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IDA Dark Sky Places Committee

The members of the 2020 IDA Dark Sky Places Committee are:

Mike Weasner, Chair | USA

Mike earned a BS in Astrophysics (Indiana University) in 1970, did graduate work in Meteorology (University of Wisconsin), served as a USAF fighter pilot (A-7D) and instructor pilot (T-38B) and was a manager in the USAF Space Shuttle Program. After leaving the Air Force in 1983, he was a senior manager at a large aerospace company in southern California (TRW, Northrop Grumman). In late 2004, Mike and his wife purchased their retirement land in Oracle, Arizona. He retired in mid-2007 and they moved to Oracle in 2009, where he has an observatory (known as “Cassiopeia Observatory”). Mike was instrumental in getting Oracle State Park designated as the first IDA International Dark Sky in the Arizona State Parks system in 2014.

Dajana Bjelajac | Serbia
Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences; Non-governmental organization “Carpe Noctem”

Dajana Bjelajac is currently a Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Sciences in Novi Sad and a Ph.D. student in the field of geosciences. The main topic of her dissertation, as well as the scientific interests, are tightly related to the relationship between urbanization processes and light pollution. She is one of the founders of an ecological society called Non-governmental organization “Carpe Noctem” from Novi Sad. The main purpose of this organization is to educate people from Serbia and surroundings about light pollution of the environment. So far, she managed to organize several public events that gathered more than 1000 people in the nighttime environment, coordinate a project “Ecological Supernova – spreading awareness on light pollution” and publish a manual about light pollution in the Serbian language which will be distributed to more than 500 schools in Serbia. Besides scientific and educational activities, she is also involved in developing the Astro Tourism concept in Serbia.

Beatriz García, Ph.D. | Argentina
Instituto de Tecnologías en Detección y Astropartículas (CNEA, CONICET, UNSAM)

Beatriz Garciá is an Argentinian astronomer and a member of the International Collaborations at the Pierre Auger Observatory. She is Vice President of the teacher training in didactic of the Astronomy program IAU-NASE, the Network for Astronomy School Education. A university professor and high school-level teacher, she also works on issues related to astronomy for equity, inclusion, and diversity and for the defense of the dark skies as a right of human beings. Beatriz is devoted to the detection and study of ultra-high energy cosmic rays and the QUBIC project, which seeks to detect the B-mode of polarization of the cosmic background radiation, a fingerprint of the primordial gravitational waves. 

Andreas Hänel, Ph.D. | Germany
Astronomische Gesellschaft, Int. Astronomical Union, Int. Planetarium Society

Andreas Hänel studied astronomy and physics at Bonn University. He was the Planetarium Director at Osnabrück from 1986-2019. He is interested in sky and environmental measurements and committed to dark places as best practice exemples for reducing light pollution and benefiting astro tourism. 

 

 

Harry “Chip” Harrison | USA
Retired Pennsylvania State Park Operation Manager

Born and raised in the area known as the “Pennsylvania Wilds,” Chip worked for the Department of Forests and Waters, later known as the Dept. of Natural Resources then the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He worked as an Environmental Education Specialist, Park Ranger, Park Manager, and retired as a Park Operations Manager with the Bureau of State Parks, managing an 8 state park complex. Chip initiated the creation of the very first Pennsylvania State Park dedicated specifically to Astronomy and has worked with several agencies and communities to develop strategies for night sky preservation and light pollution prevention. He has been a part of the IDA Dark Sky Places committee since it was created. He is an active outdoorsman, enjoying hunting. fishing, hiking, and kayaking.

Zoltan Kollath | Hungary
Eötös Loránd University, Professor: Department of Physics

Rob Sparks | USA
Kitt Peak National Observatory, Science Education Specialist

Randy Stanley | USA
National Park Service, Night Sky Coordinator: Intermountain Region

Dan Oakley | USA
South Downs National Park, Lead Ranger

Dan Oakley previously worked at BAE-Systems on a number of areas including Torpedo analysis, systems engineering, and radiation safety.  After a rather liberating experience at the Glastonbury Festival, he changed careers and now works for the South Downs National Park Authority and have done for the last 13 years.  Starting from a conservation volunteer, he is Lead Ranger for the Wealden Heaths and the Dark Skies Officer for the park.  At the Park, he was instrumental in developing and submitting Moore’s’ Reserve IDA application for May 2016.

George F Tucker, Ph.D. | USA

George’s life has centered on the night sky. He began conducting public observing events in primary school and has continued to do so until the present. George obtained a Ph.D. in physics specializing in remote sensing by laser spectroscopy and received fellowships from the Air Force Geophysics Laboratory and NASA. He served as a professor of physics and astronomy, retiring in 2010. During his career, he found time to train hundreds of guides in Africa and Mexico in giving presentations about the night sky to their guests. A foe of light pollution since childhood, he hopes to play a part in leaving some pristine night sky locations for future generations to enjoy. To that end he started the initiative and was lead author for the NamibRand Nature Reserve’s successful Dark Sky Reserve application and assisted the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park with its successful Dark Sky Sanctuary application.

David Welch | Canada
International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN], Dark Skies Advisory Group Chair


Duncan Wise |  United Kingdom
Northumberland Park Authority, Visitor Development Manager

 

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