2011-12-22 21:46:45.000 – Brian Clark, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
Testing things out
As a relatively small, non-profit organization, we are very lucky to have such talented and committed staff, both on the summit and down in our Weather Discovery Center. Without everyone’s hard work, this organization wouldn’t be what it is today. Just as important are the thousands of members that support us year in and year out. Among those members are our summit volunteers. These folks take a week of their time to help us out on the mountain in various ways, mainly down in the living quarters. So, not only are we lucky to have such talented staff all-around, we are also very lucky to have an extremely talented, and diverse group of volunteers. That talent, and generosity, was displayed to me very well over the last couple weeks on numerous occasions, but especially today.
One of the very unique features of our Distance Learning programs is our ability to go outside on the Observation Deck, and still be able to both talk to and hear the students we are working with. The students can also interact with us while we are outside, and more importantly, they can see us as well. To accomplish this, we have been using a camera that I mounted inside a makeshift box. The box is of course there to help protect the camera from the elements, and also makes the camera portable enough to only have outside when it is actually needed.
One of the things on my long to-do list has been to figure out how to make that box a bit less makeshift. I was discussing this need with my fellow day observer Roger last shift when one of our volunteers at the time, Brad Chapin, overheard the discussion. Later in the week he offered to help us out, and make a new camera box. Brad has his own property management company down in Massachusetts, Chapin and Associates, and is a very handy fellow, so I was more than happy to take him up on his offer. Not only did that offer include him donating his skills and time to make it happen, he also was also willing to donate the materials. Before we parted ways on December 14th, I made sure he had all the general guidelines and expectations of the project that he would need.
What ended up coming up the mountain with us on shift change this past Wednesday is nothing short of a thing of beauty. The front is even made of curved Lexan! Not only does it look fantastic, but is built extremely well. Seriously, this camera box is nicer than some of the furniture in my apartment! So, Roger and I have been working the past couple of days on the finishing touches for the box, including the electronics that go inside. Today we go to mount it and try it out (see attached thumbnail picture) and it is everything I have always envisioned this being, and then some! The functionality we will gain from this new piece of equipment will only work to enhance our already blossoming Distance Learning program, so needless to say, I’m really excited about it!
Thanks so much Brad for making this possible. Your generosity is truly appreciated. Additionally, thanks to ALL of our volunteers for everything that you do for us!
Brian Clark, Weather Observer/Education Specialist