Francis Malcom Science Center's New Digital Planetarium – WFFJ-TV News –

April 30, 2016

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By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, May 11, 2016


   The Francis Malcolm Science Center in Easton celebrated its annual Spring Open House by unveiling a new digital planetarium projection system.  Over 300 people attended the event on a sunny and warm Saturday, April 30 and were treated to a high-altitude model rocket launch, hands-on scientific displays and sample presentations of the new planetarium system.

   The new planetarium system, made possible by a $40,000 donation from Lil Nelms and her husband, Robert Ingram from Houston, Texas, features the ability to envelope the entire planetarium dome with full motion digital video feeds from documentaries specifically designed for planetarium dome presentations.

    “We're dawning in a new age of digital technology.  We've waited many years, crossed the mountains and the deserts and we've arrived,” said Larry Berz, Planetarium Director.  “This new age is for our children and grandchildren.  We feature a desire for our kids, all of our young people involved, engaged and motivated scientifically.  We can do it, we've got the tool now and the traction to do it.  No need to go to Boston, Bangor or Portland.  You can go, be my guest, but we can do it right here now.  That's the game plan.”

     “We are thrilled that the ConnectME Authority has agreed to assist with funding for this important project”, exclaimed Tim Goff, Marketing and Economic Director for the Town of Fort Fairfield. 

   Roger and Diane Libby from Mars Hill were among the dignitaries that day.  They presented a check, for $10,000 to further the Science Center's goals of education in the County.

   “Back in October, they had an open house and they were trying to raise money to keep the center open.  So we came up and talked to Larry and Jim and recognized a need to keep the Science Center open for all the people of Aroostook County and Western New Brunswick,” said Roger.  “We're both chemical engineers by education so we have a love of science and math.  The fact that this is probably the only science center/ planetarium of its kind within 150 miles we knew that loving science, we wanted it to stay.”

   Diane Libby said she had substituted at the Easton school district two or three years ago and visited the Science Center with her students on a field trip.  “I got to experience the Science Center as an adult and to see what it did for the kids.  It was absolutely amazing,” she said.  “I also did the snowshoe trails with the Science Class at Easton on a field trip.  I brought Roger to say let's look at this.  This is something that we really need here because the children today need to have hands-on experience.  They can get it here and get the technology as well.” 

   The Science Center continues to provide free educational opportunities in the fields of astronomy, biology, oceanography and physics, as it has for over three decades.

    For more information on Francis Malcolm Science Center, or to donate time or resources, please contact them via phone at (207) 488-5451.



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