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By Shelby Taylor

Speakers sought for Dark Sky symposium



HIGH SKY: The Goldendale Observatory under a spread of stars.

An upcoming event will be held at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles on Aug. 18 and at the Goldendale Observatory State Park in Goldendale on August 19th is calling for interested speakers to present on Dark Skies issues at the Gorge Dark Sky Symposium.

Nicole Lundin, Founder of Two Mountain Marketing details the significance: "The Goldendale Observatory is one of only 20 dark-sky parks on earth certified by the International Dark-Sky Association."

According to the International Dark Sky Association's website, "An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment."

With population growth and city expansion, protecting dark skies around the world has been increasingly difficult. According to a recent association statement, "The symposium will be focused on bringing together lighting professionals, astronomy experts, lighting vendors and large end-users, utilities, and city and county decision-makers to discuss light pollution issues, Dark-Sky standards and possible solutions in the Columbia River Gorge, such as stocking energy efficient LED options that meet standards and point of sale rebate programs."

Goldendale itself has experienced progression in its light pollution in recent years. Goldendale Mayor Michael Canon has stated,  "Goldendale will be lowering our street light annual costs by as much as $40,000 per year through the LED lighting retrofit project." These upgrades have already begun to take take place, but even though the lights meet the Dark Sky Association's requirements, Goldendale still experiences noticeable light pollution.  

"This increase in light pollution poses a risk to the rural dark sky in the Columbia River Gorge and Goldendale Observatory State Park's International Dark-Sky Certification," according to the press release.

"Speakers are asked to address topics related to creating an energy-efficient, Dark Skies community ranging from light pollution, dark-sky communities (successes or failures), LED technology, energy efficiency or waste, lighting for safety and security that meets dark-sky standards, to lighting control."

These issues are real, and most importantly, close to home. "The new project, Gorge Night Sky, has received funding support from a Google grant and is taking aim at light pollution by focusing on community education of Dark-Sky standards and energy efficient LED options."

The symposium was made possible by the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, the Friends of the Goldendale Observatory and the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce to focus on energy efficiency and astronomy education.

To get involved, applications and abstracts for presenters are being accepted online at:

Those selected will be receive emails by the end of July 2016 to confirm their participation and awarded full-conference registration in recognition of their participation.

For more information, contact Mid-Columbia Economic Development District at: (541) 296-2266; TTY 711.


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