Submitted by Dhvani Doshi, Bayside Program Manager (and new Canadian citizen!) and Malcolm Warren
We are the Bayside Astronomy Summer program managers, Dhvani Doshi, a student at the University of Waterloo studying physics and astronomy, and Malcolm Warren, a chemistry student at the University of Regina.
Our first night in Lion’s Head, Doug and Paula Cunningham took us out to the Peninsula Observation Deck to introduce us to the Bruce Peninsula dark skies. There was no moon and barely any light pollution, and we remember being in complete awe of the place. It was the darkest either of us had seen the night sky and the brightest we had seen the Milky Way. We instantly knew this was the perfect place for passionate astronomers like us. It was the start to an unforgettable summer filled with incredible experiences.
This opportunity was only made possible by the collaboration of numerous hard working people in the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association. Mike Warkentin and the members of the association have done amazing work to maintain the natural beauty of not only the night sky but the environment around the peninsula. They have taught us the importance of preserving such treasures. We’ve been grateful to meet such driven people and feel blessed to call them our mentors, especially Doug and Paula Cunningham. As retired teachers, they brought us closer to realizing our full potential. They helped us overcome our weaknesses and taught us a stellar amount of knowledge that we will keep with us in our futures.
Doug, Paula, and the other skilled volunteer amateur astronomers were very proficient with the night sky, and sharing that knowledge with us allowed us to communicate our ideas more easily with the public. Knowing the locations of constellations and objects in the night sky, allowed us to always be aware of something new and interesting to point at with our telescopes. This fostered better engagement, leaving people constantly surprised with the objects they were seeing. It cultivated stronger relationships with the public as we could satisfy their curiosity by answering their captivating questions.
We appreciated how enthusiastic the community was at each of our programs. It left us building friendships every night, learning so much about the diverse group of people around us. It was a community filled with individuals from all around Canada and the world, brought together by their love and admiration for astronomy.
We also want to thank the Lion’s Head community for welcoming us with open arms. Being a part of this tight-knit family was only possible due to the numerous kind people we met. We truly enjoyed our summer in this beautiful town. The ways to explore the local environment were abundant. From the adventurous hikes and the stunning lookout points to the community events like Harbourside music and the Farmers’ market, there have been a lot of memories made in this town. This town had so much to offer. No matter the day, there was always something we could do if we wanted to get out and explore.
It has been a transformative journey, with the summer passing by too quickly. We hope we can return to this peninsula again, sharing our experiences and what we’ve learned with the public. We believe that curiosity in astronomy will continue to grow, with more and more people looking up to the night sky in wonder. The universe is meant to be explored, and we are more than thankful to have been given this opportunity to share the stories of the cosmos.