The following three programs are at the core of the Observatory's mission and illustrate how actively FOTO supports underprivileged students by funding both programs at Griffith Observatory, in the community, and the transportation to attend those programs. Each program supports science education and literacy for school children.
1. Adopt a Class for the School Field Trip Program
Due to budgetary cutbacks in the City Of Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory's School Field Trip Program for fifth graders that addresses state science standards was suspended. Beginning in fall 2008, FOTO committed to funding this program which costs nearly $200,000 annually. This funding enables 30,000 school children to participate in this curriculum-based program each year, over half of whom are from schools qualifying for Title 1 funds.
2. Bus Scholarship Program
Approximately 10,000 Los Angeles Unified School District fifth graders from the east San Fernando Valley and south and East Los Angeles reserved for the 2008-09 School Field Trip Program through this program. FOTO provides funding for bus transportation so that these students may visit Griffith Observatory, a field trip unaffordable without this aid.
3. Cosmic Conjunction
Griffith Observatory's educational focus is to inspire personal wonder and awe in the cosmos around us. Cosmic Conjunction, a new annual event, brings together different aspects of the humanities and astronomy to enhance our understanding of the interconnectedness of the world.
In honor of the International Year of Astronomy, on October 6, 2009 FOTO presented a FREE concert (with free bus transportation provided by FOTO) at the Greek Theatre with a 67-piece orchestra for under-served middle and high school aged children. The program featured five centuries of music inspired by the night sky and concluded with the premiere of Observations, a new composition narrated live by Leonard Nimoy.
Nearly 4000 under-served youth in our community explored the
conjunction between astronomy and music. In celebration of Griffith Observatory's 75th Anniversary our latest Cosmic Conjunction took place on May 15, 2010.
A new planetarium show exploring the relationship of the Aurora Borealis myths to our current understanding of the Sun’s role in making those awesome colored skies was debuted that night. This same show will be made available to thousands of schoolchildren in the 2010/2011 school year, along with a special tour and presentation on the Sun.