Badlands Astronomy Festival to Shed Light on the Disappearing Night Sky
By: Tricia Smedley- Badlands Interpretative Ranger / Festival Organizer / Volunteer Coordinator- 2012 B2T Participant
Hello from the Badlands of South Dakota! I am getting ready to host the Badlands National Park’s first Astronomy Festival Aug 17th-19th. We have invited space science professionals from around the country to come educate, entertain and enthrall the public with interactive talks ranging from college level astronomy to grade-school intro to backyard astronomy.
Our purpose in hosting this event is to shed light on a lesser publicized resource – the dark night sky and Milky Way. Like all public land with valuable natural resources, the dark night sky and Milky Way also needs protection and preserving. Our dark night sky which provides us with a sense of inspiration, curiosity and wonder is disappearing. With the constantly growing concrete jungle expanding its borders, “Endangered Nightscapes” and “light pollution” need to be brought into the forefront of conservation activities.
Public science education and space science outreach are also two things which need to be brought into the public conversation. During the Festival, the visiting public has a wide-range of educational and entertaining activities to experience. We will host scientific talks all three days as well as workshops, solar telescope observing, a movie screening, a book-signing, “Meet-the-Missileer” at the Rocket-Launching workshop, and of course, night-time telescope observing with “Issac Newton”. Think APPL Vegas but with Newton!
APPL Board member Audrey Peterman will be here signing copies of her new book “Looking for True Happiness? Our National Parks Deliver!”
APPL B2T participants, board members and APPL 2012 convention presenters and participants helped me quite a bit in the planning and organizing of this Festival. B2T is an amazing “think-tank” for young people to brainstorm, create, and network. Thanks again for an amazing experience. I hope to see you all at the 2013 APPL Convention in Portland.
It is through organizations like APPL that this message of “Night Sky Preservation” can reverberate. APPL has many partners who are on the forefront of this issue and have the ability to reach the masses in an effort to cause awareness and promote preservation.
Badlands Astronomy Festival website: www.badlandsastrofest.org
Badlands Astronomy Festival Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BadlandsAstronomy