Cornerstones of Science was pleased to collaborate with a supporter of the Susan L. Curtis Foundation to bring a telescope program to Camp Susan Curtis this summer. The “Look Up” program, which was integrated into the Camp’s science and nature classes this summer, utilized six modified Orion StarBlast 4.5 inch telescopes. Camp Susan Curtis is a tuition-free, outdoor, residential learning experience exclusively for Maine boys and girls, ages 8 to 17 whose mission is to ensure that economically disadvantaged Maine youth develop the individual character, self-confidence, and skills essential to becoming independent, contributing citizens.

The summer camp telescope program was scheduled to begin at the opening of camp season in June but was delayed because of COVID-19. However, Camp Susan Curtis Director Terri L Mulks said campers and staff got busy using the telescopes during session two, which began in mid-July.

“The program has been a hit and it’s been fun to see campers making use of these incredible tools for viewing the night sky,” said Mulks, adding that one staff member has astronomy background. In late July, Mulks reported that the camp community enjoyed three consecutive nights of awesome viewing.

“The kids are really enjoying the program and have lots to say about it,” said Mulks. “One camper named Jeff confessed: ‘”I thought this was gonna be a real drag but it’s actually pretty cool. I would spend 4 more hours out here if I could!’”

The telescope project is designed to allow campers and staff the use of the telescopes in the summer months. Then the telescopes will be placed in two Maine schools after the summer ends.

“We are excited to provide a way for young people to be inspired by the wonders of the night sky,” said Sarah Post, Program and Library Support Manager at Cornerstones of Science

The modified Orion StarBlast 4.5 inch Telescope comes complete with a simple instruction book and guides to additional resources (such as books, websites, and most importantly, local astronomers and clubs). Each telescope is modified and upgraded to help assure a positive user experience.

What campers said about the telescope program:

  • “Wait, that star is actually a planet!?” – Chad
  • “This will be my best memory of camp.” – Linwood
  • “I got to see the moon up close for the first time.” – Ayden
  • “I’ve always been so interested in space. There is so much out there to see!” – Delaney