West Virginia Wesleyan College Planetarium will now be offering new and exciting shows this upcoming year thanks to a gift of $40,000 from the Naylor Family Trust of the Community Trust Foundation. The gift will help replace and update equipment in the College’s Planetarium.
The gift from the Naylor Family Trust will allow for the purchase of a Digitarium Zeta Fixed Digital Planetarium System, which is designed for smaller planetariums such as the one located at Wesleyan. In addition to the physical equipment, purchasing this system includes lesson plans to use with students in elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as five full-dome educational movies. The project’s long-term goal is to expand and enhance educational opportunities to area K-6 teachers and their students by providing a series of one-hour Inquiry-Based Learning Modules which include an educational video, a planetarium demonstration, and hands-on exercises.
“The new projector has a giant fish-eye lens,” stated Tracey DeLaney, assistant professor of physics and engineering and coordinator of the Planetarium. “The sky is a digital computer image projected onto the dome. The added benefit of this new system is that we can now play full-dome movies. We can also zoom into planets and deep sky objects, and we can simulate sky motions far more accurately than our old system.”
Each month, the Wesleyan Planetarium offers multiple shows available to Wesleyan students through college courses, community members to attend bi-weekly shows/movies, community youth organizations, and area K-6 schools for field trips with targeted learning modules to match the state’s learning objectives for science.
To date, the College has performed shows for 1,089 adults and 572 children, including free shows to 65 children’s groups. Given the use of the Planetarium for classes and the demonstrated success of its public shows, the College was granted the donation to upgrade both the equipment and offerings of the Planetarium in hopes of sparking the love of science in area youth.
In previous years, the Naylor Family has also provided Wesleyan funding for the Howard D. ’39 & Audrey Holden Naylor ’41 Nursing Simulation Lab, the Garrett County Scholarship, the Howard D. and Audrey Naylor Scholarship, and were instrumental in establishing the Autism Endorsement Program, a series of educational courses to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder for the School of Education.
For more information or to schedule a youth or school event, please contact Tracey DeLaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.