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Visitors experience rocket launch, other festivities at Francis Malcolm Science Center

EASTON, Maine — Kids and parents alike got to watch a model rocket launch at the Francis Malcolm Science Center open house in Easton on Saturday afternoon.

During the open house, the center showcased some of the hands-on programs they offer during the year including a butterfly tent, model rocket launches and planetarium shows.

Jim Orser, CEO of the Francis Malcolm Science Center and chairman of the board of directors, said that an estimated 5,000 kids visit the planetarium every year to take part in some of the various indoor and outdoor science programs available.

The center also offers outdoor experiences for students, such as snowshoeing and nature shows.

Orser said his parents built the planetarium 36 years ago. According to Orser, Malcolm owned 400 acres in Easton which once served as farmland. At Malcolm’s request, Orser’s parents built the science center on the property and dedicated it to Malcolm’s legacy.

Berz, the center’s planetarium director of more than 30 years, said that academic programs, such as STEAM –science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, which help to involve students in science is a “vital component of American success.”

It is also part of the Francis Malcolm Science Center mission “to provide a unique environment for learning experiences in science, nature and astronomy,” as stated on their website.

Berz said the center wants to help the community become engaged in scientific learning, application and experience. “We’re here to science people,” he said.

Before the last rocket launch of the day, Berz, wearing a blue astronaut flight suit, dedicated the flight to “all the important people of the science center and [its] teachers.” Kids and parents joined together in counting down the final moments before the launch.

Just minutes before hitting the red launch button, Berz faced the audience and asked all the children to raise their hands. “You are the future,” he said to them.

And then, liftoff.

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