Thanks to Camp Verde Community Library, the Verde Valley has become one of only eight places in the nation to host Discover NASA: From Our Town to Outer Space.
The all-ages traveling exhibition allows visitors a hands-on, insider’s view of NASA, covering six key organization areas: Human exploration, earth science, Mars exploration, the solar system and beyond, aeronautics and technology.
Discover NASA’s exhibits arrived at the library on April 26 and will run through the end of July.
The arrival of Discover NASA marks a two-year investment for the library: The exhibition required completion of a competitive grant process through NASA.
“I wrote and submitted the grant two years ago hoping to have it for our library’s grand opening,” Library Director Kathy Hellman said. “Any time there is a grant opportunity available nationally to libraries, the competition is stiff. We are excited to be one of the libraries chosen to participate .... The exhibition explores space science in a way that is understandable, captivating and relevant.”
According to Hellman, NASA actively encouraged smaller rural communities to throw their hats in the ring for consideration.
“Our proximity to the Discovery Channel Telescope and Lowell Observatory, the support from Astronomers of the Verde Valley and Camp Verde High School astronomy students, as well as our community’s interest in dark skies and our involvement with the Verde Valley SciTech event, all helped make us a prime location for Discover NASA,” Hellman said.
Hellman added that the economy of the Verde Valley is also a driver for STEM programming: “Science, technology, engineering and math jobs are projected to increase in Arizona in the next 3 to 5 years and we need qualified workers to fill them. Sparking kids interest in science, technology, engineering and math is one of the main purposes of the Discover NASA exhibition and may help ensure both their and our futures.”
“My hope is that it will engage the teens and provoke curiosity, which is what science is all about,” CVCL Teen Librarian Zack Garcia said. “What is out there? Why does something behave the way it does? Science unravels life’s mysteries, helping us understand the world around us. When we apply that science, new technology is born, which gets better every day.”
Coinciding with the exhibition, the library will offer a related series of public events to bring STEM programming to the community.
Coming up soon, the library will host a comparison of NASA’s historical timeline to Camp Verde’s, CVHS astronomy students will demonstrate sun dials, Ken Zoll, Executive Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, will host meteorite presentations and Jeff Hall, Director of Lowell Observatory, will host a discussion about sunspots.
CVCL is located at 130 Black Bridge Road, Camp Verde. The exhibition is free and open to the public during library hours, Monday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. An opening reception for Discover NASA is scheduled for Saturday, May 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. For a full schedule of free events, visit cvlibrary.org or call (928) 554-8380.