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International Dark-Sky Association Announces 2019 Award Winners

Photo: Bettymaya Foott

Each year, the International Dark-Sky Association recognizes and celebrates the incredible achievements of individuals and groups who are committed to our mission to preserve and protect the night. As leaders in their communities, the awardees play a key role in strengthening the global dark sky movement and empowering others to join the fight against light pollution.

“IDA is proud to honor such an inspiring, energetic, and effective group of dark sky advocates. We are grateful that they are a part of the global dark sky network, working on the ground to combat light pollution in their communities and beyond”, says IDA Board President, Ken Kattner.

The recipients of the 2019 IDA Awards are:  

The Crawford-Hunter Award is presented to Cindy Luongo Cassidy (Texas, U.S.).
This award represents the highest honor that IDA bestows to individuals who, in the course of their lifetime, have contributed an extraordinary effort to light pollution abatement.

Photo: Jerry Moreno

Cindy Luongo Cassidy has been a longtime protector of dark skies. From hosting night sky festivals reaching thousands of people, to growing the IDA Texas Chapter, to working with the Texas State Parks to position them for dark sky recognition, there’s not much that Cindy hasn’t contributed to the field of dark skies. 
Cassidy led efforts to enact a strong lighting ordinance for the City of Dripping Springs, then spearheaded International Dark Sky Community accreditation for Dripping Springs, which was designated in 2014. 
Cassidy has demonstrated how positive incentives work to address light pollution. In 2016, she launched the “Be a Star” program that certifies individual homes and businesses in Texas as dark sky friendly. 

The Hoag/Robinson Award is presented to David Galadı́ Enrı́quez (Spain).
This award is given to an individual who has been outstanding in educating governmental organizations, businesses and the public about the merits of outdoor lighting control ordinances.

Dr. David Galadí-Enríquez is a professional astrophysicist at Calar Alto Observatory
In 2005, Dr. Galadí-Enríquez wrote the technical report that served as a base for the first general-purpose light pollution regulation in Spain and contributed to efforts toward regulations of light pollution in Spain which were passed in 2007. Galadí-Enríquez’s QskyMap has served as a key diagnostic tool of light pollution within the Andalusian territory. 
Galadí-Enríquez also provided an important legal tool to limit the amount of artificial blue light, devising an innovative metric, currently known as G index, which measures the amount of blue light emitted per lumen. 
“Dr. Galadí-Enríquez has performed these tasks with an efficient and transdisciplinary approach, preferring collaboration against confrontation and proposing innovative tools and activities,” Ángela Ranea Palma, one of Galadi-Enriquez’ colleagues from the Andalusian Regional Government, told IDA. 

The Bob Gent Community Leadership Award is presented to Dawn Nilson (Oregon, U.S.).
This award is given to an IDA Chapter or Chapter member who has demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local level in combating light pollution and fostering support for IDA’s mission and programs. 

As the IDA Oregon Chapter Leader, Dawn Nilson has had a major impact on dark sky protection in the state of Oregon. “Dawn is the “go-to” for dark sky conservation in the Oregon region,” said Mary Ann Kruse, an IDA Oregon Chapter member. 
In 2010, Nilson organized the first Light Pollution Symposium in Oregon for the astronomy, wildlife, and lighting communities as well as planning officials. The event boasted approximately 200 attendees. 
Currently, Nilson is working with state politicians to adopt new and improved statewide outdoor lighting rule for 2020 session and is rallying a team to help designate Oregon’s first International Dark Sky Park. 

The International Dark Sky Place of the Year Award is presented to Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona, U.S.).
This award is given in recognition of a recent exceptional achievement to an International Dark Sky Place.

Left to right: Jim O’Connor, Dr. John Barentine, Rader Lane, Supt. Woody Smeck, Vicky Stinson, Susan Schroeder, Kevin Schindler

Officially certified as an International Dark Sky Park in June 2019, Grand Canyon National Park has made tremendous strides to protect the night over the last several years. 

The park’s work began in 2013 with a detailed inventory of thousands of lights across the park’s 1.2 million acres. To date, the park has replaced nearly 3,500 fixtures to be IDA compliant, the largest retrofit of any International Dark Sky Park. 

The Park is a leader in dark sky outreach, hosting programs such as the annual Grand Canyon Star Party, the largest such astronomy event in the U.S. National Park Service. With over six million visitors per year, Grand Canyon serves as a powerful resource for dark sky education. Visitors have the opportunity to experience state-of-the-art, dark sky friendly lighting, observe nearly pristine night skies, and experience firsthand the importance of naturally dark places. 

Grand Canyon’s success is powered by a critical partnership with the Grand Canyon Conservancy, who managed a very successful capital campaign to fund the retrofits, and park concessionaire Xanterra South Rim L.L.C., who completed lighting updates of its guest facilities.

The Grand Canyon’s International Dark Sky Park certification is the culmination of many individuals’ hard work. IDA would particularly like to acknowledge the following people and organizations: Santiago Garcia, Deanna Greco, Rader Lane, Mark Nebel, Jane Rodgers, Ed Schenk, Randy Stanley, Vicky Stinson, Laura Williams, David Perkins, Theresa McMullan, Susan Schroeder, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Craig and Sally Clayton, Joe Orr, the Orr Family Foundation, and the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation. 

The Galileo Award is presented to Chris Elvidge, Kimberly Baugh, and the Earth Observation Group (Colorado, U.S.)
This award is given in recognition of outstanding achievements in research or academic work on light pollution over a multiple-year period.

For over two decades, Chris Elvidge and Kimberly Baugh have been producing satellite images of Earth at Night, together with colleagues in their “Earth Observation Group”, formerly at NOAA. Their work was a critical component of many scientific analyses, including the “The World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness” skyglow maps. The “night lights of Earth” are instantly recognizable, and all such images can be traced back to their work.
“Chris and Kim’s work has had an enormous influence on the field of light pollution research,” says Christopher Kyba of the German Research Center for Geoscience.

The Lighting Design and Technological Innovation Award is presented to Andrej Mohar (Slovenia).
This award is given to individuals, organizations, or businesses that – through progressive design, construction, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship – support IDA’s mission by promoting quality outdoor nighttime lighting.

Photo: MMC RTV SLO/Gorazd Kosma?

Andrej Mohar developed within his firm, Euromix Ltd., the Ecosky luminaire for illumination of churches with shades preventing unnecessary light emissions. So far, approximately 250 churches have been illuminated with this lighting. First results have been published,
showing a reduction of wasted light of at least a factor of 30 using Ecosky luminaires.
Additionally, Mohar developed two software solutions: “Sky Quality Camera” to measure sky brightness and other values from allsky pictures, and “EcoCandela” to measure luminances and CCT.
“He was the driving force in establishing the first national law against light pollution in Slovenia” says Andreas Hänel, University of Osnabruk.

The Dark Sky Defender Award is presented to:
This award is given to individuals and organizations in recognition of their exceptional efforts to promote and advance the mission and programs of IDA by promoting quality outdoor lighting to reduce light pollution and its environmental impacts. 

Andrea Giacomelli (Italy)
For over ten years, Andrea Giacomelli has led the “BuioMetria Partecipativa” (Participatory Night Sky Quality Monitoring) project in Italy. The BuioMetria Partecipativa project has demonstrated a progressive approach, engaging not only “typical” subjects such as public administrations, utilities, or park managers, but triggering community-based activities, collaborations with artists, bartenders, and other segments of society who “thought they had nothing to do with light pollution”. Giacomelli organized more than 100 education and public outreach events. 

“Dark Skies Field Team: Alan Eastman; Vickie Eastman; Vicki Voros” (Utah and New Mexico, U.S.)
The Dark Skies Field Team, comprised of Alan Eastman, Vickie Eastman, Vicki Voros, has played a significant role in assisting U.S. public, federal lands in protecting dark skies, particularly supporting applications to obtain International Dark Sky Place status. Support from the Team includes taking baseline measurements, SQM training (and often donating instruments), guidance on International Dark Sky Park guidelines, writing sections of the application document, advising on education and outreach, and commonsense advising on lighting retrofit.
The Team has supported dark sky accreditation activities on the following federal lands: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Zion National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park, Redwoods National and State Park, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, King Range National Conservation area, and Bears Ears National Monument, with Informal advisement of Mt. Timpanogos National Monument.

Kyra Xavia (New Zealand)
Kyra Xavia is an IDA Delegate and co-leader of the Dunedin Dark Skies Group, who works on light abatement education. Her outstanding public education through multimedia outlets, public forums, council-led forums, school visits and meetings, has enlightened the Dunedin community of the imminent dangers and challenges of an increasingly over-lit world. Her work has resulted in the approval of shielded, low glare 2200 K LED street lights in small coastal communities on the fringes of the city, as well as on the Otago Peninsula to preserve the night sky and protect ecology. Her campaigning was also pivotal in the whole city of Dunedin opting in 2019, to replace all its street lights with 3000 K LEDs, instead of the originally planned 4000 K.

Georgia MacMillan (Ireland) Georgia MacMillan has been instrumental in developing awareness of the environment and dark skies issues in Mayo. Among her many contributions to dark sky conservation in the region, MacMillan contributed significantly to the accreditation and continued success of the Mayo International Dark Sky Park, the first in Ireland. She continued her work in bringing awareness to light pollution by supporting the Mayo Dark Sky Festival, and supporting the establishment of the Friends of Mayo Dark Skies IDA Chapter.
“The establishment of the Dark Sky Park and the related Dark Sky Festival has generated strong local interest in the environment and the night sky and brought a sense of pride to the communities in the area.” says Brian Espey, Associate Professor of Astrophysics, Trinity College Dublin.

The Rising Star Award is presented to:
This award honors students of any grade level who demonstrate an enthusiasm for and commitment to dark sky conservation or research into natural darkness and light pollution.

Conor Casey, Hannah Coombs (Ireland)
Conor Casey and Hannah Coombs competed in the 2019 British Telecom Young Scientist Exhibition with their project, “Is It Possible to Create a Mathematical Model to Predict Photopollution Based on Population Density in Munster?” They received two awards: Third Place in the Intermediate Section of the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Science, and the Central Statistics Office special award for the Best Use of CSO Open Data in a project. 
As part of the research for this project, the students undertook light pollution measurements in twenty locations in the province of Munster, Ireland to examine the Walker and Newling models of light pollution using Python code. The students also produced a smartphone app as part of the project.
Coombs and Casey’s work has raised the profile of dark skies and light pollution within Ireland as their project garnered attention from the media and the 55,000 school students and the general public who attended. 

Halleigh Travis (Utah, U.S.)
Halleigh Travis, a 7th grade student from Utah, conducted research for a project that publicized the dangers of light pollution, compared levels of skyglow for several locations in northern Utah, and suggested personal and community solutions for reducing light pollution. Travis collected background information from secondary sources and interviewed a director of dark sky initiatives at Antelope Island State Park, an IDA International Dark Sky Park. She measured skyglow by taking pictures of the night sky with a digital SLR camera and using the image histograms to find average pixel values.
Her finished project was selected to represent her school at the Science in Action (SIA) international science fair in Barcelona, Spain, and was awarded first place among projects from Spain, France, Mexico, Chile, and elsewhere. 

Chloe Mason (Alabama, U.S.)
Chloe Mason is a student from Baker High School in Mobile, Alabama. Mason used the city of Mobile, AL as a case study to analyze the levels of light pollution and hopes to use it as an example of what can be done to mitigate light pollution in other Eastern cities in the U.S. She collected measurements of light pollution by using a Sky Quality Meter in numerous locations throughout the city, especially between the city and a nearby park for which she is hoping to help work toward an IDA designation. In order for her to understand the implications of regulations and expert views on the issue, she conducted interviews with pundits in the field. 

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 IDA Awards! We thank you for your work in strengthening the worldwide movement to protect the night. 

Previous Winners:
To view details about the 2018 award recipients, click here.
To view details about the 2017 award recipients, click here.
To view details about the 2016 award recipients, click here.