Ivins residents launch effort to protect night sky from light pollution

Rocky desert landscape at dusk, location and date not specified | Photo by ClaudioVentrella/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two Ivins residents said they will launch a night sky initiative to improve, preserve and protect the night sky over the city and to serve as a resource for city officials, residents and businesses.

Patty Dupre and Mike Scott released a statement Tuesday saying they would kick off the initiative Wednesday.

“The population of Ivins doubled since 2000 and is expected to double again in just over 20 years. What will our night sky look like with twice the light pollution we have today?” Dupre said in the statement.

“Will there be nothing left to see for our children and grandchildren to be inspired by, marvel at, and cherish? Will the wonderment of the night sky be just a distant faded memory for those of us who were once lucky enough to gaze upon it? We can’t let that become our fate. That’s why now.”

The initiative is tackling the issue in Ivins, but other communities in southwest Utah face the same problems, so Dupre and Scott said they are excited about being a resource for people throughout the region. The more progress the initiative makes, the more tools and experiences they will have to share with other communities.

The Ivins night sky initiative is a 100 percent volunteer, not-for-profit citizen organization. Dupre and Scott said they will handle the day-to-day activities but rely on advisers for technical issues and citizens for input and support on projects.

They said they have been working behind the scenes for almost a year and received assistance from the International Dark Sky Association with recommendations to make the Ivins outdoor lighting ordinance more dark sky friendly.

They also had help from other communities that accomplished a similar mission. And they received a lot of input, support and guidance from residents of Ivins and others interested in preserving the night sky.

What you can do

  • Download the position paper on their website. It has detailed information about lighting issues along with an action plan.
  • Email [email protected] and let them know if this issue is important to you and what else you think they should do.
  • Tell friends about their mission and encourage them to send comments.
  • Tell them if you are willing to help.
  • Check the initiative’s website periodically for new activities and updates on their progress as well as information about lighting and lighting issues.

“We have lived in Ivins since 2003 and enjoy supporting and being involved in a variety of community projects,” Dupre and Scott said in their statement. “We moved here because we appreciate the tremendous outdoor hiking and biking opportunities Ivins and the rest of Southwest Utah provides.

“And although we like waking up to sunshine almost every day, we used to live in a large metropolitan area, so we really value the dark night sky showcasing the Milky Way, galaxies, nebulae, and more.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

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  • hiker75 January 8, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Bravo! Wish Mesquite would join in with your efforts. That glow is getting much brighter.

  • RedRocks January 8, 2019 at 7:42 am

    This is wonderful, what you are trying to do. We lived in Ivins from 2012-2015 and the night (and morning) sky were beautiful. It’s where I learned to identify many constellations and I saw a lot of meteors. Now, I’m back in St George where the night sky is now all but lost to just a few brighter stars. Gemini? You’re lucky to see anything other than Castor and Pollux. Orion? Yes, you can see the 7 main stars (well, Saiph can be difficult) but not the nebula below his belt. Ursa Major? The big dipper is usually visible but not the rest of that large beautiful constellation. Forget seeing something as long and amazing as Hydra or Draco. Even the Little Dipper, around our north star, Polaris, is almost impossible to make out. The Milky Way? In your dreams. In the 18 months I’ve been back I have seen a total of only three meteors from St George. I heard somewhere that St George claims to have a Dark Sky policy but it must be a token only because they do nothing whatsoever to preserve, much less, regain our night sky. Just drive by any major grocery store parking lot at night that’s lit up as if it were daytime. But it’s not only us, the residents, who are losing, or have lost, something very precious. There are many plants and animals that quite literally need darkness to grow, live, and prosper and we are depriving them of that. Light pollution kills our dark skies, costs money and resources, and creates problems for other life that lives here. Given how often we have clear, dry skies, it’s shameful that southern Utah does not take light pollution seriously. We should be smart enough to find the technology and lighting that restores our starry nights, protects nocturnal plants and animals, and still provides the safety that everyone seems so hyper-concerned about.

  • LunchboxHero January 8, 2019 at 11:38 am

    “Will there be nothing left to see for our children and grandchildren to be inspired by, marvel at, and cherish…” It’s ok, they can always go to the new Disneyland in Hurricane!

  • tazzman January 8, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    I sincerely wish the Ivins Dark Sky push much success. Over the 25 years Ive lived here, this entire area has become overwhelmed with light spilling over from street lights, commercial, private residential, and government buildings throwing light in all the wrong places.
    The amateur astronomer side of me used to be able to utilize parks in STG for stargazing. Not anymore.

    Good luck to Ivins in protecting what is left and reclaiming more dark skies.

  • iceplant January 8, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    It’s one of the things I love most about living out here.
    There are nights when I can see the Milky Way and I’ve had relatives stay here from SoCal who rave about the stars they’ve never seen before.

  • sheepobserver January 9, 2019 at 5:50 am

    I love it here. Worst part of my night walks along the dimly lit parkway trail is the new college and it’s bright white lights. So much is lost of the night sky just from being in the proximity of that one parking lot.

    Hopefully anything new going in has better protections lighting wise, and no doubt, there will be more things coming.

  • Mike P January 9, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Sorry Ivins, you don’t own the sky.

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