AAA President Message – March

Hello AAA’ers,
Can we say goodbye to the brutal cold temperatures and days with blustery winds? Definitely not good for the outdoor astronomer trying to appreciate the sky above us. 20 March is the Spring Equinox, a landmark for a change in season and begin scheduling our outdoor activities. Several of our public outreach stargazing coordinators are scheduling their events. Check for event dates and times.

Summary of topics:
* Governance
* Membership Renewal
* Member Benefits
* Recruiting Volunteers
* Meetup for Messier Marathon
* Lectures Dinner

Governance | Run for Director

Last month, an announcement went out soliciting members to serve on the AAA Board of Directors. On 01 June, six positions expire. Consistent with our by-laws, a Nominating Committee was formed to evaluate candidates and produce a slate of nominees to the Recording Secretary. At the Annual AAA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, 15 May, the Recording Secretary will nominate the slate to the Membership to elect as Directors.

The Nominating Committee consists of three Directors and three members: Peter Tagatac, Rori Baldari, Irene Pease; Omri Elisha, George Hripcsak, and Giselle Pemberton.

Are you a interested in serving on the board? Consider submitting a bio, about your background, experience, and what you hope to get out of serving as a Director.

If you have questions about being a director or want to apply, send an email to [email protected]. A committee member will get back to you to offer guidance on the process and to help notify the Nominating Committee of your interest to serve. Alternatively, you can always contact me with questions or to express interest.

Membership Renewal

Please renew your club membership. It is vitally important to the AAA as a means to continue to operate as a club. It helps us keep the lights on, pay for general operational costs, offer outreach programs like the Lectures, fund the member’s only parties, and create classes to enrich your minds.

There are two ways to renew or join the AAA: pay by check in person or mail or by credit card online. Visit the Member Portal to do complete it now.

While you are renewing consider adding a financial gift. Any amount that is within your means is appreciated. What is equally important is that 100% of our members contribute; collectively we can move mountains. This the second of three principal means of income for AAA. It is your donations that help fill the gap between revenue and operating costs. Ideally, this year we get 100% participation in renewals and gifts.

If you simply want to donate, it is as easy as clicking here.

Member Benefits

As a member, the AAA offers you several benefits. These include members only events like the seasonal socials; access to AAA classes to learn about the science of astronomy, develop skills for astrophotography and recreational stargazing; out-of-town dark sky trips; contribute articles to our monthly newsletter Eyepiece; serve on committees and board of directors; participate in discussion/ email forums for members interested in specific areas of astronomy.

More importantly, as a member you are helping the communities in which we live by enabling our organization to perform education and public outreach. AAA programs like the Lectures, SchoolOutreach, Scopes for Schools, regularly scheduled public stargazing events in all five boroughs are ways in which AAA promotes the study of Astronomy and exposing visitors to its cultural and inspirational values.

Recruiting Volunteers

What is the best way to recruit volunteers for the various aspects of activities? We are an all volunteer organization, no paid staff positions. We have many areas in which members with the appropriate skills could be of help.

Do you have communications or social marketing skills and a few hours a week to help the AAA build a successful and effective marketing plan to members and other interested parties?

Do you have web design skills to begin overhauling the AAA website to make it fresh, relevant, and useful to members and very visitors coming to learn about AAA and what it offers?

How about new program development? There is no shortage of great ideas to increase value for members and produce events that serve our communities. As an organization we struggle with implementation, moving from ideation to production, usually because of manpower. We could use help with program management and volunteers to actualize ideas to services or events that fulfill the club’s mission, all while having a good time.

If you have any skills that could improve or enhance existing programs or to create and operate new ones, please contact me.

Meetup (Messier Marathon)

Membership has been organizing Meetups as a new form of social activity.

Meetups contrast in size and scope with the Seasonal Socials. Socials are are planned well in advance and aim draw a grand number of members, usually in the range of 75 ~ 100 people. Meetups are more immediate and smaller in number. They may have an organizing theme or guest or simply a get together to talk shop.

Early this month a Meetup to plan for a Messier Marathon Observing event in Harriman State Park. Here you can learn what is a Messier Marathon and how you could do one. There will he information about different local events and resources to prepare you for 30 March AAA Messier Marathon Night.

Lectures Dinners

Did you know that as a member you could attend dinner after the Lectures?

It is customary that AAA compliment our Featured Speaker and their guest to dinner after the Lecture as a gesture of our gratitude. The Lectures Coordinator, Brian Berg, makes dinner reservations at a nearby restaurant for a table of 8-10 people; up to four seats taken by AAA host, Lectures Chair, the Featured Speaker and their guest. Six seats are available, sometimes more; each member pays for their own meal. Usually, we just asked folks who were still around after the lecture if they would like to join, but this way is a bit haphazard. If you are interested in attending dinner, contact Brian and we can make arrangements. If it is a current lecture, we can make arrangements for a future one. At dinner you have an opportunity to meet and speak with the Featured Speaker directly, not to mention that it is a great time to spend a Friday evening with others in which you share a common interest.

AAA Classes

Two Spring AAA classes have been announced. Registration is open for the “Stargazing Skills Workshop” which runs from March 12 to April 6. Later this month, registration opens for “Cosmology 101: Major Issues” which runs from April 3rd to the 22nd. Enjoy a couple of hours each week to learn about new topics or to brush up while spending time with other members.

That is a lot about what is going on now and into this month. I hope that the events, activities, and club news are of interest to you. If you have ideas, concerns, suggestions, please feel to reach out to me. Looking forward to seeing at one of the events.

Best regards,