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10/9/2013 12:01:00 AM
Dark Sky Park hosting author Oct. 18

The Headlands International Dark Sky Park will host nationally-acclaimed author Paul Bogard on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, at the Beach House, for an event designed to observe the partial lunar eclipse, and to celebrate the natural darkness Emmet County has protected over the 600-acre property.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the entrance to the Headlands, where attendees will observe the partial lunar eclipse with Dark Sky Park Program Director Mary Stewart Adams. The group will then drive to the Beach House (or walk if you're so inclined) for the program with Bogard, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

Through his book "The End of Night ~ Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light," Bogard takes readers on a dynamic tour of the state of darkness, while unveiling the consequences of light pollution and light trespass in contemporary culture. Bogard's book, published by Little Brown, will be available for sale and for signing at the event.

"All life on Earth evolved to bright days and dark nights, and we need both for optimal health," says Bogard. "As our nights grow brighter and brighter, we waste energy and money, endanger our physical, mental, and spiritual health, and disrupt the ecosystems on which we rely. And worst of all, we use way more light than we need for our safety and security."

Emmet County and its residents are no strangers to the dark. In addition to Emmet County's Headlands property receiving distinction as just the 6th International Dark Sky Park in the US at the time of designation in May 2011, the area is home to the Outdoor Lighting Forum. The OLF's mission is to research and disseminate information on good outdoor lighting practices, to promote lighting that is efficient, offer safety to the public, improve community appearance and protect the night sky environment. Area dark sky advocates were instrumental in establishing Michigan's Dark Sky Coast legislation (through 2012's PA 251), protecting nearly 23,000 acres of state land from the ill effects of light pollution and light trespass in 2012. Further, Michigan was the first state in the U.S. to formally protect its night sky as a resource and asset when it protected the skies over Lake Hudson State Park south of Jackson, MI in the mid-1990s.

"Protecting the night sky is an on-going activity that provides great opportunities for introducing area school children, residents, and visitors to the natural wonder and beauty of the environment, while also protecting resources and saving money," said Adams. "Protecting the night sky over any environment restores the natural beauty of that environment, and it allows us to encounter the defenses we build up in our stressed-out world. Finding ourselves in the dark is an all-too-rare experience, even in Northern Michigan."

The program is free and open to the public.

"We are thrilled to be hosting Paul here and to be providing an opportunity for community members to hear, from an outside source, about the tremendously positive impact communities such as our own are having on this issue," said Adams. "The reviews of Paul's book are great and glowing, and the event promises to be informative. In addition, there's a partial lunar eclipse that night, visible from our area, to really set the stage."

Questions? Call Adams at (231) 838-8181 or email darksky@emmetcounty.org

The 2013 Dark Sky Park program calendar can be found online at www.emmetcounty.org/darkskypark/

Related Links:
• Emmet County Dark Sky Park

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