Special to The Ely Times

Submitted photo
Janzen Quinn giving a classroom presentation to the first graders of David E. Norman Elementary School.


This week, 10 elementary school classrooms in White Pine County received presentations from the Great Basin National Park Foundation, the nonprofit partner of Great Basin National Park. 

In 2015, the foundation built the Great Basin Observatory, the first research-grade astronomical observatory ever built in a U.S. National Park. 

The GBO cannot be visited, it is entirely remotely operated. The GBO benefits students, scholars, teachers, park visitors and the public, and enables exploration into the fundamental questions of our universe. 

The location of the GBO supports the idea that dark night skies above the Great Basin are a resource worthy of admiration, interpretation and preservation.

First graders at David E. Norman Elementary, preschool through 4th graders at McGill Elementary, and 3rd-6th grade students at the Baker Grade School will learn about Great Basin National Park, light pollution, and the fact that they are blessed to live in one of the darkest areas in the contiguous U.S. 

Foundation intern Janzen Quinn, a recent graduate of Southern Utah University, sparked student’s imagination through hands-on activities focused on science and engineering. 

Classroom visits to White Pine County schools and Millard County, Utah, schools is supported through a generous grant from the Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership.

The foundation has curated dozens of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) lesson plans for educators on the GBO website www.greatbasinobservatory.org and has plans to support K-12 educators through teaching materials and trainings. 

GBO scientists, Great Basin National Park and the foundation are engaging local educators and youth through a program called, Reach for the Stars, visit the foundation’s website to learn more: www.greatbasinfoundation.org.