Fort Vancouver trying to give second life to eclipse glasses - KPTV - FOX 12

Total Solar Eclipse

Fort Vancouver trying to give second life to eclipse glasses

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

The solar eclipse may have come and gone, but there's a chance to give all of those eclipse glasses a second chance to serve others.

On the day of the total solar eclipse, thousands filled the lawn at Fort Vancouver to witness history.

"It was a huge event, there were thousands of eclipse glasses sold and distributed throughout the area," said Bob Cromwell, Chief of Interpretation at Fort Vancouver, said.

Thousands of sets of eclipse glasses are of little use to those crowds any longer and are likely collecting dust somewhere at home.

As it turns out, though, there's a chance to pay it forward to others who live halfway around the world.

Employees at the national park are now determined to collect as many eclipse glasses as they can and send them off to Astronomers Without Borders. The nonprofit plans to make sure those glasses get into the hands of children who happen to be in the path of totality during the 2019 eclipse.

"They'll specifically go over to southeast Asia and South America," Cromwell explained. "A lot of these schools are actually very poorly funded, and many kids cannot necessarily afford things like eclipse glasses. So, this is a wonderful opportunity to re-utilize these glasses and give them to kids in need."

If there are glasses left over after the astronomical event in two years, Astronomers Without Borders will distribute them to schools in countries with eclipses beyond 2019.

"They will go through all the glasses sent and individually check them to verify that they still meet those ISO standards,” Cromwell told FOX 12. “If they got wet or mildewed, they may not be usable. But, those actual lenses, as long as they aren't torn  or scratched, they will hold up for a number of years."

Officials said Fort Vancouver distributed some 1,500 glasses to people in the community before the eclipse back in August. Their goal now is to get at least half of that amount back to send off to the nonprofit.

So far, they are well on their way.

"Looking at the box, there's several hundred in there, and we've already emptied the box once and it's been re-filled," Cromwell said. "We're always looking for ways to give back to the community. We are strong advocates of education and we thought this was the right thing to do, to allow people around the world to continue to learn about celestial events like this.”

Fort Vancouver is collecting glasses through the end of October. To see how to donate eclipse glasses at the fort, log on to NPS.gov/FoVa.

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