Undeterred by the frigid temperatures, participants gathered at the Waterford Foundation to hear a presentation by Dr. Genevieve de Messieres on Dark Night Skies. Dr. de Messieres, has a PhD in astronomy from the University of Virginia and works for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Earth to Sky program, which is designed to help place-based interpreters and informal educators (like park rangers) hone their climate communication skills. Her presentation covered the importance of dark skies to humans, animals and the environment. She highlighted five principles for outdoor lighting. It must be: useful (have a clear purpose), targeted (aimed down and shielded), low light levels (2000 or lower), controlled (motion sensored or on a timer), and the appropriate color (warm). Following her presentation (view slides), attendees were treated to a guided tour of the clear winter sky. Conditions were perfect for viewing the stars.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy thanks Dr. de Messieres for educating and informing the program attendees and the Waterford Foundation for providing the venue.