Saturday, 03 March 2018 03:42

Astronomy professionals reach the stars with RASC Awards

Written by  Demi Knight
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From left: Neel Roberts, Karl Ivarson, Roland Dechesne and RASC Calgary President Steve Donaldson. “The RASC Calgary awarded myself, Karl Ivarson and Roland Dechesne the Peter Sim Public Education Award for the 7 years we did monthly observing meetings and special events at the Vulcan Tourism Trek Center from 2010 to 2017. We can be proud of all the work we did to show the Universe to the thousands that stopped by from all over the world. A big thank you to all the volunteers over the years who made this possible!” From left: Neel Roberts, Karl Ivarson, Roland Dechesne and RASC Calgary President Steve Donaldson. “The RASC Calgary awarded myself, Karl Ivarson and Roland Dechesne the Peter Sim Public Education Award for the 7 years we did monthly observing meetings and special events at the Vulcan Tourism Trek Center from 2010 to 2017. We can be proud of all the work we did to show the Universe to the thousands that stopped by from all over the world. A big thank you to all the volunteers over the years who made this possible!” Contributed

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Calgary division honoured three southern Albertans with prestigious awards this year for their long-standing service and public outreach at the Vulcan Trek Centre.


On Feb. 15 during the RASC general meeting in Calgary, Prairie Post West columnist Neel Roberts, Roland Dechesne and Karl Ivarson were selected as winners of the Peter Sim Public Education awards for their years of dedication and service they each gave to the Trek Centre from 2010 until 2017.
“It is a wonderful recognition from the RASC Calgary on the work myself, Karl Ivarson and Roland Dechesne did since 2010,” says Roberts of the award.
“We were not looking for this, but it nice when we get acknowledgement from a reputable organization.”
The RASC which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, is the largest astronomy club in Canada with over five thousand national members and twenty centers across the country since 1868.
The Calgary division however, was established at a later date on Jan. 29, 1958 and works to connect members with the help of other divisions in western Canada to likeminded individuals interested in the complex world that is astronomy.
The Vulcan Trek Centre is just one more place that’s connected to the stars, and a perfect middle ground for the recipients to lend their service to with the recognition of the RASC.
With the three spending over seven years at the Vulcan Trek Centre, working to coordinate, operate the telescopes and conduct indoor presentations, the recipients of this year’s Peter Sim Public Education awards have dedicated their time offering their knowledge to interested participants like the work of many RASC divisions across the country.
“The Star Trek theme (at the Vulcan Trek Centre) fits nicely with what the RASC does and we had an all-around, harmonious relationship for seven years with thousands of happy visitors,” says Roberts of the noticeable work he and others did with the centre over the years that earned him this award.
The Peter Sim awards which are regarded as one of the highest recognitions offered by the RASC are given each year to outstanding public educators who pass along their knowledge in interactive, and fascinating manners just as the man they’re named after did.
Sim, who was one of Calgary’s most active educators through drama, school sciences and for the RASC Calgary centre passed away in August of 1999, however his name and memory lives on through these awards which are given to many like himself every year.
With these three southern Albertans being a select few of many that work to spread the knowledge of Astronomy across the nation, the RASC works to recognize these teachers from different locations, backgrounds and facilities and highlight the importance of their work with these annual recognitions. The RASC also work throughout the year to host meetings across the entire country as well as partnering with other facilities to help continue the reach and demand of astronomy education across Canada.
In a Facebook statement, Roberts summed it up this way: “The RASC Calgary awarded myself, Karl Ivarson and Roland Dechesne the Peter Sim Public Education Award for the seven years, we did monthly observing meetings and special events at the Vulcan Tourism Trek Center from 2010 to 2017. We can be proud of all the work we did to show the Universe to the thousands that stopped by from all over the world. A big thank you to all the volunteers over the years who made this possible!”

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