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International Dark Sky Week April 15-22

Cook County, Minnesota; the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; and the city of Duluth have signed proclamations for the week of April 15-22, 2023 to be “International Dark Sky Week.”

The purpose of this annual event is to raise awareness about light pollution and its negative consequences, provide solutions, and simultane­ously celebrate the night.

This is the first year that Cook County and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippe­wa have had proclamations for Dark Sky Week. Grand Portage’s proclamation is the first in North America, possibly the world, to be signed by a Tribal nation. Duluth continues support from previous years.

These government entities’ actions affirm their recognition of the value of dark skies, not only to allow us all to experience the joy of seeing the Milky Way and the constellations, but also for the health of wildlife as well as people.

Dark skies are impacted by light pollution, mostly caused by upward-pointed lighting and resulting in a waste of natural resources amount­ing to at least $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of carbon dioxide per year in the United States. Fortunately, this is one of the rare forms of pollution that is completely reversible immediately – using warm-colored bulbs, shields and motion sensors, as well as turning out unnec­essary lights reduces light pollution easily.

In Minnesota we have a rare international dark sky sanctuary–the Boundary Water Canoe Wil­derness Area that still has pristine skies. Our one national park, Voyageur, is designated a dark sky park, along with neighboring Canada’s Quetico provincial park. These areas need to be protected from future light encroachment and continue to be places where people can see the Milky Way. Duluth, as a gateway city, can help by promoting good lighting in the city.

This year’s International Dark Sky Week marks 20 years since the first event in 2003 created by a high school student in Virginia, and subsequently endorsed by the International Dark-Sky Associ­ation, the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical League, and Sky and Telescope magazine.

Celebration events include a screening of the new documentary, featuring Travis Novitsky of Grand Portage, and directed by the vice-pres­ident of Starry Skies North, Bob Foucault— “Northern Nights, Starry Skies,” an online event Sunday, April 16 at 7 p.m. Online registration is required and can be made at the following link, https://starryskiesnorth.org/ourblog/northern-nights-starry-skies-special-online-screening-and-qampa-session

To end the week, the Cook County Starry Skies North group will have a table at the Earth Day festival, April 22 in Grand Marais at the Cook County Community Center from 11- 2pm. https://www.cookcountylocalenergy.org/earth-day-fair  Later that day, join them in the evening 7-9 pm at Voyageur Brewing to celebrate Star­ry Skies North becoming an official non-profit (501c status) in Minnesota!

Learn more at:https://starryskiesnorth.org/

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