Treasurer Rick Fay reported that there were no deposits to or withdrawals from the SPAC checking account, so the account balance remains at $1585.41.
A discussion was lead by President Steve Maas of the Star Walk put on by the Club earlier in the month. Everyone was generally pleased by the event. Several suggestions were made to improve the event. It had been noted that some visitors to the event had bypassed the Welcome Desk by entering the Rose Garden from the walk coming from the parking lot to the east of the site. It is important that all visitors stop by the Welcome Desk so we can get an accurate tally of them. To remedy this in the future, a rope barrier will be set up along the walk from the parking lot to direct the visitors to the Welcome Desk. It was also noted that there was some duplication among the telescopes in the objects targeted. It was reiterated that the Star Walk is a structured event and each scope should stay on a single object to insure that the visitors passing through the event get to see the maximum number of objects without unnecessary duplication. This is different from the regular Public Star Parties, which are unstructured events in which each scope operator can target whatever objects they desire.
President Maas voiced concern over finding enough Club Members to regularly participate in events like the Star Walk. SPAC currently has 34 Members, but there is a "core group" of only around a dozen that regularly participate in Club activities. To be effective, the Star Walk needs to have a minimum of 9-10 scopes, which would mean that essentially the same Members might need to participate every month. To solve this problem, President Maas stated that SPAC needs to get more active Members— not just more Members. If SPAC had around 20 active Members, then there could be much more flexibility in who participates in events. President Maas stated that a goal of the Club should be to increase the number of active Members.
President Maas suggested that one way to increase the number of active Members is to use our outreach events to recruit them. We should be more active in trying to recruit new Members at our stargazing and public speaking events. A second way is to use SPAC's Junior Membership program to recruit younger members who, through instruction and training, can become active participants in our stargazing events. To this end, President Maas appointed Member Patrice Fay to be Chairperson of Junior Activities (in addition to her role as Club Secretary). In this role, Patrice will work to establish a vibrant Junior Membership Program, and everyone is encouraged to assist her in this effort.
President Maas read the text of an Amendment to the SPAC Constitution and By-Laws. The purpose of this Amendment is to replace gender-specific text in the Constitution and By-Laws with gender-neutral text. The Amendment will be voted on in the March meeting.
President Maas reported on his meeting with the Ransom Canyon Property Owner's Association (POA) Events Committee held the Sunday after the Public Star Party. The POA will check into the possibility of making the restrooms at the Ransom Canyon Fire Station available for use during the Public Star Party.
Members were reminded that the "Winter Star-BQ" is scheduled for the night of Friday, March 20. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for this dark-sky event.
Following the business meeting, we heard the presentation, "Legend of the Marysville Black Squirrel, or, The Total Solar Eclipse That Almost Didn't Happen" by Patrice Fay. This recounted her and her husband's adventures attending the total solar eclipse of 2017.