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Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Applying To Become An Urban Night Sky Place

Peter Padelsky / USFWS
Marsh at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge at sunset

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge near Brigham City is applying for an Urban Night Sky Place designation through the International Dark Sky Association. The wildlife refuge hopes this designation will set an example for other places in Utah to minimize light pollution.

“We feel it is very important at this point in time to really help raise awareness of the value of dark skies. It is kind of like the last frontier of conservation” said Kathi Stopher, the visitor services manager at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

She said that dark skies are not only important for aesthetic reasons, they are also important for wildlife and the environment.

“Having dark skies really provides much more than enjoyable viewing of planets and constellation. A dark sky is a sign of a healthy atmosphere and that is linked to the health of life systems here on earth. A sky that is impacted by a great deal of artificial light is actually also impacting wildlife,” Stopher said.

She suggests that light pollution can be reduced by switching to more energy efficient light fixtures that direct light towards the ground instead of to the sky, and hopes that their first ever Stargazing Music and Dark Skies night, Saturday June 22 will help raise awareness and appreciation for dark skies.

While visitors are free to explore the night sky through telescopes and binoculars, the musical artist Connor Youngblood will be preforming his eclectic folk and indie music inspired by natural surroundings and ethereal night sky at the Refuge.

More information can be found at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge's website.