The observatory is not paid for by the city of Chico or the university. It was founded by the Kiwanis club of Greater Chico, and is maintained by the generosity of the local community. At the Chico Community Observatory we want your family to have the experience of a lifetime. If we can make the observatory better in any way, we will. The observatory is a non-profit organization, but some funding is needed in order to maintain and improve the observatory.
Ways to Donate
Although access to the observatory is free to the public, we do take donations. There is a small donations box just as you walk into the observatory by the guest book. The donations from this box primarily go to maintenance of the building: paper towels, cleaning materials, guest books, light bulbs, etc.
Whenever work needs to be done on the observatory, we can use all the help we can get. You can also donate to the observatory by contacting us to see if we currently need help with any projects. This is an excellent way to get community service hours if you are in junior high or high school, and colleges and employers look well on applicants who have volunteered time in the community.
Another way to donate is to sponsor one of the plaques on the Messier wall. They can be sponsored for a donation of $500 or more. Your name or business name is then engraved below the plaque. This is a great way to advertise a business. It can also be a wonderful present to a loved one. If you are interested in sponsoring a Messier object or donating in another way, you can contact us.
Remember, any donation you can give us will help the observatory! Thanks for your generosity.
Additions to the Observatory
Your donations also help us expand what we can do at the observatory. Some of our current goals are raising enough money for:
This project, already approved by the Bidwell park commission, would allow visitors to relax and sit back as volunteers give star and constellation tours. The lowered "seating pit" will hold over 40 people comfortably. The observatory needs a lot of help in order to make this dream come true, both with funding and labor.
-- telescope accessories --
In order to give visitors an extensive view of the celestial bodies, the
observatory need little additions to the telescopes, such as different sized
eyepieces and filters. As time goes on, we also have a bit of wear and
tear to the telescopes. Donations help ensure the observatory has
state-of-the-art equipment, so that you can see the very best we have to offer.
-- CCD camera --
The director of KCCO, Kris Koenig, has been patiently teaching some of the docents how to use a CCD camera to do imaging of celestial objects. With a new camera, volunteers will be able to image many of the objects visitors look at when they are at the observatory.
-- outreach --
The observatory is especially interested in outreach to children of our community. In summer 2002, the observatory hosted a summer kids program, which turned out to be a real success. We would like to start this program again in 2005. This project requires funding in order to allow children of all backgrounds to participate. The volunteers also need to be trained (CPR and other safety courses) prior to the program.
Website last updated March 16, 2006. Hosted by Anthony Watts, KMXI Radio. Webmasters Tiara Norris and Brendan Diamond.