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10 Tuesday August 18 2015 ENVIRONMENT ASTRONOMY NORTHLAND SCHOOL DIVISION NO. 61 Bag 1400 9809-77 Avenue Peace River AB T8S-1V2 780 624.2060 Every student is a lifelong learner and successful in life. SCHOOL OPENING INFORMATION Students return to class August 31 STUDENT REGISTRATION Parents are asked to accompany their child if new to an elementary or junior high school. New students will need to bring a birth certificate and a health care number. KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS Please note that start dates for kindergarten may vary from school to school. Parents are asked to contact their local schools. SCHOOL BUS INFORMATION Please contact your local school for school bus times pickup and drop off locations and general information. Parents will need to provide a physical address not a box number. HELPFUL START-UP INFORMATION FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR httpnsd61.caabout-usdivision-newspostback-to-school-information Organizational Days for school staff begins August 24 and ends August 28. Please contact your local school to find out when you can register your child. If you have any further questions please feel free to call Northland School Division central office at 780-624-2060 or 1-800-362-1360. Dark Sky Festival brings the stars within reach Annual astronomy party teaches science through experiential learning By DALI CARMICHAEL Whether you enjoy spending your evenings studying the night sky or watching the latest offerings from the SPACE channel the Theba- cha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society TAWBAS invites you to come out and enjoy theofferingsfromtheannualDarkSkyFestival. Over the last three years the celebration of space has gained popularity with mentions in the Globe and Mail and Sky News. This weekend astronomers of all expertise levels will be traveling to the dark sky preserve near Pine Lake in Wood Buffalo National Park for a weekend of fun and experiential learning. Unfortunatelyscienceisseenassomething that is for an elite few and we really dont feel that way said TAWBAS vice-chair Bruce Buckley. Most star parties or dark sky festi- vals they generally arent centered around the public and outreach. Its less of a family event and more people with telescopes and people interestedinlookingthroughtelescopes.Thats not what our event is about our whole man- date is to reach out to the community and try to educate people about science and make it something thats accessible. Every year TAWBAS has been able to pull in a series of star-studded special present- ers including famed Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar. On the schedule this year is Chicagos Alder Planetarium astronomer Michelle Nichols. In addition to sharing a presentation built for scientists at NASA on Friday evening she will be discussing the science behind the Oscar- winning feature lm Interstellar. For those looking for a more hands-on ex- perience circumpolar photographer Yuichi Takasaka will be leading several workshops giving lessons on the best way to capture the glory of the galaxy at night. HesrenownedforhisAuroraphotography saidTAWBASchairMikeCouvrette.Hestrav- eled around the circumpolar regions taken photos in the Northwest Territories Alaska Finland Iceland and hes also traveled to Tas- mania to take pictures of the southern lights. In addition to testing out their skills on regular DSLR cameras registered guests are invited to try out TAWBAS new ultra- powerful telescopes. This is the rst time those will actually be used Couvrette said. Our new primary tele- scopeisan11-inchSchmidt-Cassegrainandthats got a special mount for camera bodies. Well beabletouseitforhigh-endastrophotography. Ourothernewbigscopeisa12-inchDobsonian. Eventually these telescopes will be featured at a new observatory soon to be constructed near Fort Smiths airport. Weve come up with a list of deep-sky objects things that you cant really see with binoculars or the naked eye Couvrette said. Well see a couple of galaxies and nebulas and weve been able to nd a star thats quite visible from here that is a sibling of our sun born in the same nebula cloud. As always a host of activities for children will be featured throughout the festival. On Friday Yellowknifes stellar Prof. Quark will lead a series of science experiments at Mission ParkinFortSmithfollowingthepopularNTPC Circus of Science and the launch of the Sci- ence Academy model rocket building session. Participants will spend Saturday in Wood Buffalo learning throughout the day and stargazing once the sun sets. Traditionally most will set up tents and campers so they can spend the night and get the full effect of the dark sky. One of the things is keeping our night vision is important once it does get dark Buckley said. He recommended that driv- ers park strategically so as not to blind other participants and to bring ashlights that are somewhat dim. Those interested in attending the Dark Sky festival can head to to nd the schedule and to register. Registra- tion closes on Aug. 18 at 600 p.m. Comedownhaveagoodtimeandenjoythe company. Our presenters are very approach- able and I think whether youre coming with family or not its a fun event Buckley said. Weve been extremely lucky that its always been crystal-clear skies every year that weve done it so theres every reason to believe that well have crystal-clear skies again. Fort Chip youth to walk in two worlds at upcoming gathering By MEAGAN WOHLBERG Contemporary technology will mix with traditional skills at a gathering for youth in Fort Chipewyan next week. The second annual Experiential Learn- ing Gathering takes place Aug. 23-26 on the Doghead reserve in Fort Chipewyan where local youth and young people from the nearby community of Janvier will take part in a mix of activities meant to give them a variety of hands-on training. Camping out along the shores of Lake Atha- basca the youth will get training in every- thing from drum making and dry sh mak- ing to radio and video production. Its to celebrate walking in two worlds said organizer Tina Fraser who coordinates the Lake Athabasca Youth Council LAYC a youth network in Fort Chipewyan. Its about learning by doing. This is the second year of the gathering. The inaugural event was held last year in Janvier hosted by their communitys youth organiza- tion Sekweha. LAYC youth were invited to at- tend and are returning the favour this year. Participants will take plant hikes do bead- ing get active with self defence and hand games learn Cree and Dene and receive tra- ditional teachings on the medicine wheel. A special session will also be led by local drum maker Edward Marten on healing through art and music. Individuals wishing to register can con- tact Registration is free but participants are required to fund their own travel to Fort Chipewyan. Youth from Fort Chipewyan and Janvier gather in 2014 for an experiential learning camp out on the land. The 2015 gathering is happening next week in Fort Chipewyan. EDUCATION ON THE LAND PhotocourtesyofLakeAthabascaYouthCouncil PhotoBillBraden Among the treats at this years Dark Sky Festival will be two new powerful telescopes excellent for taking detailed pictures of the night sky.