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, Ph.D. | Director of Conservation
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 2001-2006 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 doctoral degrees 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. In addition to his work for IDA, John is a member of the steering committee of the University of Utah Consortium for Dark Sky Studies and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Dark Skies Advisory Group. 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
Amanda Gormley | Director of Communications & Public Affairs Director
Amanda is drawn to the stories that capture the connection between us and our environment, and she is committed to building bridges that strengthen those connections to make our world a better place. She brings a decade of communication, community outreach, and nonprofit board service to IDA. Amanda says she is deeply moved by the night sky, and glad to be a part of the important work preserving darkness for the benefit of our health, our safety, our environment, and our ability to appreciate the majesty of the nighttime sky. When she’s not wrangling her two young children, Amanda is volunteering for community organizations in Tucson or riding her horse, Katillac.
Susan Ciarniello | Administrative 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.
Keith Ashley, Ph.D. | Director of Philanthropy
Keith first discovered his curiosity for the secrets of the night sky as a boy when his father—an Earth Sciences teacher—brought home the county telescope for a weekend of planet watching. While his fascination with birds had drawn his eyes skyward for many years, Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons increased his astonishment at the beauty of the natural world. Keith earned his Ph.D. in German Language and Literature at the Ohio State University, and after a brief stint as a German professor at the University of Notre Dame, he taught English at the middle school, high school, and community college levels in California, Kentucky, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, and in the Tibetan refugee community in India. After his teaching career, Keith followed his passion for all things wild by investing in a year of graduate courses in Urban Wildlife Conservation at Prescott College. Keith joins IDA from the Tucson Audubon Society where he lead the organization’s development efforts. He found work in Philanthropy to be an exciting role in the world of conservation. “Connecting people’s generous spirits with the meaningful mission of a non-profit is deeply satisfying,” he says. Now more than ever, he is contemplating the words of German Enlightenment Philosopher, Immanuel Kant: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe… the starry heavens above me, and the moral law within.
Pete Strasser | 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.