As an international organization, we celebrate the positive impact every culture imparts on the dark sky movement every day. This month, we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the Latinx stories and the indelible impression they’ve had on dark skies.
IDA Development Associate
Annamarie has been working for IDA since 2018. A lifelong teacher, former education contractor, and avid outdoorswoman, Annamarie brings passion and real-world experience to our mission. She regularly connects with IDA supporters and keeps in touch with issues happening around the world. A kind and compassionate person, Annamarie brings a sense of peace and loving-kindness to all of the work at IDA. It’s an honor to have her contributions to the team at IDA HQ. She keeps everything running smoothly and is likely behind the scenes of many of the projects all of our constituents benefit from, like our new member stewardship, public outreach materials, Dark Sky Dialogues, grant writing, and volunteer recruitment to name a few. We couldn’t do what we do at IDA without the support of Annamarie, and of course her faithful hound, Rufus.
Rosalía Lugo is one of our wonderful IDA Delegates. Additionally, works as the teen programs manager at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. Through her work, she manages a program called Youth Organization for Lights Out (YOLO) where she helps raise teens’ awareness of light pollution and appreciate the beauty of the naturally dark sky. Rosy emphasizes that light pollution is not just an astronomy issue—it’s an environmental justice issue. She helps them understand that the way we use light at night directly impacts habitats, economics, and policy. She encourages the students to get involved and become advocates for their community and stresses that you don’t have to be at a planetarium to enjoy or learn about the sky. Rosy makes an effort to understand where the YOLO students come from encourages them to share what they are learning in their own neighborhood, which is predominantly Mexican-American. She empowers the YOLO teens to talk about dark skies in English and Spanish. One of the ways they’re doing this is through a bilingual video that is part of an exhibit at Adler Planetarium titled “Chicago’s Night Sky”. You can learn more about her work here.
IDA Board Member + Chair of an IDA Chapter
Diana Umpierre is a proud Puerto Rican, the first Latinx to serve on the IDA Board, and the first female IDA Board President. Her passion for grassroots and public advocacy began with efforts to protect the remaining natural night skies over the Everglades. She chairs an IDA chapter in Florida where she cultivates partnerships to address inland light pollution, improve public access to pristine dark areas, and protect threatened nocturnal habitats. In 2013, she was named IDA’s Volunteer of the Year. In 2015, she coined the phrase “No Child Should be Left Without Stars” in an article by Richard Louv. In 2016, she helped Big Cypress National Preserve become the first National Park Service Dark Sky Place east of Colorado. She currently works as a grassroots organizer for the Sierra Club and is also a Certified Planner and GIS Professional. In 2020, she received the Everglades Coalition’s Grassroots Activism Award.
Sergio Emilio Montúfar Codoñer
Sergio is a passionate astrophotographer, based in Guatemala, and working across Latin and Central America. His objectives are to teach the negative impact of light pollution, inspire us to look at the stars, value the astronomical roots of the region, and positively influence sustainable development. Sergio believes that astrophotography is the best way to create a sense of appreciation and understanding of the value of our night sky, as well as its connection to the cultural heritage of the Maya civilization still present to this day. Sergio regularly connects with government officials across Central and Latin America and promotes the preservation of dark skies through his incredible astrophotography work. He has even presented to the King of Spain! Sergio has developed lights-out events such as Antigua Estelar, cultural astronomy events such as the First Cultural Astronomy Congress of Mesoamerica. You can see more about Sergio’s work on his website pinceladasnocturnas (nocturnal brushstrokes) here.
The International Dark-Sky Association is privileged and honored to work with so many Latinx individuals who help to protect the night from light pollution. This is just a small snapshot of those individuals.