How to write an annual report for your International Dark Sky Place
As a condition for continued accreditation of International Dark Sky Places (IDSPs), DarkSky requires each certified Place to submit an annual report on dark sky related activities and conditions. This condition is set forth in the Program Guidelines for each of the International Dark Sky Place certification categories.
The annual reports are important to the relationship between DarkSky and our International Dark Sky Places. It’s an opportunity to check in each year and let us know about events and progress toward improving nighttime conditions, as well as whether there are any problems or ways in which DarkSky can help. In turn, DarkSky uses the annual reports for data and success stories we can share with our membership and the world, showing the many ways IDSPs are leaders in light pollution education. The reports also serve in place of periodic re-accreditation.
When to submit your annual report
Updated August 15, 2023
Annual Reports for 2023 will be due by January 31, 2024. If you are unable to meet this deadline, please get in touch with the Places Program Manager to make alternative arrangements to submit your report.
With the exception of a few questions, the format will be the same as last year. We will provide a fillable form here by November 1; the form will be live until January 31. You will upload your night sky quality data, photographs, media, and other supporting information directly into the form and submit it electronically.
If you want to get started on your report, you can download the questions and prepare your responses using this downloadable 2023 IDSP Annual Report Questions template. You can prepare your answers in a separate document (a Word document is recommended) and copy/paste them directly into the form when it is live.
All newly certified IDSPs are exempt from the annual reporting requirement for the calendar year the certification was awarded. Annual reports will be due for all Places certified in 2022 and earlier.
A few important things to note when using the downloadable questions template and submitting the online form:
- Some questions are category-specific (Community, Park, Sanctuary, Reserve, Urban Night Sky Place). If no category is specified in the question, it applies to all Places. Any question with a red asterisk (*) is required, and you must provide information to submit the form.
- When preparing your report, please answer each question as they apply to this reporting period (January 1, 2023 – January 1, 2024). Follow the directions for each item. Some questions are multiple-choice, some allow for longer text, and some require uploaded information. You will be given an opportunity to provide additional information at the end of the form.
The form is separated into topical sections. As you gather information for your site for the rest of this year, be mindful of these topics so that it will be easy for you to prepare and submit your answers:
- Night Sky Monitoring
- Lighting Compliance
- Outreach, Education & Media
- Success in Light Pollution Control
- Leadership & Future Threats
- Change in Ownership/Size/Access
- Other Information
Meeting the annual report requirements and maintaining certification in good standing
Each IDSP is responsible for keeping a consistent line of communication with DarkSky staff. If an IDSP has a new point of contact, they must contact DarkSky with the updated contact information. DarkSky respects our mutual relationship and will help you during this as much as you need, including providing email reminders with the new Annual Report deadline and a brief list of the requirements required.
As an International Dark Sky Place, you are at the forefront of the dark sky movement, further pushing the boundaries of the best lighting practices and encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to look up and be in awe of the stars above. Without your continued efforts to educate, inspire, and monitor this resource, DarkSky would not be able to continue to advocate and protect dark skies across the globe. We depend on you to maintain your long-term commitment to dark skies and uphold the renowned title of this Program and this movement. We are here to help you meet your goals and maintain your certification. Do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns or for guidance. This is a team effort!
For examples of past annual reports, see the individual pages for International Dark Sky Places and look under “Documents.”