Carlsbad Solar System Walk


I am very interested in Space and Education. While in Ohio with my family, we hiked the “Solar System Walk” trail which includes a linear scale model of our solar system sponsored by the NASA Glenn Research Center.

The Project:

For my Eagle Scout project, I would like to create something similar in my hometown of Carlsbad, California. ( What is an Eagle Scout Project? )

I call it "A Solar System Walk: An Exploration of Scale"

I would like this project to be engaging and informative for everyone, and a useful educational tool for students and teachers in the area.

I have been working with, and have the support of,  the Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) and the city of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation (CP&R) department on this project. Dr. Kimberly Huesing, my former principal and Director of Elementary Education at CUSD, is ensuring my content is appropriate for students, and aligns with emerging STEM standards ( NGSS - Next Generation Science Standards ).

CP&R has set aside space within the city's public trail system to locate the walk, very near to local schools. They have also provided templates and style guidance for the signs, so that they fit with other interpretive trail signs in the system. We will use the same sign vendor that the CP&R department uses, and have similar ADA compliant posts and mounts. The signs will be full color including high resolution NASA imagery, and will have a UV and anti-graffiti coating, used successfully on interpretive trail signs throughout the city.

Who am I:

My name is Colton Dister, I am a sophomore attending Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad. I am a Life Scout in Troop 750, a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do, and a member of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. 

Why I need your help:

It will cost about $1600 to order 10 signs and another $600  to pay for the posts and mounts. 

Finished Product:

The finished product would be placed along the "South  Trail" near Calavera Lake. There would be ten signs, each sign would represent a structure (sun/planet/dwarf planet)  in our solar system.

The walk shows the relative distances between these structures and poses thought provoking questions about space and scale.

At a scale of 1 foot = 1,000,000 miles, the walk would be ~¾ of a mile long.

Who is it for?

The trail would be easily accessible to students at Calavera Hills Elementary and Middle schools and those at Sage Creek High School.

Students could visit the Solar System Walk as a STEM based school field trip.

 Ditching The Desk-Space: Solar System Walk

Families and tourists would enjoy a short and informative walk featuring our great Carlsbad trail system.

I am not aware of a similar trail  in Southern California - (see these lists: here & here.)

We hope to have this project completed so that it can be featured at the annual Carlsbad Trail Days event.

Why you should fund my project

1. It benefits everyone in the community. As a scaled version of our solar system, it makes use of surrounding features in the environment (like Mt. Calavera) and relates them to scales for distance, time, energy, etc. For example do you know what the diameter of the sun would be at this scale (1 ft = 1 million miles)? This is an example of one of the thought provoking questions asked and answered on the trail.

2. It will be a great educational resource for local school children. It provides a form of learning that is not easily duplicated in books, the internet, or in the classroom. Dr. Huesing of CUSD refers to this as kinesthetic learning, a very powerful learning method.

3. It will be fun!

Show your generosity:

We need $2200 to complete this project.

Every individual donation will help us reach our goal!

ViaSat has become our first corporate sponsor, and has generously offered to match individual donations up to a total donation of $500.

Donate $200 dollars or more to become a planetary sponsor, and have your name/logo included on one planet sign.

Donate $500 or more, and you will become a primary solar system sponsor and your name/logo will be included on every sign on the trail.

The City of Carlsbad is the official beneficiary of this Eagle Scout project, so all donations are tax-deductible.

Donations (0)

  • Vanessa and David Myers 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Robert Whitney 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 42 mos
  • Optimist Club of Carlsbad 
    • $500 (Offline)
    • 43 mos
  • Emily Oliphant-Manville 
    • $200 (Offline)
    • 43 mos
  • Steve & Julie Whitney 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

Colton Dister 
Carlsbad, CA
Bill Alston 
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