History of the Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk
"Even though the sky is accessible to everyone, few people look up to appreciate it. I believe I can change this..."Eli was born and raised in Anchorage. His love for astronomy inspired him to organize and host an Astronomy Day event several years in a row. He included a planet walk of the inner planets, a telescope for solar viewing, a mirror making demonstration, and information to learn more about astronomy. On other occasions, he has set up his telescope in Town Square for a solar eclipse and for summer solstice.
~ Eli Menaker
In Eli's senior year at Service High School he was president of the National Honor Society, captain of the cross country ski team, and principal cellist in the orchestra. Eli also worked as a lead science guide for The Imaginarium Science Discovery Center. Somehow, he also found time to design a permanent planet walk for the Municipality -- The Anchorage Lightspeed Planet Walk. The idea for this project was ignited by a visit to the Carl Sagan Memorial Planet Walk in Ithaca, New York.
The Anchorage Rotary Club began working with Eli in the fall of 2003. Eli and the Anchorage Rotary Club received final approval from the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission on August 12th, 2004 before Eli headed off to Middlebury College in Vermont. In the summer of 2005, the completed portion of the Anchorage Light Speed Planet walk was formally presented to the Municipality. Eli researched and wrote all the text for the interpretive signs for the sun and nine planet stations and worked with graphic artist Charles Marshall on the sign design. He also worked with artist Julie Matthews to make sure the sun spots on the tile model of the sun are represented as accurately as possible.
Anchorage Rotary's Centennial Project
The Anchorage Rotary chose Eli's Lightspeed Planet Walk as its Centennial project to commemorate Rotary International's 100 years of community and international service. In 2005, Eli was given a Spirit of Youth award for making an outstanding contribution to the community. In 2006, the Anchorage Rotary Club and Eli were presented with the "Heart of Anchorage" award by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership.