Broome County's observatory and science center has not only survived the challenges of a global pandemic, but, in some ways, has managed to thrive and expand its educational reach.

Drew Deskur, the director of the Kopernik Observatory and Science Center in Vestal is the guest this week on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Deskur says while the center on Underwood Road had to close its doors to the public, like every other museum, education center, school and business during the start of the pandemic last year, officials were able to re-think things like Friday night presentations by experts at the observatory, turning to Facebook instead.  That move resulted in hundreds of people "attending" sessions instead of dozens of people, racking up many new fans for the Southern Tier treasure.

As things have been improving, the science center is moving back to more normal operations but won't be abandoning what it's learned during the past year.

Kopernik is going to be holding summer camps in person again, along with virtual camps that were necessary last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and is taking reservations now. The Kopernik Observatory and Science Center offers children in grades 2 through 12 an opportunity to explore and learn with high tech adventures in science, math, technology and engineering.

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Kopernik director Drew Deskur says registration is being taken for a mixture of virtual camp, and in person camp experiences, with a limited number of students for each camp. The Camps will run during the summer Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm.  Register before June 2nd to avoid a higher fee. Kopernik also offers early drop off and late pick up for an additional fee, financial aid is available for those who can show financial need.

A number of other programs are coming up including the Race for the Stars 5K, Rocketfest model rocket launches and informative presentations and lots of opportunities for star-gazing.

Deskur, of course, has plenty to say about the current mission to Mars and local connections to outer space.

You can find out more about what is going on at Kopernik in the upcoming days at kopernik.org.  You can hear our weekly, local public affairs program Saturdays at 6:03 a.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF,  wnbf.com and on the WNBF podcast.

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