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Our Staff

J. Scott Feierabend | Executive Director

For more than 30 years Scott has worked in the nonprofit environmental community advocating local, state and federal policies and programs to conserve and restore the nation’s fish and wildlife resources. Before coming to IDA Scott served as the executive director of Audubon Canyon Ranch, a nonprofit conservation education organization dedicated to protecting lands in northern California through land preservation, public education and conservation science. During his four and a half years at ACR, Scott created long-term financial health and stability for the organization and successfully negotiated the transfer of more than 3,000 acres of wild lands, effectively doubling the nonprofit’s preserve system.Prior to his work with ACR, Scott served as interim executive director and conservation director for California Trout, the state’s leading nonprofit organization committed to protecting and restoring California’s wild trout and steelhead. Scott also served as executive director for the Marin Conservation League, a nonprofit working to preserve, protect and enhance the natural assets of Marin County, Calif.Scott’s professional conservation career began in 1980 as an intern with the National Wildlife Federation, where he held a number of positions, including staff scientist, lobbyist, director and vice president. Following a 21-year career with the NWF, Scott served as the director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy’s Alaska chapter.

Scott holds a bachelors of science in biology from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., and a masters of science in wildlife biology from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. He has served on a number of national natural resource committees and blue ribbon panels and is published in both the technical and popular literature.

John Barentine | Program Manager

John is an Arizona native and comes to IDA from the “dark side” of science — professional astronomy. He grew up in Phoenix and was involved in amateur astronomy there from grade school. Later, he attended the University of Arizona, beginning research in jobs at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories and National Solar Observatory headquarters in Tucson. From 2001-06 he was on the staff of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, serving first as an observing specialist on the Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5-meter telescope and then as an observer for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

He obtained a master’s degree in physics at Colorado State University and a master’s and Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. John has contributed to science in fields ranging from solar physics to galaxy evolution while helping develop hardware for ground-based and aircraft-borne astronomy. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science. He is the author of two books on the history of astronomy, The Lost Constellations and Uncharted Constellations. The asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honor. His interests outside of astronomy and dark skies include history, art/architecture, politics, law and current events. Follow John on Twitter @JohnBarentine

Cheryl Ann Bishop | Communications & Public Affairs Director
Cheryl Ann is an outdoor enthusiast regardless of whether it is day or night. Growing up in rural Washington state, she learned to appreciate the night skies at an early age. Before joining IDA, she received her Ph.D. in mass communication at the University of North Carolina and taught communication courses at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked in public relations for several years in Austin, Texas, acting as the assistant public relations director for the Austin Fire Department and the information and training specialist for Texas Early Childhood Intervention.She received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and has published numerous freelance articles, book chapters, and a book. She is excited to use her writing and communication skills to help further IDA’s mission. In her free time Cheryl Ann loves to explore the beautiful Sonoran Desert, garden and stay active in the Milagro co-housing community.
Susan Ciarniello | Membership Director
Susan has worked for IDA since 2004. The longest-serving current employee, she has enjoyed seeing the tremendous change in public awareness of the issues regarding light pollution. As membership director, Susan organizes the IDA database and deals directly with IDA members. Most anyone who calls during business hours will hear Susan’s pleasant voice on the telephone. Members and volunteers often remark on Susan’s competence and polite demeanor. Her broad business background, encompassing sales, purchasing, and administration helps Susan slowly but surely increase IDA’s member base. In an effort to expand IDA’s sphere of influence, she has started to restructure membership retention efforts and initiated several successful campaign drives.In addition to managing our active membership system, Susan has recently taken on the role of office manager. Her bachelor’s degree in business administration from George Washington University has helped her initiate changes in IDA’s accounting system to expedite the public posting of public financial records, which has benefited donors and financial administrators.
Katherine Gader | IDA Chapter Coordinator

Katherine is passionate about sustainability and believes we are at a pivot moment in our society regarding preserving our planet and changing the way we live. She takes to heart the environmental impact of losing night skies as well as the loss of our cultural and spiritual insights that come from not being able to experience the wonders of the universe. After all, she says, we are literally the remnants of stardust. Katherine holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Colorado at Denver and enjoys getting to know people’s unique perspectives on life. She’s been working in community relations and outreach for more than six years and is excited to be working with people from different cultures across the globe to best effectively protect our night skies. Her hobbies include aquaponics, raising chickens and being a supportive step-mom.

Katherine’s position is funded by a generous grant from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation. IDA is very grateful for their support.

Heidi Herboldsheimer | Graphic Designer & Webmaster
Heidi has a keen interest in ecology, sustainability, being outdoors as much as possible, and from a young age a great fascination with the night sky. Along with her graphic design work, Heidi has taught art for the past six years, often integrating ecology and astronomy. Her thesis for her M.A. in Art and Visual Culture Education at the University of Arizona is titled, “Integrating Ecology into the Art Classroom.” Heidi’s undergraduate degree is in Visual Art with a concentration in Graphic Design from the University of Northern Colorado. Beginning her graphic design career for USA Swimming during the Beijing Olympics, she continued working for a variety of businesses, art museums, including designing entire corporate identities for business startups. Millennials as a generation are commonly looking for ways to take social and environmental action. This resonates with Heidi, as a millennial herself, who actively searches out ways to be involved. She is inspired by the role she can play making a difference with the International Dark Sky Association.
Pete Strasser | IDA Technical Director

An astral photographer since age five, Pete Strasser has long been interested in the practical and aesthetic effects of light. His degree in plant pathology from the University of California, Davis, imparted detailed insight in the composition and effects of different light sources. This knowledge proved invaluable during his work as IDA’s Technical Advisor and then Technical Director from 2006-2011. After a five-year hiatus, Pete returned to his position in 2016 as the IDA Technical Director.In this role, Pete oversees the IDA Fixture Seal of Approval program, which certifies compliant lighting products as “dark sky friendly,” and educates the public and the lighting industry about smart lighting choices. Pete served on the Illuminating Engineering Society of North American (IESNA) – IDA joint Model Lighting Ordinance task force, for which he received the IESNA President’s Award. Currently, Pete serves on the IESNA Research Committee and is chairman of the International Commission on Illumination Technical Committee on the Effects of Artificial Light and the Natural Environment. He has also worked closely with the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency to establish criteria for their EnergyStar programs relating to Outdoor Solid State Lighting (SSL). Pete’s technical expertise in SSL technologies has helped many individuals and institutions promote and implement efficient, appropriate, and effective lighting practices.

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