It was a last minute request. OK, not actually the last minute, but two days is not much lead time to plan a public outreach event.
Fortunately there was not much to arrange, a single solar telescope and the standard table setup we keep packed and ready to go, all we had to do was show up. Drive up to the Pōhakuloa Training Area to join in their Earth Day events. There would be several hundred students from local schools, tables and displays from other organizations, a good outreach opportunity.
In ten years of driving past the front gates of PTA, I had never been inside. Why not, just an easy drive from Waikoloa, and I have a telescope that will do the job perfectly.
It seems odd that a military base would celebrate Earth Day. What do attack helicopters, live munitions, and troops have to do with the environment? The answer should not be that surprising… Military bases are often large effective nature reserves.
Large areas of land, much of which sits unused and undisturbed, are closed to public access. An active range needs huge safety and buffer zones around the firing ranges. Of the 133,000 acres that makes up PTA, only a small percentage is directly impacted by the training activities. The rest is home to a endemic and endangered species, closed to any activity that can disturb the land.