Volunteering Opportunities – Support

Volunteering Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities to volunteer at PARI. The periodic Volunteer Weekends are a perfect way to see the site and contribute to astronomy, science, and technology efforts at PARI. Please contact Sarah Chappell at schappell@nullpari.edu or 828-862-5554 for details on how to join the Volunteer List.

To help us plan our tasks more efficiently, we ask that you email or phone no later than 24 hours before coming to volunteer. Below is a list of various programs and volunteer opportunities at PARI:

  • Docent – This opportunity is great for outgoing people who like to interact with the public and are willing to learn about PARI history, current programs and future endeavors. Docents must attend training on site safety and visitor policies before leading any independent tours.
  • APDA (Astronomical Photographic Data Archive) – APDA was established at PARI in 2007 as a center for collecting, restoring, preserving and storing astronomical photographic data. APDA is also tasked with digitizing each image and establishing a database of images that can be accessed via the Internet by the global community of scientists, researchers, students, and interested public. Volunteers can participate with various projects to support this program.
  • Evening at PARI – This public event is on the second Friday of each month. The evening includes a tour of PARI, a presentation about astronomy or other scientific pursuits, and, weather permitting, observing the planets, Moon, and other celestial objects with PARI telescopes. Volunteers can assist with managing visitors to PARI in support of this program.
  • Special Observation Sessions – This is a public event held periodically. PARI staff depends greatly on volunteers to assist with showing visitors the night sky through the optical telescopes. Docents are also used for this program to give a tour before the viewing starts.
  • Educational Docent – An educational docent is trained to present an educational program offered by PARI. This volunteer can help with groups visiting PARI as well as offsite programs.
  • Help with educational programs –This opportunity includes set-up and breakdown of programs, supervision of groups moving around campus or helping to present a program. This is one of the first steps to becoming an educational docent.
  • Galaxy walk maintenance – This task is performed once a month and includes the inspection, upkeep and maintenance of the dozen markers that are included in the Galaxy Walk.
  • Organizing/ labeling of materials – With the many offsite programs offered by PARI, organizing is a huge job. Volunteers assist with keeping program materials organized. This job includes informing staff of low inventories of program materials and labeling new materials as they come in.
  • Seasonal Decorating – PARI needs spirited volunteers with decorating skills to assist with seasonal installing and removing decorations.
  • Develop a self-guided tour map – PARI offers self-guided tours Monday-Saturday. The need for a tour map continues to grow as PARI grows and welcomes more visitors. This volunteer or group of volunteers would develop a map so visitors know all the areas open to the public and the fun sights to visit at PARI.
  • Create a self-guided tour recording for MP3 player – This opportunity could go hand in hand with the development of the self-guided tour map. PARI already utilizes MP3 players to guide guests on the galaxy walk. The creation of a recording to walk visitors through PARI would be a great addition to the visitor experience.
  • Information sheets for visitors – This opportunity involves creating an information sheet on each of the PARI displays so visitors know exactly what they are looking at and why it is important to PARI.
  • Educational program laptop maintenance – PARI maintains a number of laptops used for our educational programs such as Duke TIP and 3D planets. Volunteers can assist in keeping these updated and ready to go for upcoming programs by helping to download and install updates.
  • Installing Ethernet connector plugs – Help keep PARI connected by assisting with the installation of RJ45 connectors onto cat5 network cables.
  • Help with cable pulls – Volunteers can assist with under floor installation of cables to connect computers to the PARI network.
  • Create a PARI scavenger hunt – A scavenger hunt would be a great way to introduce visitors to the publicly accessible areas of the PARI campus. We could use a volunteer to create versions for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Create PARI campus tour app – Create an app to aid in self-guided tours and specific attractions at PARI, like the Galaxy Walk or Hiking Trails. The app would be especially useful to visitors who arrive at times when a docent-led tour is not available, or who prefer to explore on their own with some guidance. This project could be ideal for a student and could possibly be done for school credit or even a class project.
  • And many more – bring your imagination to PARI and we’ll put it to work.