Tim Morey with a park telescope

This photo of Hills Creek State Park Complex Natural Resource Specialist Tim Morey with a park telescope was taken in October of 2017, well before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the United States.

In person programs are returning to local state parks following COVID-19 regulations over the last few months.

“We are slowly bringing in-person programs back to four of the eight state parks in the Hills Creek State Park Complex,” said Tim Morey, natural resource specialist. Two of the four, including Lyman Run and Leonard Harrison, will not have events posted on the state parks events calendar though they may have a few programs for campers. In-person programs for Cherry Springs and Hills Creek will be posted periodically.

“At this point, in-person educational programs are limited to a maximum of 25 participants based on state coronavirus protocols,” said Morey. “That includes in-person stargazing programs at Cherry Springs, which have been attended by 500+ people in the past. That’s why there will be no telescope viewing until further notice. We’re still working on how to accommodate stargazing with laser pointers due to the high numbers that visit. Bigger events, such as the 69th Annual Woodsmen’s Show sponsored by the Galeton Rotary Club and scheduled this August at Cherry Springs, have been canceled,” Morey said.

“Currently what we are doing is offering a combination of virtual and in-person programming at Cherry Springs,” Morey said. “For example, this Thursday and continuing on Thursdays from 2 to 2:30 p.m. at Cherry Springs we are offering a 30-minute virtual program for those planning to take a trip there to camp and see the stars. They can join park staff on Skype for a slide show presentation about things they should know about Cherry Springs before their visit.”

“This Saturday, June 27, at 6 p.m., we are hosting a 30-minute, in-person short walk to introduce registrants to the history and future of Cherry Springs. The walk is not strenuous and is not a hike. Registration is required and will be limited to the first 25 people who register. It is important for families to register as a group if more than one member is going,” said Morey.

To register, visit https://events.dcnr.pa.gov/cherry_springs_state_park/calendar. All participants must follow CDC guidelines and bring a mask with them in order to attend. Programs may be cancelled due to severe weather.

“Planning for a telescope workshop in 2020 is a lot different than it was in 2019,” Morey said. “Since we cannot offer in-person telescope viewing, we are planning to host a virtual telescope workshop. It is for those who have a telescope but still haven’t figured out how to use it. As a follow-up, those who participate and are still having trouble with their telescope can schedule a one-on-one virtual session to find out why it isn’t working or how to get the most out of it.”

The virtual telescope workshop is also for those who are Interested in purchasing one and want to find out what to look for and what to avoid. They are invited to join park staff for a short overview of the variety of telescopes available and to find out which type might best suite their needs.

“All parts of the virtual telescope workshop will be conducted online. There will be no in-person presentation,” Morey said. “Those who have a telescope and register to participate will need to use a smart phone or tablet so they are mobile and can move around.”

All virtual telescope workshops will be posted on the Cherry Springs event calendar. In the meantime, those who are interested are invited to contact Tim Morey by emailing him at tmorey@pa.gov to let him know the days and times a virtual telescope workshop could be held that would work best for them and their families.