Keji park going dark
Kejimkujik Park is hoping the blanket of stars that stretch out over the night sky will be brighter as they work towards becoming a dark sky preserve.
According to Jonathan Sheppard, Coordinator of Park Interpretation, it is the park’s goal to improve the quality of the night sky and how many stars can be seen.
“It really resonates with visitors and takes their breath away,” he said.
The park is partnering with the Royal Astronomical Society to abate the light pollution at the park.
The dark sky preserve is centred on controlling light pollution as well as active education of the night sky and nocturnal ecology.
In anticipation of their goal of becoming a dark sky preserve, Kejimkujik ran a pilot program during the summer where night watch programs were added and astronomers lead night hikes for interested visitors and park staff.
A proposal was put forth and the park hopes to hear back by early next year for confirmation.
Another positive for the park becoming a preserve is that rather than increasing costs the designation would instead reduce costs of park operations over time.
On existing lighting shrouding the light to reflect downwards will be one of the techniques used to preserve the night sky and the park plans to work the changes into a three-year schedule. “ We will offer the same amount of safety and security for visitors,” said Sheppard.
The Astronomical Society through partnering will provide skilled astronomers to train park staff on the night sky as a part of the education program.
“It is exciting for us,” said Sheppard. “It will give people lots of opportunity to see the night sky as it should be seen.”