Visitors at 31 Texas State Parks Will Get Solar Eclipse Viewing Gear, Thanks to Lyda Hill Philanthropies

Dallas-based Lyda Hill Philanthropies is donating 20,000 eclipse safety glasses, tabletop sun-spotter telescopes, telescope tripods and solar filters, binocular filters, smartphone sun photography adapters, and eclipse-themed books to Texas State Parks within the path of totality of the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Dallas-based Lyda Hill Philanthropies has donated a variety of specialty equipment to allow enhanced viewing of April 8’s rare total solar eclipse from any of the 31 Texas State Parks directly situated in the eclipse’s path.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies said it made the donation in part because of the potential impact witnessing an astronomical event like this can have on young minds. In turn, that could advance the nonprofit’s mission of inspiring young people who may pursue STEM and become the next generation of innovators and pioneers.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation said that “science nerds, skywatchers and lovers of the natural world” will be looking forward to the event with great anticipation.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, transforming daytime into dusk for several minutes along the eclipse’s path.

On April 8, the “path of totality,” where one can experience the total solar eclipse, will traverse Central and North America, including a wide swath of Texas.

In Texas, the eclipse will begin about 1:25 p.m. along the Texas/Mexico border, and end about 25 minutes later as the eclipse crosses the Texas/Oklahoma state line.

Texas State Parks in path of the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse. [Image: TPWD]

‘The stars absolutely aligned’

TPWF said the ideal parks are situated within the eclipse’s path of totality from Del Rio to Texarkana, and park staff are gearing up for huge crowds.

“Lyda Hill is a lifelong champion of the sciences, and her love for science education and passion for connecting more people to our natural world is evident in her countless good works,” TPWF Executive Director Anne Brown said in a statement. “Several months ago, the stars absolutely aligned when she approached us and wanted to help enhance the eclipse experience for the thousands of state park visitors who will be in the path of totality on this special day. We couldn’t be more grateful for Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ generosity, which will make this rare event even more spectacular.”

Equipment for safe eclipse viewing

The foundation’s donation includes 20,000 eclipse safety glasses, tabletop sun-spotter telescopes, telescope tripods and solar filters, binocular filters, smartphone sun photography adapters, and eclipse-themed books that will be distributed among the Texas State Parks that are within the path of totality ahead of the eclipse.

In January, we told you about the importance of proper viewing equipment—and why you should get your viewing glasses ASAP.

Tyler State Park [Photo: TPWF]

“Visiting a Texas State Park is an adventure on any day, but April 8 promises to be a treasured memory for those who have the opportunity to take in an unobstructed, spellbinding view of this monumental celestial event,” Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin said in a statement. “We are so thankful to Lyda Hill Philanthropies for this generous donation, and this specialty equipment will continue to be used and enjoyed by park visitors for years to come.”

On April 8, Texas State Park staff will offer special programming aimed at safely observing the eclipse, explaining the science behind the phenomenon, and inspiring an appreciation for its cultural and historical context.

“As a science enthusiast, I am glad to support efforts to allow more Texans to experience this special, rare phenomenon at one of our State Parks,” said Lyda Hill, entrepreneur and founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, said in a statement. “An astronomical event like a total solar eclipse is the sort of memory that can inspire a lifetime of appreciation for nature and science, something I wish for all fellow Texans.”

Last year, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced flights scheduled to operate in the direct and partial paths of April’s big event.

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