The Wilderness Center to Offer Virtual Dark Sky Conservation Conference

Artificial light at night has revolutionized the way we live and work outdoors, but it has come at a steep price.

Artificial lights are now overpowering the darkness; our cities and surrounding urban and industrial developments glow at night. When used indiscriminately, outdoor lighting can disrupt wildlife, impact human health, waste money, and energy, contribute to climate change, and block our view of the universe. The Wilderness Center is hosting the (virtual) Dark Sky Conservation Conference on Saturday, November 14th to address these issues.

Artificial light at night is having negative and deadly effects on many creatures including birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects. Research is showing that insect populations around the world are declining and that artificial light at night is an important and often overlooked contributor to this decline.  Every year the light from brightly lit buildings and towers leads to the death of millions of birds by collision with these buildings.

“Migrating birds depend on seasonal cues to begin their migration,” says TWC Senior Naturalist Carrie Elvey. “Artificial lights can cause them to migrate too early or too late causing them to miss ideal climate conditions for nesting, foraging, and other behaviors.”

In addition to harming our wildlife, it is estimated that at least 30 percent of all outdoor lighting in the U.S is wasted, mostly by lights that aren’t shielded. This waste adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

“Today, millions of people have never seen the Milky Way,” says TWC Astronomy Education Specialist Robin Gill. “The night sky is our heritage. It has inspired science, religion, philosophy, art, and literature. Experiencing the night sky provides perspective and inspiration and leads us to reflect on our humanity and our place in the universe.”

Speakers from the International Dark-Sky Association and The Wilderness Center will come together on November 14 to address the issues of light pollution, its impacts, and – most importantly – what you can do in your home to make a difference. With lots of concrete advice about choosing proper lights and using them wisely, this conference kicks off The Wilderness Center’s efforts to help our communities be part of the solution, one light at a time. To learn more about the conference and register, visit wildernesscenter.org/dark-sky.

Dark Sky Conservation Conference Itinerary
10:30 am
Welcome

Jeanne Gural, Executive Director | The Wilderness Center

10:45 am
The International Dark-Sky Association: What We Do and International Dark Sky Places Program Accreditation

Adam Dalton, International Dark Sky Places Program Manger | IDA (International Dark Sky Association)
Just what is light pollution? What kind of affect does it have on the surrounding environment, and what can we do about it? Adam will address these questions and give us information on the IDA’s Dark Sky Friendly Home Lighting Program and Dark Sky Places Program.

12:30 pm
Saving the Night Sky

Terry Mann, Ohio Chapter President | IDA
Terry will discuss current projects, issues and initiatives being tackled by the Ohio Chapter of the IDA.

1:15 pm
Understanding Dark Sky Friendly Lighting Design and Applications

Pete Strasser, Technical Director | IDA
You’ll be ready to get started in your own backyard after Pete gets down to the nitty-gritty and shows us how to conduct a home outdoor lighting inventory! He will discuss the five principles of responsible outdoor lighting and share examples of dark sky friendly (and not-so-friendly) lighting options for your home.

2:15 pm
Dark Matters: Why Nature Needs the Night Life

Carrie Elvey, Community Engagement Coordinator & Senior Naturalist | The Wilderness Center
It has been well documented that light pollution has detrimental effects on both plants and wildlife. Carrie will share the various ways in which migration, phenology, and behavior are impacted and examine several case studies on mitigating these effects.

2:45 pm
Dark Sky Conservation with The Wilderness Center

Robin Gill, Astronomy Education Specialist & Dark Sky Conservation Project Lead | The Wilderness Center
Robin will share information on TWC’s  exciting new Dark Sky Conservation project, and how we can work together to make a difference in our night sky.

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