IDA Chapters & Networking

Guest: Bettymaya Foott
Director of Engagement
International Dark Sky Association

Download a high quality pdf of this article here

Image: Dead Horse State Park Panorama | Bettymaya Foott

“Our goals are to advocate for the protection of the night sky, educate the public and policymakers about night sky conservation, promote environmentally responsible outdoor lighting, and empower the public with the tools and resources to help bring back the night.”

To Preserve & Protect

The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1988 with the mission “to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting.” IDA is dedicated to protecting the night skies for present and future generations with goals to advocate for the protection of the night sky, educate the public and policymakers about night sky conservation, promote environmentally responsible outdoor lighting, and empower the public with tools and resources to help bring back the night.

The power of IDA lies within its grassroots advocates including over 60 IDA Chapters across the globe all working to preserve the natural nighttime environment. Being locally attuned to specific geographical and cultural issues is what makes IDA Chapters effective stewards of the night.

The Colorado Plateau

Three IDA Chapters operate within the bounds of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative: IDA Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. (The IDA is looking for people in New Mexico! Let us know if you are interested in starting a Chapter!)

The IDA Chapters and the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative work together on shared projects and initiatives that support and strengthen the dark sky movement across the Colorado Plateau and beyond.

Dark Sky Places

The IDA, IDA Chapters, & CPDSC all collaborate on International Dark Sky Place (IDSP) designations. Dark Sky Places actively educate the people who visit them about dark sky conservation and raise public awareness surrounding dark sky issues and benefits.

International Dark Sky Communities are required to create ordinances which are one of the most effective ways to actively reduce and prevent future light pollution in sensitive areas like the Colorado Plateau. Imagine an International Dark Sky Reserve encompassing the entire Colorado Plateau! Today there is a good start, as the Plateau already boasts one of the highest concentrations of international Dark Sky Places in the world.

A Dark Sky Network

IDA Chapters offer an important network that supports dark sky advocates and provides resources and support. If it’s dark sky related, you can bet someone in one of the many IDA Chapters has probably thought about it before, tried it, (maybe failed), and then figured it out! Chapters are helping to mobilize support and make connections. For instance, the Mayor of Boulder, Utah reached out about Dark Sky Community designation and through the dark sky network was instantly connected to Mary Beddingfieldsmith, a dark sky advocate in Torrey, Utah!

Because it can be such a challenging regulatory climate across the Colorado Plateau, it’s important that the dark sky voice is heard, and that policy makers know dark sky issues matter and that people are willing to stand and defend night skies. It’s easy to feel like a lone voice but the Cooperative and IDA Chapters are there to offer valuable support. We need each other in order to make meaningful change.

The Cooperative Model

Because of its many successes, others are looking to the CPDSC as a model for their own region. IDA can be the intermediary between groups elsewhere that look to emulate the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. IDA was even able to connect a group of park managers in England to the work being done across the plateau! Among other groups looking to the CPDSC as a model is the newly formed Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative.

IDA can help get the word out and connect people working on similar programs. Ideally, we would have a world covered by Dark Sky Cooperatives! IDA looks forward to helping make this happen.

Visit darksky.org to learn more about the IDA and access tools and resources

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