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First Star Gaze of season nears

Route 4 between the Masonic Home and Enon can seem awfully dark and lonesome at night. I am always comforted by the brightly lit walls of the Hertzler House on the side of the hill next to the Battle of Peckuwe Memorial.

There is a second bright spot below these on the flat land next to the highway. It is the Davidson Interpretive Center at 5638 Lower Valley Pike.

Spotlights illuminate the modern wood and glass structure that houses the information center and a museum about the Revolutionary War battle that took place on that spot in 1780. The offices of the Clark County Park District can also be found there.

On the night of Aug. 12, the bright lights at the Davidson Interpretive Center will go dark from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. while the park district will hold its first Star Gaze of the season. This event is free and open to astronomy lovers of all ages.

As Donna Lewis, the new program coordinator for the park district, explained, the paved patio and lawn behind the Davidson is a very convenient place for sky watching once the lights are turned off. It is even handicap accessible.

It is recommended that participants bring with them a blanket or lawn chair, and bug spray. Binoculars might also be helpful. Telescopes are welcome.

Park District Operations Manager and Ranger Christopher Crowley added that participants are also allowed to bring their own non-alcoholic beverages.

I imagine since the sidewalk is cement and brick, the district would appreciate it if participants avoid beverages with glass containers.

Retired teacher Drew Gross will present an introductory program about the local night sky. He once sponsored an astronomy club at Tecumseh.

The presentation, according to Lewis, will not be too technical and will be aimed at a basic understanding of star gazing.

It is hoped that the meteor shower scheduled to peak that evening will put on an interesting show for everyone. Star Gazes are also scheduled for Nov. 2 and Dec. 13.

Before joining the park district, Lewis worked with the Boonshoft Museum in Dayton and the Buckner Nature center.

“My main focus was wildlife,” said Lewis. “I was known as the bat lady at the museum.”

Because of her background, she hopes to expand the programs at the Davidson to include more natural history and wildlife. But until those are arranged, she is just hoping the weather cooperates for this first sky watching event.

“If it’s rainy or too cloudy and has to be cancelled, I’ll let people know it’s not happening on the (Clark County Park District) Facebook page,” said Lewis.

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