The Wilderness Center (TWC) is a private, non-profit nature center located in Wilmot, Ohio. It is dedicated to nature education, wildlife conservation, natural history research, and community service. It's main tract consists of 500+ acres in extreme southwestern Stark County, about 15 miles southwest of Canton.
Among the activities of TWC is a wide selection of "special interest clubs" operating under TWC's umbrella. Clubs devoted to birding, native plant study, nature photography, backpacking, the arts, and even fly fishing are thriving in a symbiotic relationship with TWC. The Wilderness Center Astronomy Club (WCAC) is one of the older clubs, founded in 1983.
Because TWC is a membership-driven organization, members of the WCAC are required to become members of TWC if they are not already members. TWC provides us with a place to meet, encouragement on many different projects, and a well-known community organization to give our efforts more credibility. In return we give TWC members, potential volunteers, programming and educational support. It has been a wonderful relationship, and both sides have benefited from it.
Monthly meetings are held at The Wilderness Center on the Last Friday of each month at 7:30 PM in the Planetarium with the exception of December when there is no meeting. Following a presentation on some astronomical topic we hold a short business session to plan club activities. We then go outside to observe if the weather permits. Meetings are open to the public and visitors are always welcome!
Public Viewing Nights
Public viewing nights are held on the First Friday of each month at The Wilderness Center Astronomy Education Building, rain or starshine. We start with a Planetarium show about the current night sky to help visitors orient themselves prior to going out and seeing the stars. The show starts at 8:00 year round. If it is clear, we will open the observatory and view through the Center's scopes and we will set up additional telescopes in the Sundial Plaza. If it is cloudy, we will show a short video of objects taken through the Center's scopes. Everyone is welcome, and it's free! If you plan to bring a large group or individuals with physical disabilities, please contact Robin Gill, club liaison, at The Wilderness Center.
Be sure to read our guide on what to expect at a Public Viewing Night as you plan your visit.
A Resource to the Community
Whenever some astronomical event of interest to the public may be taking place, the WCAC stands available to share information and encourage public understanding and enjoyment of eclipses of sun or moon, bright comets, favorable meteor showers, to name a few recent examples.
School Outreach Programs are offered. Classes are given a tour of the season's constellations and the opportunity to explore the sky with telescopes provided by club members. Funds received from such outreach efforts go to promote other educational projects and activities of the club.
Planetarium Presentations, using the Fred F. Silk planetarium at The Wilderness Center Astronomy Education Building, can be prepared by interested club members for use with school groups and visitors. Members have the opportunity to gain valuable experience researching topics, gathering pictures, writing scripts, and hosting tours of the seasonal constellations.