Dark Skies, Bright Kids is an entirely volunteer-run program out of the UVa Astronomy Department with the core mission of enhancing science education for elementary school students targeted at underserved schools in rural Virginia. The program seeks to foster the natural curiosity of children by helping them to explore the Universe in a social setting with fun, hands-on activities.

The main Goals of DSBK are:

The backbone of the DSBK program is the two-month Astronomy Club that is held at a different elementary school each semester. This long-term commitment enables the volunteers to build meaningful relationships with the students and take learning to a deeper level than is possible with “one-off” events. The semester-long program is designed to lay the foundation for a life-long interest in science.

In addition, DSBK carries out a variety of activities, including special astronomy days featuring their portable planetarium, family observing nights, and regional star parties, and participation at community-based events.

Dark Skies Bright Kids is run by volunteers from the University of Virginia. The program is led by professor Kelsey Johnson and has volunteer support from graduate and undergraduate students. These volunteers are the backbone of the program. No astronomy background is required to volunteer with the club!

DSBK in the Media

Support for Dark Skies, Bright Kids! is generously provided by:



Although this organization has members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in its activities and affairs, the organization is not a part of or an agency of the University. It is a separate and independent organization, which is responsible for and manages its own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise or control the organization and is not responsible for the organization’s contracts, acts or omissions.