Contact

For general contact, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Board of Directors, Advisors

Ben Dorman, Ph.D. (Astrophysics), Chair: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Don Moffatt, B.Sc. (Astrophysics), Certificate in Business Analysis (UBC),Vice Chair: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Catriona Johnson, Secretary: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jennine Gates, Treasurer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lauri Roche, Member at Large, RASC rep: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nelson Walker, Member at Large, RASC rep: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ida von Schuckmann, Member at Large, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bob McDonald, Board Member, Advisor

Dennis Crabtree Ph.D., Acting Director, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, and ex-officio Board Member

James E. Hesser, Ph. D., Advisor, Emeritus Director, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory

David Balam, Advisor

 

Purposes

We are a non-profit society, incorporated June 4, 2015,  with the following purposes

a.   to promote interest in, and awareness of, the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO), and of astronomy and related science, technology, engineering and mathematics;

b.     to enhance science literacy by supporting an evidence-based approach to natural phenomena;

c.    to promote fellowship among, and provide the means of exchanging information between, individuals and organizations having a common interest in astronomy and related sciences;

d.     to enhance interest in astronomy and related sciences in groups underrepresented and under-served in the sciences such as girls and women, First Nations communities, and persons with disabilities;

e.      to organize astronomy and related science education events for the public and for schools, clubs, and special interest groups including but not limited to field trips for astronomical viewing (“star parties”), public lecture programs, and educational displays;

f.        to develop working partnerships with community organizations, businesses and government in order to provide astronomy and related science awareness and education to diverse populations;

g.    to develop working partnerships with universities, museums, non-profit organizations, and private foundations in order to enhance the quality of astronomy and science related events;

h.      to develop working partnerships with the local arts community in order to enhance  the quality and outreach of activities;

i.         to facilitate public access to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory for the above purposes;

j.        to receive gifts, bequests, funds and to hold, administer and distribute such property for:

                                                               i.      the promotion of astronomy and related sciences;

                                                             ii.      the furtherance of the purposes of organizations which are “qualified donees” under the provisions of the Income Tax Act; and

                                                            iii.      for such other purposes and activities as are authorized for registered charities under the provisions of the Income Tax Act and other taxing authorities;

k.       to develop sources of income as may from time to time be appropriate, including conducting business or other activities in support of the purposes of the society; and

l.         to perform all other activities as are incidental and ancillary to the attainment of the foregoing purposes and the exercise of the powers of the society.

 

History

The NRC cancelled funding for the Centre of the Universe (CU) visitors centre at the DAO in June of 2013  and the community reacted. During a meeting between the NRC president, John McDougall, Sandy Barta, and Don Moffatt in August of 2013, the NRC president suggested that a non-profit could potentially take over the public programming at the CU. MLA Andrew Weaver suggested the involvement of Science Venture to the NRC President later in August.

At the stakeholders meeting sponsored by Saanich MLA Lana Popham in November of 2013 the NRC Vice President, Dr. Dan Wainer, stated that while the RASC and Science Venture could potentially run programming in 2014, the Council preferred to deal with a single organization representing the entire community.

Short term and long term working groups were formed at the Stakeholders meeting. The Short term group chaired by Don Moffatt focused on working with all parties to see as much programming restored in 2014, beginning with the Saturday night programs, which predated the Centre of the Universe, and new summer camps run by Science Venture. The Saturday Star Parties, as they came to be called, are organized and staffed by volunteers from the RASC. Short term committee member Lauri Roche of the RASC put in a tremendous effort towards negotiating agreements and organizing those first Star Parties in 2014, while committee member and Science Venture Director Melisa Yestrau put in a similar effort in a very short span of time towards making the first summer camps happen.

Don Moffatt began pursuing the idea of a non-profit in April of 2014, particularly with the assistance of Pal Virag who helped make significant contacts within the space science community and promoted the blending of art and science. Malcolm Scrimger of the RASC also expressed early support. The Facebook site was created in June of 2014.

By September of 2014, at a joint Short Term / Long Term Committee meeting with invited representatives from the RASC and Science Venture that looked at “Lessons Learned” from the Saturday Star Parties and Summer Camps, it was decided to proceed with the formal creation of the Friends of the DAO. Long Term Committee members Catriona Johnson and Ben Dorman volunteered to rework the proposed constitution and bylaws created earlier by Don Moffatt.  The Friends of the DAO was formally incorporated in June of 2015 with three Directors, Ben Dorman, Catriona Johnson, and Don Moffatt.

Our goal is to fund the reopening and reinvigorate the Centre of the Universe and its programming.

Relationship with the RASC, Science Venture

The Friends of the DAO is intended to be a voice for all community stakeholders, including the full range of community members who signed petitions in 2013.  We welcome all community members to join. Our focus is on public science outreach activities based at the Observatory, and in particular we support the efforts of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre. People interested in becoming involved with amateur astronomy should get in touch with the RASC directly (talking to them at one of our Saturday events is a good start).

Science Venture,  a non-profit based at UVic, has proven expertise providing camps for children, and we encourage their activities at the Centre of the Universe.

The Friends of the DAO appreciates the involvement of both the RASC and Science Venture at the DAO and hopes to assist in enhancing their activities there. 

 


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