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Conservation Action for Biodiversity: Darkness at Night—Essential for Life

March 13 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This program is the second of Kestrel’s 2024 “Conservation Action for Biodiversity” Online Speaker Series.

Streetlights and exterior lighting on houses and buildings have become a necessity for daily life. But while light can provide us with a feeling of security, too much of it can have negative consequences that you might not expect. Light pollution is the artificial brightening of the dark night sky due to excessive or poorly designed outdoor lighting. Not only does light pollution impact human health, energy use, and other quality of life issues, it has also been shown to impact wildlife.

All animals—insects, birds, and mammals—evolved with a 24-hour day-night cycle. While diurnal animals need complete darkness to sleep, the feeding, mating, and migration patterns of nocturnal animals can be seriously disrupted by light pollution. In fact, some species of birds, turtles, and fireflies are threatened with extinction due largely to light pollution.

Join us on Wednesday, March 13, 6:00-7:30 PM for an online presentation by James Lowenthal, Smith College’s Mary Elizabeth Moses Professor and Chair of Astronomy. He will lead us on a multi-faceted virtual tour of the night-time environment revealing how important natural darkness at night is for all species, including humans—and how beautiful and magical it is.

Prof. Lowenthal uses some of the largest telescopes on Earth and in space to study the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early Universe, as well as exoplanets orbiting stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy. He leads the Massachusetts chapter of DarkSky International; a local dark-sky advocacy group, Northampton City Lights; and professional astronomy committees on light pollution at the national and international level. He advocates widely for protection of the night sky against light pollution from the ground and, now, from satellite mega-constellations such as SpaceX’s Starlinks. He spends as much time outdoors under the stars as he can.

Registration is required. Sliding scale donation welcome.



March 13
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Kestrel Land Trust
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