking forward to it for years. Experiencing an eclipse changes the way you feel about the cosmos and our place in space.”
Homestead National Monument is near the centerline of the Total Solar Eclipse and will experience totality for 2 minutes 34 seconds. The festival, August 19-21, will also feature eclipse-related science engagement and human interactivity with the sky, stars and planets programs and activities like “From Homesteading Frontiers to Space Frontiers.” Homestead’s program lineup will include multiple NASA scientific presentations and the PBS KIDS’ show “Ready Jet Go!” will delight families with science, astronomy and music. Through Native American Starlore, park visitors will experience the dance of the Many Moccasins Native American Dance Troupe. The program also features the music of talented local musicians like Chris Sayer and the Spitfire Fiddle Band.
Engler said The Planetary Society is the world’s largest non-profit space interest group, and in partnership with the National Park Service, will offer total solar eclipse viewers a safe and life-changing experience. “We share a mission to deliver enjoyment, education and inspiration to people of all backgrounds with a goal to provide an array of eclipse experiences designed to empower and delight visitors and other eclipse viewers across the country,” he said.
The collaboration builds on the National Park Service’s existing night sky interpretive programs by bringing The Planetary Society’s astronomy education resources into the fold. “The National Park Service is a wonderful source for science learning, because kids get outside and do some real field work,” Nye said. “At parks and monuments, you can learn some geology, anthropology, and astronomy and gaze at the night sky. The Junior Ranger program offers great resources for the eclipse. We hope millions of kids and families get out to enjoy the experience. Don’t forget your viewing glasses; they let you look safely right at the Sun."
Homestead and all programs are free and the park will be open for extended hours during the festival. August 19-20 the Homestead Heritage and Education Centers will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. August 21 hours will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more about parking and transportation plans, the schedule of events, and additional information for Homestead National Monument of America this weekend, please visit the monument’s website: www.nps.gov/home.
About Homestead National Monument of America In America’s Heartland, Homestead National Monument of America, tells our country’s epic Homesteading Story. The Homestead Act of 1862 is often cited as one of our Nation’s most significant pieces of legislation. Today there are an estimated 93 million descendants of those Americans who filed for free land through the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln and came to an end 123 years later during President Ronald Reagan’s Administration.
About The Planetary Society The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO. Learn more: www.planetary.org.