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Plaza Dedication Scheduled on B&A Trail
On Saturday, April 9, the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails are dedicating the plaza surrounding the Sun sculpture in Glen Burnie to Stan Lebar, founding President of the organization. The ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m. The Friends will also be recognizing Unity Gardens, Inc., the Annapolis foundation which awarded a one thousand dollar grant to the Friends to install a native plant garden adjacent to the plaza. Stan Lebar Plaza is located on the west side of the B&A Trail just south of Aquahart Road, behind the Harundale Plaza shopping center.
Stanley Lebar (1925 – 2009) grew up in Brooklyn, NY and served in the Army Air Force during World War II before graduating from the University of Missouri. In 1953, he took a job with what became the aerospace division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Without question, his most notable project was leading a team of 75 engineers over a five-year period to develop a portable television camera for NASA which was both lightweight and rugged enough to survive the rigors of space flight. That camera, which used microelectronics to shrink a typical 400 pound studio camera into a 7 pound package, sent back the black and white images of Neil Armstrong’s July 20, 1969 first steps on the surface of the moon. Over 500 million people worldwide viewed live broadcasts from the Apollo 11 mission and witnessed Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin planting the American flag on the lunar surface.
Lebar’s team also designed the first color cameras used in space, including one inside the Apollo 11 command module. Mr. Lebar earned a 1970 Emmy Award for “Outstanding Coverage of a Special Event”. Westinghouse-designed cameras were used in several follow-up space missions as well. The technology used in those cameras was instrumental in ushering in the age of worldwide live news coverage we enjoy today.
After his 1986 retirement, Mr. Lebar became the first president of the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails, and his fascination with space lead him to propose and develop a scale model of our solar system known as the Planet Walk on a 4.7 mile segment of the B&A Trail between Glen Burnie and Severna Park. He also helped lead a NASA effort to restore and digitally enhance the footage from the Apollo 11 mission, a project completed shortly before his death in December, 2009.
The centerpiece of the Stan Lebar Plaza is a 26-foot high stainless steel and crystal sculpture entitled “Spectrum” by Silver Spring sculptor Judy Sutton Moore. Facing benches make the Plaza an attractive rest stop for users of the B&A Trail as well as residents of the Harundale neighborhood. The large bed of native plantings containing viburnum, nandina, ferns and native wildflowers, provided through the Unity Gardens grant, contributes greatly to the relaxed atmosphere of the plaza. NASA-funded signage providing background information on the Sun completes the plaza.Following the dedication ceremony, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. (weather permitting), the Friends, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and the Anne Arundel Community College Astronomy Club are sponsoring their annual Planet Walk. Each planetary location along the Walk will have scientists and astronomers from NASA and local universities giving presentations and answering questions about the planets and current space research. The Planet Walk will be followed by evening multimedia presentations and a Star Gazing party at Anne Arundel Community College’s Arnold campus.
Solar System Events Scheduled for April 9
On Saturday April 9, The Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails, the Anne Arundel Community College Astronomy Club and the Astrophysics Science Division of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center have teamed up to offer a day of free public programs focusing on our solar system. The events will include a Planet Walk on the B&A Trail, multimedia presentations at Anne Arundel Community College and an evening Star Gazing Party at the AACC Observatory.
The day’s events will kick off with a Planet Walk along a 4.7 mile segment of the B&A Trail between Glen Burnie and Severna Park. This segment of the Trail features two sculptures and ten information stations representing the Sun and the planets of the Solar System, with each planet’s station spaced its proportional distance from the Sun. From 11:00 am until 3:30 pm, planetary scientists and astronomers from NASA/Goddard, area colleges and universities and local astronomy clubs will be at each of the planet stations to provide additional information about that planet and answer questions.
Participants can walk or bicycle the 4.7 mile course between the Sun Sculpture, located just south of Aquahart Road behind Harundale Plaza in Glen Burnie and the Pluto sculpture, located just north of the Earleigh Heights Road Ranger Station in Severna Park. The event is free and free parking is located adjacent to each end of the Planet Walk. It is recommended that participants start at the Sun Station. The event will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain.
Several evening events are also scheduled at Anne Arundel Community College’s Arnold campus. At 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, two free public multimedia presentations will be presented in Room 110 of the College’s Dragun Science Building. Dr. Jane Rigby of the Astrophysics Division, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center will present “How to Build a Galaxy” at 6:00 p.m. She will be followed at 7:00 p.m. by Greg Redfern, Solar System Ambassador from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory presenting “The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater”. Between the two presentations, drawings for the daytime Planet Walk raffle will be held. The multimedia presentations will be presented regardless of weather conditions.
Following the two presentations, beginning at 8:00 pm, the AACC Astronomy Club will host a free public Star Gazing Party at the College Observatory. The Observatory is located outside Parking Lot “B” on the Arnold campus. Participants will have the opportunity to utilize the Observatory’s telescopes with the assistance of Astronomy Club members and may also bring their own telescopes. The Star Gazing Party will be cancelled if overcast conditions or inclement weather prevent making observations.
The events of April 9 will give participants a chance to gain greater insight into the makeup of our solar system as well as gain knowledge of some of the ongoing research which continues to bring us new and exciting revelations. Additional information about the day’s events is also available on Facebook and at www.friendsofaatrails.org.
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Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails
Planet Walk Information
We are moving forward with our fundraising efforts to add to the Planet Walk. Our next goal is to complete Mercury and Venus. The plans and drawings for the combined sculpture are completed. We are awaiting funds to move forward with the completion of this world class project.
If you drove a minivan to the sun, without bathroom breaks, do you know how long it would take? Stop by the Sun station, visit the sculpture and learn interesting facts about the sun.
If you are interested in sponsoring, or helping to sponsor a planet on the Planet Walk contact us at 410-695-1137
2005 Press Release WB&A:
Phase 1 of the WB&A Trail Park is open and is getting rave reviews from our friends in West County. They can travel 2.5 miles between Odenton Road and Strawberry Lake Way along the old WB&A right-of-way, but when they add the Odenton Road Bike Path and the system of trails in Piney Orchard they can enjoy an entire afternoon on the public trail system. The question they ask the staff most often is “When will you finish the WB&A Trail Park”? Well, the answer is very soon.
Construction will begin on phase 2 of the WB&A Trail Park this summer. We will manage a two-part construction plan. First we will build two bridges south of Strawberry Lake Way, one crossing a small tributary and the other crossing the Little Patuxent River. Both bridges will be very substantial structures to accommodate the equipment needed to build the trail. Once these bridges are in place we will grade and pave the trail surface between Strawberry Lake Way and Patuxent Road. Then we complete the drainage and the landscaping and, if all goes well, Phase 2 of the WB&A should be operational in 2006.
I learned one more bit of good news concerning the WB&A Trail recently. The County purchased six acres of land from Constellation Properties along Patuxent Road. Our plan is to build a future parking lot for trail visitors and possibly a Ranger Station for the WB&A Trail Park. When we completed the purchase Constellation gave the County an additional 200 acres of wetlands along the WB&A right-of-way to add to our greenway system. These two 100 acre parcels north and south of Patuxent Road allow the County to connect Patuxent Ponds Park to the greenway and protect some very sensitive wetlands important to the health of the Patuxent River. It’s the perfect gift. Thank you Constellation Properties.
Press Releases from Friends
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