This year’s STARFEST held at the University of Nevada, Reno was packed with student presentations and information! We had 20 participants in person with another 15 participating remotely. Dr. Katherine McCall, Dean of the College of Science at UNR and Dr. Paul Neill, Chair of the Physics Department at UNR welcomed the group and expressed their enthusiasm for being part of the Great Basin Observatory Collaborative.

Morning presentations included:

Stargazing and astronomy programs at Great Basin National Park have become more popular every year. From telescope viewing and tours of the milky way, to Park Ranger led Star Trains that leave from Ely, Nevada, Great Basin National Park is doing a great deal to connect the public to Great Basin’s truly inspiring dark skies. 

Ava Covington, an undergraduate sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno was awarded the Great Basin Observatory scholarship at this year's STARFEST. Ava is studying accretion disks from binary star systems called cataclysmic variables with Dr. Aarran Shaw and Dr. Richard Plotkin. 

On September 23, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the recipients of the Department’s most prestigious awards, and Joshua Vann, manager of the Law Enforcement Program at Great Basin National Park, received a Citation for Valor from the Department of the Interior! The award is for bravery and lifesaving efforts for an event that happened on November 6, 2020, at Great Basin National Park.

This September, the Great Basin National Park Foundation facilitated Ely Shoshone tribal members to attend the Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival. The trip was planned through outreach initiated by GBNPF, and led by Ms. LaCinda Waggener, Ely Shoshone Youth Intervention Program lead. 

We have good news about the Alpine Lakes Loop trail! It will be getting updated interpretive signs, enabled by a grant from one of our most generous supporters, The Fund for People in Parks. The Alpine Lakes loop is one of six projects to date at Great Basin that has been enabled by FPP and the second major project benefiting the Alpine Lakes Loop.

Great Basin National Park Foundation’s first regional camping Artist in Residence finished his residency at the Park in August. 

Austin Pratt wrote about his residency:

My daily routine:

Youth and adults will now be able to learn about Great Basin National Park's amazing dark skies and the Great Basin Observatory in a planetarium setting.

Senator Jacky Rosen supported Great Basin National Park and Great Basin National Park Foundation by giving a video address to the Great Basin National Park Foundation Board members at the annual August  meeting at the Park. The Senator's address is a shout out to our community of Great Basin National Park supporters and Great Basin Guardians.

On August 14th, 2021 the Great Basin Observatory celebrated its 5th Anniversary as the only research-grade astronomical observatory located in a National Park.

A celebratory event at Great Basin National Park drew over 150 people and speakers ranged from the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, Kate Marshall, to Great Basin’s Superintendent, James Woolsey, to student scientists from the Great Basin Observatory’s three partner universities; University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada; Concordia University, Irvine, California; and Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah.