Volunteering at the Little Thompson Observatory
We are an all-volunteer community organization that encourages astronomy, science and math education.
The observatory is located on the grounds of Berthoud High School. It is funded by donations and built and operated completely by volunteers. Our visiting groups include schools K-12, community colleges, kids’ clubs like Scouting, and adult groups such as church groups and company parties.
A typical question:
> My question is about the training session… is it
> appropriate for a person who really knows nothing about
> astronomy, telescopes, observatories, etc.?
Yes, absolutely! Many of our new volunteers have limited (or no) background in astronomy, which is why we created the LTO training program. You do not need any experience in astronomy to become an LTO volunteer – just enthusiasm and time to spend helping out with groups who come to visit the observatory.
The first step in our volunteer orientation and training is “Warm Room Training.” We teach you the history of the observatory and what you’ll need to help host groups in the warm room (the main LTO room with the constellation wall).
Later, once you have had more experience at the LTO, we offer the next level “Telescope Operator Training” where you learn the details of how to run the 18-inch telescope!
We also hold ongoing volunteer education on topics such as current astronomy events, NASA missions, and things to do with kids at the LTO when it’s cloudy, so that you can continue to expand your astronomy knowledge.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the LTO, please let us know!
We have many opportunities for you to help. If you want to help on construction, help us keep the display case “gift shop” stocked and in order, or help on maintenance, we’d love to have you. Let us know what your interests and skills are, and it is likely we can use your help!
We also have these openings available now:
Star Night Speakers
- Public Speaking ability a plus but not necessary.
- Need to entertain and educate our visitors through discussing the history of the facility, reviewing the Constellation wall details, and operating the telescope and dome systems.
- Ability to learn and willingness to speak in front of diverse groups ranging in age from 3 to 90 years of age.
- Time commitment for this position:~2 – 3 evenings (2 hrs each) per month.
- We will train all operators and provide talk materials and instructions to operate the telescope(s).
Grant Writer and Researcher
- Perform research for available grants for our type of public outreach activity
- Solicit or download grant application packages from donor organizations
- Evaluate available grants with the Board of Directors
- Complete Grant application packages for board approval and submit applications to donor agencies.