(BIVN) – The annual Solar System Walk in Waimea – this year a month-long event – began on Monday. Organizers shared this news release:
Starting today, students, families and science fans on Hawaiʻi Island can participate in a unique adaptation of the annual Waimea Solar System Walk; the self-guided, socially-distanced popup event will run in Waimea Town from Mar. 15 through April 15, 2021, to ensure the beloved community event from the Maunakea Observatories continues with COVID-19-safe modifications.
“Our Maunakea Observatories staff continue to find new ways throughout the pandemic to meet students’ need for fun, engaging activities that we normally get to present in-person,” said Mary Beth Laychak, Solar System Walk organizer from the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope. “We see this as a great opportunity to not only deliver this popular community event for local families but also use the virtual platform to make these resources more available to students throughout the state.”
This year’s Solar System Walk participants will take an open-air journey through a scale model of the solar system, learning about each planet with fun science demos and exciting discoveries from the Maunakea Observatories along the way. Starting at Pukalani Rd and Ala ‘Ōhi’a Road (the Bypass Road) in Waimea, participants will look for Solar System Walk decals on the sidewalk, each marked with a QR code. Scan the QR codes to access interactive Solar System Walk videos, available in English and in ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i, about that planet.
“ʻImiloa is excited to support this year’s Solar System Walk – especially with the dual language options available for those who want to study the solar system ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi – through the Hawaiian language.” says Ka’iu Kimura, director of the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. “We mahalo the Maunakea Observatories for creating this opportunity for our local Waimea ʻohana and look forward to seeing keiki explore the universe in ways that relate to them and their community.”
At the outer edge of the Solar System walk, the final QR code takes participants to a prize entry form. The first 100 keiki to complete the walk are eligible to receive a prize pack full of activity books, an ‘Imiloa navigational compass, stickers, bookmarks and other cool prizes, which will be sent via mail to the address provided in the entry form.
Additional resources are available for this year’s virtual participants as well, including Solar System Walk coloring sheets and a DIY Mini Solar System Walk that can be easily set up at home or in classrooms. Organizations who would like to partner with the Maunakea Observatories on a Solar System Walk in their school or town are invited to contact Mary Beth Laychak at email@example.com.