Wednesday, September 15, 2010

UVA Astro Educ. Team needs your online support by daily e-voting in Sept.

Founded in 2009, Dark Skies Bright Kids ( is an astronomy outreach group based at the University of Virginia whose core mission is to enhance science education for elementary school students. We seek to foster the natural curiosity of children by helping them to explore the Universe in a social setting with fun, hands-on activities. For one of those activities, one of our volunteers developed several pieces of incredible astronomical artwork with English and Spanish titles. It was so successful and fun that we did not want them to just sit and collect dust... That was the beginning of "Snapshots of the Universe," a bilingual (English and Spanish) art book on astronomy. The book was drawn, written, and put together by the Dark Skies, Bright Kids volunteers with the aim of reaching a wide audience of elementary school children. Preview copies were distributed to astronomers and educators at the Winter 2010 American Astronomical Society meeting, and the first true edition of the book is in its final stages of production. While we plan to make a digital version of the book available online, nothing beats getting publication-quality copies of the book into the hands of deserving kids.

To do this, we need your support! For our first edition, we have applied for a $25K Pepsi Refresh grant, with which we will publish and distribute real paper copies to **every public 3rd grade classroom and elementary school library in the state of Virginia ** .

To win this grant, we need you to vote **every day** in September by either logging in online ( or texting 102189 to Pepsi (73774). And as we live in the age of social networking, we kindly ask you to spread the word on this project.

Thank you for your support.

> Rachael Beaton
> Jefferson Foundation Graduate Fellow
> Department of Astronomy
> University of Virginia