October 9, 2015 St. Louis Eclipse Workshop


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Date: Friday, October 9, 2015

Time: 9:00 am – 2:30 pm (doors open at 8:30 am)

Location: Saint Louis Science Center's James S. McDonnell Planetarium 
                Forest Park at the intersection of Clayton Avenue and Faulkner Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110

Who Should Attend: City, county, nonprofit and business organizations interested in event planning for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

Cost: $45.00 per person (registration is limited to 60 attendees) **


Sorry, we are "Sold Out"

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About The Workshop

This workshop is designed for city, county, nonprofit and business organizations who wish to host an event around the August 21, 2017 eclipse. Due to space limitations, registration is limited to 60 participants.

Attendees will learn the basics about a total solar eclipse and why the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is a big deal for the continental USA, Missouri and the St. Louis regional area. Speakers will provide updates on the national effort to plan for the eclipse including preparations underway in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. Closer to home, you will learn about eclipse events already scheduled in St. Joseph, Missouri and Carbondale, Illinois where planners are already seeing notable interest by eclipse viewers. If your organization is even thinking about planning an event for the 2017 Solar Eclipse, you will want to attend this workshop.

Workshop Agenda


Event Details



LOCATION: Saint Louis Science Center's James S. McDonnell Planetarium

8:30 am – 9:00 am

Doors Open/Registration



9:00 am – 9:10 am



Speaker: Christian Greer, Chief Education and Programs Officer, Saint Louis Science Center



 9:10 am – 9:20 am

 Overview of the Day


 Speaker/Master of Ceremonies:  Don Ficken, Chair, St. Louis Eclipse 2017 Task Force



9:20 am – 10:00 am

Presentation: “Eclipse 101”


Speaker: Anna Green, Planetarium Manager, Saint Louis Science Center's James S. McDonnell Planetarium


Learn the basics about a total solar eclipse including what makes it special. Understand the path of the August 21, 2017 eclipse. Learn about eclipse safe viewing practices.


NOTE: Includes a Planetarium show that will simulate the eclipse.


LOCATION: Saint Louis Science Center Main Building, T-Rex Conference Room

10:00 am – 10:15 am




10:15 am – 10:45 am

Presentation:   National Planning for the Eclipse


Speaker:   Michael Bakich, Senior Editor and Photo Editor, Astronomy Magazine


The total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 will sweep across the U.S. Learn about the effort that is underway by the American Astronomical Society and other organizations to prepare the nation for this epic event.  Learn more about events planned within the eclipse path including Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.



10:45 am – 11:00 am




11:00 am – 11:30 am

Presentation:   St. Joseph Airport and Planning for the Eclipse


Speaker:   Michael Bakich, Senior Editor and Photo Editor, Astronomy Magazine


Michael Bakich with his company, Front Page Science, will host a huge public observing event at Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph, Missouri on August 21, 2017. In addition to public viewing sessions, a full weekend will include lectures by experts in astronomy, teacher workshops, and an astronomy-themed concert by the St. Joseph Symphony. Get the details behind his plans, his expected turnout and issues to consider for your own event.



11:30 am – Noon

Presentation: Carbondale Illinois Tourism Planning


Speaker: Cinnamon Wheeles-Smith, Executive Director, Carbondale Tourism


In March 2015, Southern Illinois University Carbondale launched the 2017 Eclipse Steering Committee, co-chaired by Bob Baer, Professor of Physics, and Scott Ishman, Associate Dean of the College of Science. With the expectation of 30,000-50,000 visitors converging onto the SIUC campus and the Carbondale area, the committee is creating an extensive “town-gown” plan to provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience.   There are concerns about lodging, transportation and traffic congestion due to the large number of visitors expected. Learn more about the issues they are considering and their plans to address these issues.



12:00 pm – 12:40 pm

Lunch/Networking Time


Buffet lunch included with registration fee



12:40 pm – 1:10 pm

Presentation: Managing Large Events


Speaker: Steve Pozaric, General Chairman of Fair St. Louis 2015


From stunning fireworks over the Grand Basin, popular music by big-name stars and tasty food in a family-friendly atmosphere, Fair St. Louis (formerly the Veiled Prophet Fair) offers many lessons for organizations wanting to plan a weekend of fun surrounding the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Learn about the factors that go into planning a large event and what it takes to plan an event that will surpass all expectations.



1:10 pm – 2:25 pm

Panel Discussion: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse – Planning a great event


Moderator:  Matt Chambers, Meteorologist, KMOV Channel 4



Michael Bakich, Senior Editor and Photo Editor, Astronomy Magazine
James Schmieder, Assistant City Administrator, Union, Missouri
Dr. Angela Speck, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Missouri - Columbia
Cinnamon Wheeles-Smith, Executive Director, Carbondale Tourism


Panelists will discuss issues, opportunities and risks related to successful hosting activities related to total solar eclipse event.



2:25 pm – 2:30 pm

Wrap-up/Program Concludes


About the Speakers:

MIchael Bakich

About Michael Bakich

Michael E. Bakich is senior editor and photo editor of Astronomy magazine. He has authored five books on Astronomy and has traveled to 13 total solar eclipses as a guide and eclipse expert. Michael serves on a national task force under the American Astronomical Society to help prepare the public for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. In Missouri, he has arranged a huge public eclipse-watching event in St. Joseph at Rosecrans Memorial Airport which lies in the northwest part of the Show-Me State. He currently hosts the only 2017 eclipse-related podcast on iTunes.


 Matt Chambers

About Matt Chambers

This Show Me State native and long-time storm enthusiast seems to be working his way across Interstate 70.  Matt was born in St. Joseph, MO, about 45 minutes north of Kansas City.  He landed his first broadcast meteorology gig at the age of 19 in Columbia, MO, and joined the 4Warn Storm Team at KMOV in St. Louis in 2005.  Since then, Matt's family has more than doubled in size.  He and his wife Stephanie, also from St. Joseph, welcomed Isaac into the world in 2007, and 20 months later, Adelaide was born in 2009.  His youngest, Xavier, arrived in 2011.

In addition to serving as meteorologist for News 4 at Noon, Matt joined Great Day St. Louis in 2009 as co-host every weekday morning from 10:00 to 11:00 AM.  This was an entirely new adventure for him, but he enjoys the show and is excited to work with the incredibly talented Great Day crew.

The American Meteorological Society has given Matt the distinction of "Certified Broadcast Meteorologist."  Matt is an active member of both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association.  His on-air talents have been recognized by the Missouri Broadcasters Association with awards for "Best Weathercast" and "Best Children's Programming."

 Don Ficken

About Don Ficken

Don Ficken is member of both the St. Louis Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri.   Don is a semi-retired business executive who loves introducing the public to the wonders of the night sky. He has logged hundreds of hours of public outreach since he became involved in amateur astronomy in 2008.

Don has chaired the St. Louis Eclipse 2017 Task Force since its inception in October 2014. The collaborative approach the task force is taking to make St. Louis aware of opportunities related to 2017 eclipse is placing St. Louis in the forefront of nationwide eclipse planning initiatives

Additionally, Don has managed the St. Louis Astronomical Society’s Library Telescope Program since it was introduced into St. Louis in November of 2014. In this program, library patrons can checkout telescopes from a library like book. The program has been very popular in the St. Louis area with 18 area libraries participating and 57 telescopes in circulation.

Anna Green

About Anna Green

Anna Green is Planetarium Manager for the James S. McDonnell Planetarium. She oversees and participates in the delivery of all programming related to the James S. McDonnell Planetarium and the Saint Louis Science Center’s Space and Planetary Science content areas



Christian Greer

About Christian Greer

Christian Greer is Chief Education and Programs Officer at the Saint Louis Science Center. He oversees a diverse team who work together to facilitate learning within informal, experience-based environments featuring science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Greer’s 20-plus career experiences include the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Hive Learning Network, and Pepperdine University.



 Steve Pozarick

About Steve Pozaric

Steven E. Pozaric, J.D is a partner in the law firm of Armstrong Teasdale LLP where he has practiced law since 1998.  He is in the corporate services group with a focus in transactional and health law. He received his J.D. from St. Louis University in 1998, an M.B.A from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in 1993 and a B.B.A. from Texas Christian University in 1989.  Prior to law school, he worked in corporate finance for public and private companies.

Steve serves as General Chairman of Fair Saint Louis, a Fourth of July tradition for more than three decades.  The Fair is a three-day event attracting hundreds of thousands of people. This historic celebration features live music, educational activities, air shows and spectacular fireworks that have been ranked among the top 10 in the country.

Prior to serving as General Chairman, he served as Chairman of the Venue Management Committee and also served as the General Counsel for Fair Saint Louis.  Steve is also a member of the Board of Directors of Christ Community Lutheran School, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri and Fair St. Louis Foundation.

 James Schmieder

About James Schmieder
James Schmieder is the Assistant City Administrator for the City of Union, Missouri.  Prior to working with the City of Union.  James was the Director of Building and Zoning for the City of Ladue. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Truman State University.

James enjoys volunteering through various organizations and serves as an Assistant Den Leader with the boy scouts



 Dr. Angela Speck

About Dr. Angela Speck
Dr. Speck is Professor and Director of Astronomy at the University of Missouri Columbia.  She also is Co-Chair of American Astronomical Society’s Eclipse Task Force which is planning for the 2017 Total Eclipse in the US.   In addition to helping the US get ready for the 2017 Total Eclipse, she has big plans for Columbia MO and students at Mizzou when the eclipse passes through Missouri.

Named after the iconic Angela Davis, she likes bright colors, is a nerd at heart, and has wanted to be an astronaut since she was 5 years old. Originally from Yorkshire (England) she went to college in London where she was able to pursue her childhood dreams by majoring in astrophysics. After a brief stint as an R&D technician in a Lancashire company run by crazy new-age hippies, she returned to London and completed a PhD in astronomy. While she loves living in Columbia, sometimes she still gets cravings for good curry and unadulterated Wensleydale cheese.

Cinnamon Wheeles-Smith

About Cinnamon Wheeles-Smith

Cinnamon Wheeles-Smith joined the Carbondale Tourism staff as the Executive Director in 2012. She is a Carbondale native, and received her Bachelor's in Communications from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.



Workshop Sponsors


Platinum Sponsor

Saint Louis Science Center



Premier Knowledge Solutions


Materials Sponsors

St. Louis Astronomical Society 



Astronomical Society
of Eastern Missouri