Idaho’s Dark Skies

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Sponsored by:

Environmental Resource Center

Project Champion:

Alisa McGowan

What are the appropriate grade levels?


Is there a limit to the number of participants?

None Fall and Winter; 3 classes in the spring

The theme for this project is:

Astronomy, Environment, Clean Air, Night Skies

Local groups involved in maintaining the Dark Sky Reserve have requested the assistance of students in educating our community on the heritage of Dark Skies, local stargazing opportunities, and the importance of reducing light pollution. For this project students will participate in lessons and activities that the community better understand the importance of the Dark Sky Reserve. Classrooms can choose to create community outreach pieces, such as books, sculptures, posters or media, and there is the potential to participate in light pollution monitoring efforts (5th grade and up).

A Little Background…
In 2017, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designated the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the twelfth such reserve worldwide. IDA awarded the area Gold Tier status, their highest ranking for night sky quality. They City of Ketchum received national recognition as the first city in Idaho to be designated as an International Dark Sky Community, dedicated to reducing light pollution and preserving the night skies.

Light pollution is defined by the IDA as the inappropriate or excessive use of manmade light. Light pollution effects migration, pollination, reproduction, and sleep patterns in wildlife. It can increase the risks for obesity, depressions, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more in humans. 80% of people in the US reside in areas where light pollution disrupts their view of the night sky.