Environment

Embrace the beauty of darkness this October. Star gazing, space detectives, bats, moths, a dark skies challenge competition and more…

night skies with stars and light

Posted on: 15 October 2020

Natural Devon is holding a week of webinars and workshops to encourage appreciation and grow understanding of the importance of dark skies in Devon.

Natural Devon (the Devon Local Nature Partnership) is holding a week of webinars and activities to help people appreciate the beauty and importance of darkness and understand what can be done to reduce light pollution.

Devon is a rural county and yet due to light pollution we can only experience truly dark skies across 36 per cent of the county. With increasing development, light pollution and associated carbon emissions, this will only get worse unless we all take action.

Devon Dark Skies Week begins on Friday 23 October 2020 with a Virtual Planetarium Tour of the Night Sky led by the East Devon Norman Lockyer Observatory. Other webinars include: How to be a Dark Skies Ranger, Wildlife and Lighting, an Introduction to Astrophotography, What is Lighting? and The Future for Dark Skies. Tiffany Francis-Baker, author of Dark Skies, will be running a webinar on exploring, and bring inspired by, landscapes at night. All webinars are aimed at an audience with no existing knowledge and most will include ideas for things that we can do to reduce light pollution.

Fun activities and resources (including start spotting sheets and details of how to make your own telescope) can be found on the Local Nature Partnership website, including details of a Devon Dark Skies competition with great prizes.

The website also includes information about communities and organisations already taking action to reduce light pollution. For instance, Devon County Council is reducing the environmental impacts of Street Lamps through part-time night lighting in residential areas, dimming lights on the majority of main roads, switching to LEDs with reduced ultra violet (better for wildlife) and piloting the use of warmer lights around bat roosts. Buckfastleigh Town Council is also looking at how to reduce the impacts of lighting on greater horseshoe bats.

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon and part of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dark Skies, said: “North Devon and Exmoor have some of the darkest skies in Europe, and as MP for North Devon and a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dark Skies I am delighted to be supporting Devon Dark Skies Week and the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival.

“The wealth of events available for the public to take part in during these festivals are a perfect opportunity to celebrate our wonderful night skies and highlight the importance of reducing light pollution to protect nocturnal biodiversity and encourage more people to learn about our place in the cosmos. I encourage everyone to get involved and discover more about our beautiful night skies.”

All information on webinars, activities and the competition can be found on the LNP website and via Facebook and Twitter.

Exmoor has some of the darkest skies in the country and was Europe’s first Dark Sky Reserve. The Exmoor Dark Skies Festival is running from 16th- 31st October with some great events (all following C-19 guidance) and a photography competition. For more information, visit the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival website.

Embrace darkness this October, get involved in Devon Dark Skies Week and share what you are doing on social media using #DevonDarkSkies.

Devon Local Nature Partnership brings together all organisations and individuals who are working to restore Devon’s natural environment for people and nature. For more information, visit the Natural Devon website.

Posted in: Community | Environment