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Valuing Dark Skies

May 12th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

James D. Brown For at least half a century, astronomers have paid witness to the debilitating effects of artificial light on the night skies. In more recent years, growing science and our own innate understanding of a disconnection has led us to better understand that we are all suffering from a lack of dark skies. We not only suffer a human and spiritual disconnect without dark skies but there are also costs for our health and the environment.Cities and towns across the country have attempted for several years to adopt local laws to limit the adverse impacts of artificial light on the night sky. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has been at the forefront of this effort. IDA summarizes the primary damaging effects of artificial light as three-fold: (1) artificial skyglow – the diffused, pervasive light on the horizon; (2) glare – the visual discomfort and reduced visibility caused [...]

Lights Out in Flagstaff, Arizona!

May 11th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

Briana Bergstrom When the great earth, abandoning day, rolls up the deeps of the heavens and the universe, a new door opens for the human spirit, and there are few so clownish that some awareness of the mystery of being does not touch them as they gaze. For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars – pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time. Fugitive though the instant be, the spirit of man is, during it, ennobled by a genuine moment of emotional dignity, and poetry makes its own both the human spirit and experience. – Henry Beston, The Outermost House (1928) A Protected Night Sky Over Flagstaff Credit and Copyright: Dan & Cindy Duriscoe, FDSC, Lowell Obs., USNO No trip to Arizona is complete without a night spent gazing [...]

Taming the Night for Kid Friendly Dark Skies

May 2nd, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

Amanda Beck Revisions of classic fairytales to portray “villains” in new and complex ways has become a popular storytelling device these days, and it’s time to get to know another misunderstood phenomenon: the night. Going beyond quotidian worries of a dark sky, many of us can list several fond memories that take place when the sun is down—catching fireflies on a warm summer night, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, counting stars on a crisp winter evening, waiting for a shooting star. This Biophilic Cities newsletter is all about ways cities are embracing smarter policies regarding darkness, and we wanted to include some ideas of how to involve children in rethinking our relationship with the night sky. Build confidence inside. An easy way to celebrate the natural night sky is to pick bedtime stories that celebrate stars, nighttime adventures, and humankind’s rich history of storytelling about constellations. There are a plethora [...]

Geese Peace: A Strategy for Humane Co-Existance

March 2nd, 2015|Categories: Coexisting with Wildlife, Ideas & Tools|

Post written by Dita Beard Many citizens become frustrated when Canada Geese occupy our favorite outdoor recreation areas, especially those with bodies of water. Communities can be torn when faced with how manage citizen frustration and support wildlife. Often, lethal and other non-humane strategies are taken, but these strategies are ineffective over the long run.     The problem arose because various national and local agencies resolved to save the Canada geese after overhunting and the use of decoys brought them to the brink of extinction decades ago. Unfortunately, the tactics used to bolster the population of the Canada Goose resulted in non-migrating birds hatched outside of Canada. Due to predator avoidance and nesting behaviors, they tend to seek out areas with bodies of water and plenty of grass to eat nearby - areas that in urban and suburban settings are also in high demand for recreational use by local [...]