Sky Rangers

Overview
Program Element / Activity Title:
Sky Rangers
E/PO Project Name:
Sky Rangers
Program Element / Activity Website:
Sky Rangers Workshop -- Yosemite National Park
Program Element / Activity Status
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Audience Metrics
Who is the primary audience of your program element / activity?:
Who is the secondary audience of your program element / activity?:
Evaluation
National Priorities and Coordination Approaches as Articulated in CoSTEM:
  • Increase and Sustain Youth and Public Engagement in STEM
What are the goals and objectives of your program element / activity?:
As stated in the proposal: The project team has the following goals for the Sky Rangers program:
• Provide training and materials to 240 interpreters from national, state and county parks and nature centers to enable them to make connections to NASA science and discoveries through interpretive programs under the real sky in park settings.
• Conduct three five-day in-person workshops at Bryce Canyon National Park on astronomy education, sky navigation, telescopic observation, and the latest NASA science.
• Conduct five six-week online workshops on astronomy education, sky navigation, and the latest NASA science.
• Conduct three two-week online follow-up workshops on seasonal skies.
• Create an Outdoor Educator Toolkit of activities and materials, based on NSN ToolKits, rich in NASA-related science, and appropriate to interpretive programs in outdoor settings.
• Build capacity of participating institutions by having each program participant train at least two apprentices at their home institutions to carry out astronomy programming on an ongoing basis, beyond the period of the grant.
• Expand the existing community of practice established through Astronomy from the Ground Up to over 500 informal science educators and interpreters in all fifty states and shape it toward a more self-sustaining community that will continue long after the period of the grant. The community is currently made up of 280 educators in 46 states, plus Washington, D.C.
What is the design of the evaluation process for your program element / activity?:
A survey of participants to self report changes in comfort, knowledge and skills in presenting astronomy programming was conducted.
What are the main impacts of your effort to date and how do they correlate to the project's goals and objectives:
The impacts are best indicated by the increase in programming offered by participants:

Participants were asked how often they hosted astronomy events before and after their participation in Sky Rangers. Before participation in Sky Rangers, 29.9% of participants never hosted astronomy events, and only 24.7% reported hosting more than five astronomy events per year. After participation in Sky Rangers, only 2.2% of participants never hosted astronomy events, and 64.2% of participants hosted at least five events per year, with 19.4% hosting fifteen or more events per year. Results are summarized below in Tables 3a. and 3b.

Table 3a. Frequency of astronomy events hosted before participation in Sky Rangers
Response Response
Frequency Percent Count
15 or more times a year 9.0% 12
5 – 14 times a year 15.7% 21
1 – 4 times a year 33.6% 45
Less than once a year 11.9% 16
Never 29.9% 40

Table 3b. Frequency of astronomy events hosted after participation in Sky Rangers
Response Response
Frequency Percent Count
15 or more times a year 19.4% 26
5 – 14 times a year 44.8% 60
1 – 4 times a year 32.1% 43
Less than once a year 1.5% 2
Never 2.2% 3
Have your evaluation findings / impacts been published? If so, where?:
no