Welcome to the Missouri Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association ("IDA Missouri"). If you are interested in learning how light pollution impacts our daily lives in Missouri, you have come to the right place.
IDA Missouri Chapter was launched in October 2018 as an official chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association. We have just completed our first year of operation. Our chapter is still a toddler but a very active one. Here are highlights of our projects and recent activities:
- We have partnered with Truman State University in Kirksville to launch a "Sky Brightness Measurement" program that is deploying more than one dozen sky quality meters throughout Missouri. The program will measure sky brightness at night across Missouri. The 24/7 data captured every five minutes will be analyzed by students at Truman State University. Their findings will provide an important foundation as we develop plans to address light pollution in Missouri. Funding for purchase of the Sky Quality Meters is provided by the NASA-Missouri Space Grant Consortium;
- We have partnered with the St. Louis Art Chamber of Commerce, the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Audubon Society to bring a "Lights Out" program to eastern Missouri in Spring 2020. The program will help make bird migrations safer while also raising awareness of the negative impact of light pollution on wildlife;
- We are partnering with IDA Global, Arizona State University and a team of professional astronomers and scientists to develop a package of "Citizen Science" programs that can be made available to patrons of public libraries and the general public in the St. Louis area. Our plan is to repackage several already successful citizen science programs available on SciStarter.org into a package that focuses on light pollution. We hope this program will serve as a foundation for a national program;
- We have participated in a number of public outreach events including the 2019 Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo, 2019 Life Outside Event, St. Louis Science Center "SciFests", the St. Louis Library Telescope Program, the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, and a variety of other organizations to participate in festivals and talks in St. Louis, Kansas City, Rolla and more. In just one year, we have directly talked with over 1,000 people about light pollution;
- We have divided our chapter into operating "zones" to fully represent our state. We are recruiting board and volunteers for each zone, and deploying sky quality meters and other resources into each zone;
- We are recruiting "subject matter experts" located through Missouri to advise on light pollution issues specific to our State. These advisors will supplement the already significant resources available to our chapter through IDA Global;
- We are grateful for the media attention which has added to our visibility. Most importantly, we are finding that the issue of light pollution resonates with many people and, once the issue is raised, a source of concern. Still, very few have heard our message and very little has been done in Missouri to begin addressing the core issues.
We are regularly adding more content to our website. Take a few minutes to browse this website, particularly the programs and learn sections. Let your friends and colleagues know about our chapter and encourage them to connect with us on social media
If you would like to help us, please visit the "Get Involved" section of our website. There are many ways to contribute.
Don Ficken, Chair
International Dark Sky Association - Missouri Chapter