COVID-19 is preventing the Marie Drake Planetarium from hosting in-person Earth Day events. Instead, volunteers invite submission of videos about caring for the Earth. The best videos will be shared in the fall when the planetarium re-opens and starts using the new digital projector. Rosemary Walling, a volunteer and board member of Friends of the Marie Drake Planetarium, views Saturn and its moons' orbits as projected by a visiting digital projector from Seattle's Museum of Flight in October 2019.  (Michael Penn /Juneau Empire File)

Planetarium prepares to celebrate COVID-cautious Earth Day

Submit a video about caring for the planet

COVID-19 has shuttered the Marie Drake Planetarium for over a year, but the volunteers who make it run are still looking for ways to keep people thinking about the cosmos.

In preparation for Earth Day on April 22, planetarium volunteers invite the public to create and submit videos about caring for our home planet.

“Like last year, we cannot do live planetarium shows or other live events due to COVID-19,” said Cristina Della Rosa, president of the Friends of the Marie Drake Planetarium, in an email to the Empire. “We are soliciting videos showing how individuals, businesses and organizations are helping the environment in some way. We hope viewers of videos will be encouraged to do their part in creating a more sustainable and healthy planet.”

According to Rose Evans, a volunteer and longtime fan of the planetarium, Earth Day presents a perfect opportunity for people to think of Earth’s place in the solar system.

“Earth is a part of space. We think of space as another entity, but we are a planet in space,” Evans said in a phone interview. “We need to make sure it can last a while. We won’t be able to travel to the stars or visit other worlds if we burn our world up. We all share the world, and it needs to last a little longer.”

On The Trails: Mudflats at low tide

Lights, camera, action

“Restoring the Earth” is the global theme for Earth Day this year, and Evans and Della Rosa hope the videos will reflect the ways Juneau residents care for the planet. The group is also encouraging videos from scientists, teachers and businesses.

“The videos can be anything people want about helping the Earth. We are hoping for snippets of the little things people do to contribute,” Evans said, noting that she made a list of the things she has done locally.

Her list included borrowing a powerful magnet from the city to pick up nails at the beach, not turning the shower on all the way, keeping bears out of garbage, cutting beverage rings and composting.

“The video doesn’t need to be tips and tricks but can be things like you are doing, like owning an electric car or growing your own food and using public transportation,” she said. “We are hoping to get a bunch of things across, so we show there’s more than one way to engage.”

Della Rosa said that videos can be simple, take on any style, and be made with a smartphone. Volunteers will select one lucky submitter to host a private viewing in the re-opened planetarium.

All the videos will be shared on the planetarium’s website, mariedrakeplanetarium.org, and YouTube channel and the best videos will be shown when the planetarium re-opens in the fall.

“We hope to do live presentations for school classes in August and public shows in September. Dates are not in stone,” Della Rosa said.

On The Trails: Eagle Beach at Equinox time

Ready to submit a video?

■ Submit your video before April 22 via Facebook Messenger or send it via email to mariedrakeplanetarium@gmail.com

■ Keep your video to four minutes or less

■ Visit https://www.mariedrakeplanetarium.org/earth-day-videos to learn more about the contest.

•Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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