Astronomy Education for Youth

Astronomy Education for Youth – Ensuring all youth have the opportunity to be inspired by studying the stars.
Astronomy is considered by many to be a gateway science owing to its ability to inspire curiosity in everyone irrespective of age, culture, or general inclination towards science. Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO), run by Valley of the Moon Observatory Association, delivers public star parties to the community, offers astronomy-based classes and events, and leads private programs at the observatory, many of which are for youth-related non-profit organizations such as girl scouts, boy scouts, and schools. RFO also facilitates the Striking Sparks program, a competition that has awarded telescopes for 37 years to Sonoma County students to promote science education and interest in astronomy. Lastly, our Young Astronomers program works with local libraries to educate and inspire students who are interested in astronomy.
When the Robert Ferguson Observatory suddenly (due to the pandemic) found itself without the income from public and private events which it relied on for most of its financial obligations, the organization quickly shifted to minimize monetary losses. One of those decisions was to increase the costs of both public and private events. However, given our mission of offering educational programs about science and astronomy to students, and our long history of “Striking the Spark” in youth to engage in STEM-based fields, we decided to keep our public programs free for youth 12 and under, and at a 50% discount to students through college-age. (We also offer 50% discounts to seniors 62+). We seek additional funding that will help underwrite this cost, to enable us to continue providing educational services for free to youth of all socio-economic backgrounds in our community.
GoFundMe donations will enable the Robert Ferguson Observatory to continue to provide educational astronomy-based programs for free to youth and low-income individuals and families. Underwriting the cost of giving youth free admission to our public star parties, giving students and seniors 50% discounts, giving low-income individuals and families free admission through the Museums for All program, continuing our Striking Sparks and Young Astronomers programs for youth, and offering a 65% discount to youth-related non-profits that book a private educational event at the observatory will allow us to continue offering these programs for free or low-cost to those people who can benefit the most from this experience. There are many children in our community who have never visited a planetarium or observatory before, and the experience of, for example, seeing Saturn for the first time through a telescope is an awe-inspiring moment for both children and adults that can encourage a life-long love of learning about the universe.


  • Colleen Ferguson 
    • $100 
    • 25 d
  • Terry England 
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • Kristi burton 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Bruce Antink 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Thomas SILEWICZ 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
See all


Valley of the Moon Observatory Association 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.