In late 2021, about two full years into the Covid pandemic, Stéphane Picard, by now an avid and proficient astronomer and astrophotographer, saw an opportunity and potential niche market for providing stargazing events and Private Star Parties and giving people a chance to see the night sky as a well-seasoned astronomer can.
Now everyone can enjoy the beauty of the night sky without spending thousands of dollars and putting in hundreds if not thousands of hours needed to become a proficient astronomer. Out of that vision and fired by an entrepreneurial mind with almost 25 years in marketing and sales, he launched Cliff Valley Astronomy. His inspiration came from his backyard, which has a cliff overlooking a valley while providing a low Southeast horizon. The perfect setting for any astronomer and one of the main reasons he fell in love with astronomy.
Initially, Cliff Valley Astronomy began offering Private Star Parties for small groups and saw early success and higher-than-expected bookings. It surpassed all expectations, which led to exploring and taking a closer look at branding out additional services. He understood the need to provide special events and astrotourism destination packages. It has now expanded to consulting with tourism operators and other tourism-related organizations.
Cliff Valley Astronomy Cares. Stéphane has an extensive corporate background, and with that in mind, he wanted to share more than his passion for astronomy and wanted to make sure Cliff Valley Astronomy should and would be a good corporate citizen. He firmly believes in giving back to the communities that support Cliff Valley Astronomy. By creating Cliff Valley Astronomy Cares, he pledges 5% of annual gross revenues for initiatives to give back to our communities. Cliff Valley Astronomy has partnered with the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation and the George Dumont Hospital Foundation to help them fundraise by doing special events where donations are collected or donating its services as prizes for auctions. All proceeds raised go directly to both organizations. In its first year, Cliff Valley Astronomy Cares has raised nearly $1,000.