Gila Valley Health and Science Festival; a fun and educational experience for the whole family

College students and teachers offered science demonstrations at the 2017 Health and STEAM Festival - Gila Valley Central Photo

By Brooke Curley

THATCHER – The locals of the Gila Valley were blinded by science, and the kids loved it.

The third annual health and science festival was full of educational and fun activities. Children and parents wandered about Eastern Arizona College (EAC) and its Discovery Park campus Friday and Saturday. The health festival began bright and early at 7 a.m. Friday morning, at the EAC campus with free eye screenings and blood drawings.

Saturday was the day many of the parents brought their kids to EAC to play on bouncing castles, look at the helicopters, animals and watch the presentations put on by local teachers and students. Thelma Goble,  of Thatcher, told Gila Valley Central that she was appreciative of EAC for putting on the festival.

“I am very grateful for the free educational fun learning at today’s EAC science activity day,” Goble said. “There is so much to experience and we look forward to going to the nurse station.”

Educational lectures and hands-on science for kids were available after 3 p.m. at Discovery Park, where children dissected owl pellets, rode a space shuttle and more. Once night hit, local stargazers peered into the night’s sky through campus telescopes and shared the wonderment with all in attendance.

Paul Schulz, who has operated the telescopes at the festival for three years now, told Gila Valley Central that he enjoys showing the public deep sky objects, such as the Orion Nebula.

” I was using Discovery Park’s 11-inch telescope,” Schulz said. “It was fun to show those who stopped by, a deep sky object that was more than 1600 light years away, show them the object, describe it a bit, and then also point it out with my laser pointer.”

Schulz later said that the night was crisp and clear. There was some wind interference and slightly chilly, but aside from that, it was a good night for stargazing. Aside from the telescope Schulz was operating, there were four other telescopes. Several of the telescopes were being aimed at nearby planets.

Contributed photo by Paul Schulz: On the  Discovery Park campus Saturday night, telescopes were turned to the sky. Directly upper center in the photo is the constellation Orion.