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The State of the Rockies DARK SKIES/CC AFTER DARK project

In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, Physics and Anthropology departments, students will research dark skies initiatives and policies of the region. Many towns in the West are passing dark sky initiatives, which have exposed many benefits. Student-researchers with interests in physics/astronomy, philosophy, and anthropology will be tasked with providing the history of the cosmos (the stars/constellations we see in the western skies), and its fundamental influence on being human, (and thus our ideologies, philosophies, cultures, religion, etc.); the role of stars in navigation and exploration of our planet; our understanding of our significance in the universe; migration; astrology; myths (maybe emphasize western US indigenous, Afro-American, and Latinx) and celebrations/ceremonies, and stories. Students will examine the eco-environmental impact of too much light during the dark hours – for example the effect on the nocturnal process (i.e., CAM4 photosynthesis; species diversity and populations; migration and feeding; photosynthesis; pollination; sleep; etc.). Another component of this will entail collecting photos and sound recordings of dark skies in towns and compare them to the dark skies the same night in Colorado Springs. What stars are visible in each location? What do we hear in the dark? Is sound a conservation concern? A survey of community members’ attitudes toward the Dark Skies initiative around campus, Colorado Springs, and other Dark Skies communities will also help us to determine if this is a conservation concern and if so, whether questions such as these should be included in the 2023 Conservation in the West Poll and whether this might be a consideration for policy-making. 

The Office of Sustainability will use this research to determine, with the help of CC Facilities and Grounds Departments where Colorado College ranks as a dark sky environment.  We will ask the question: What initiatives might we follow here on campus to help to protect night skies?  And then implement on-campus light-pollution remedies.  Our aim is to be a proxy for colleges and universities, and larger communities in the west, and beyond.

APPLY on Handshake BLOCK 3

APPLICATION DUE NOV. 29 MIDNIGHT

Summer 2022 10-week internship
Project meetings Block 6, 7, + 8

Essential Duties: 

Provide scientific background on how stars came into existence, the myths and creation stories we have created about them; the role of stars in navigation and exploration of our planet; our understanding of our significance in the universe, migration; photosynthesis, nocturnal plant and animal processes/behaviors; pollination; sleep; etc. 
Research Dark Skies initiatives and policies of the region 
Collect photos of dark skies in towns and compare them to the dark skies the same night in Colorado Springs. What stars are visible in each location? Sound recordings: What do we hear in the dark? Is sound a conservation concern? 
Write and conduct a survey of community members’ attitudes toward the Dark Skies initiative around campus, Colorado Springs, members of Dark Skies communities, etc. 
Sustainability students assess CC campus and maybe start a CC ‘After Dark’ project.
Determine if this is a conservation concern (as determined by the survey) and if so, whether this question should be included in the 2023 Conservation in the West poll. What’s the potential for this to be a consideration for policy-making? 
• Help promote 
CC After Dark dark skies initiatives and implementations as a model for other colleges and communities. 

This project is made possible with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

 

Report an issue - Last updated: 11/27/2021