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G.J. Fishman (NASA-MSFC), J.A. Mattei (AAVSO)
Amateur astronomers are, in general, an enthusiastic and dynamic group of individuals who can help greatly in astronomy public outreach and education programs. In the U.S., they outnumber professional astronomers by over a factor of ten. Over eighty amateur astronomers from all over the U.S. and abroad attended a unique workshop in Huntsville, Alabama in April of this year. Most attendees were provided with travel grants under the condition that they disseminate knowledge gained at the workshop to civic groups, astronomy clubs and science teacher groups in their home communities. Twelve lecturers were given over two days, primarily by active high-energy researchers from NASA-MSFC and NASA-GSFC. Funding for the workshop was provided by a variety of NASA-sponsored projects, offices within OSS and private funding sources. The workshop attendees were selected by the AAVSO, which also administered the funding for the workshop. This high-leverage educational and public outreach program was deemed to be highly successful and bodes well for similar, future workshops. Many of the participants have already begun to give public talks on HEA and GRBs.
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