DAYTON — The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) welcomes a new chapter in Ohio to support efforts which protect the nighttime environment from light pollution across the state of Ohio.
Light pollution — defined as the inappropriate use of artificial light at night – is a recognized environmental pollutant that wastes energy, harms wildlife, negatively impacts human health, causes blinding glare, and ruins otherwise star-filled skies.
Images from space at night easily identify Ohio’s major cities of Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. These bright spots are light captured by satellites in space instead of directed toward targets on the ground.
IDA Ohio’s mission will be to help provide solutions that address negative outcomes from misdirected light.
“IDA Ohio is ready to step up night sky preservation efforts across this state,” said Bob Gent, past-president of IDA and newly elected president of IDA Ohio LLC.
“We have been monitoring local policies and discussions and will now be able to take a more active role to help Ohio’s cities, counties, and communities protect the night sky.”
For example, Dayton has recently enacted outdoor lighting codes that address some of the negative impacts of light pollution, and IDA Ohio hopes to help other places in Ohio consider similar actions.
It was in Dayton where IDA members gathered recently and voted unanimously to form an Ohio Chapter with an elected all-volunteer board which includes chapter president Bob Gent, vice-president Terry Mann, treasurer Bryan Summer, secretary Daniel Wade, and director of communications Monica Schultz.
Mann who has lived in Preble County most of her life, leads the astronomy programs at the Garber Nature Center, in Lewisburg. She has been working with the Preble County Park District to suggest the best possible lighting for the new Devils Backbone park and the park district is looking into the best way to shield the outdoor light at Garber Nature Center.
“Our goals at IDA Ohio are to help Ohio find the best type of lighting for their needs. With so many options available, we look for something cost-effective and a fixture that will direct the light where it needs to go, not in the neighbor’s window or blinding us as we drive down the road,” Mann said.
IDA Ohio chapter joins more than 50 IDA chapters already established around the world, including more than 20 international chapters representing five continents, all working to preserve the night sky.
IDA Ohio will host a chapter meeting Saturday morning, Oct 6, at the Hidden Hollow Star Party events hosted by the Warren Rupp Observatory in Bellville. On the agenda is a discussion regarding the PC Park District’s lighting.
The IDA Ohio chapter meeting will be free of charge for anyone wanting to learn more about IDA and ways to get involved with or support work in Ohio. Anyone wishing to attend the entire Hidden Hollow event should register at http://wro.org/hidden-hollow-star-party/.
For more information about IDA Ohio, contact IDAOhio@darksky.org.