Solar eclipse a sight for shore eyes

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MANASQUAN — Manasquan Girl Scout leader Leah Yasenchak, brought her Troop 1918 girls to Windward Beach Park Monday to view a “once-in-lifetime” event. There, they joined with Girl Scout troops from Wall to Point Pleasant to don special protective glasses and watch the moon pass between the sun and the earth in a solar eclipse — an event that had not occurred since 1979, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA].

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a rare astronomical event,” said Ms. Yasenchak,

It was an experience shared all along the Jersey shore, including Manasquan’s Riddle Way Beach, where bathers paused to put on protective glasses to watch the moon partially cover the sun.

For the scouts gathered at Windward Beach, it was also an opportunity for scientific ingenuity, as some of them had fashioned their own protective viewers from Girl Scout cookie boxes.

Kelly McAllister, of Wall Township, director of recruitment for the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore, said the eclipse provided a chance to make STEM tangible for the girls.

“Girl Scouts of America they have a research institute and they said about 74 percent of girls are interested in STEM but only 14 percent thought that was a career choice for them,” Ms. McAllister said.

Emilia Thompson, 10 of Manasquan Troop 1918, said she loves participating in STEM projects. “I get to work on projects with people. It’s fun,” she said.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.