IDA Awards recognize and share the exemplary achievements of individuals and groups who are committed to our mission.
U.S. and international dark sky heroes are recognized for their contributions to combatting light pollution. The 2017 award winners include the pioneer of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, research coordinator for the Loss of Night Network, and organizer for the Texas Night Sky Festival® in Dripping Springs, TX.
2017 Award Recipients
Crawford-Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award
The Crawford-Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award commemorates IDA Co-Founder and former Executive Director, Dr. David L. Crawford, and IDA Co-Founder and former President of the IDA Board of Directors, Dr. Tim B. Hunter, for their pioneering leadership in protecting the night sky and reducing light pollution and the indelible mark they have left. 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.
The Crawford-Hunter Award is presented posthumously to Xiaohua Wang of China. Wang was instrumental in the founding of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) Dark Sky Committee in Beijing. “As the pioneer of China’s dark and starry sky protection, the CBCGDF helped to establish the country’s first Dark-Sky Protected Areas in Naqu and Ali area in Tibet in 2016,” said IDA’s Award Committee Chair and Board Member, Connie Walker.
The award honors Dr. Arthur Hoag and William T. Robinson for their work as pioneers in outdoor lighting reform. It 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. Only one award will be given each year.
Dr. Arthur Hoag, who received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1952, was one of the founders of the dark sky movement. Dr. Hoag led the cause against light pollution at Kitt Peak in the 1960s and early 1970s. His efforts, together with those of the astronomers he led, resulted in the adoption of an outdoor lighting ordinance in Tucson and Pima County in 1972.
William Robinson was a retired petroleum engineer experienced in technology and negotiation when he met Dave Crawford at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Shortly thereafter he came out of retirement to become a volunteer for dark sky preservation in southern Arizona. Passionate and tireless, Mr. Robinson was instrumental in the adoption of no less than 50 outdoor lighting control ordinances throughout Arizona that included most incorporated communities, all state counties, and the state itself.
Marge Hoag and Mary Robinson, the widows of Dr. Arthur Hoag and William Robinson, respectively, have agreed to the use of their husbands’ names for this award.
This year the Hoag-Robinson Award is presented to Deborah Moran of Houston, Texas. “Debbie Moran is a force in the Houston area dark-sky community,” said IDA’s Board President, Diana Umpierre. For the past several years, she has gone above and beyond the call of duty in working with the Houston Mayor and City Council on light pollution issues. She contacts local media and has had them publish helpful materials, she writes and speaks before many council meetings, and she has done a great job helping raise the public’s awareness of light pollution in the Houston Metropolitan area. She has organized and sent petitions to the city council, and so much more.
The Galileo award shall be given “in recognition of outstanding achievements in research or academic work on light pollution over a multiple year period.”
Note: The Galileo Award was established by IDA Europe in 2003 to acknowledge outstanding achievements in combating light pollution in Europe, and was traditionally presented at the European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky. In 2017, the restriction of the award to Europe was lifted to better reflect IDA’s international mission, and the award citation was changed to reflect the academic contributions of many of the previous winners while avoiding overlap with other categories of IDA awards. IDA encourages nominations of Europeans for all award categories, and as a standard practice all IDA awards to Europeans will now be officially announced and presented at the European Symposium.
Dr. Sibylle Schroer of Berlin, Germany is awarded the 2017 Galileo Award. Dr. Schroer has been active in light pollution research since September of 2010 when she joined the German “Verlust der Nacht” research project. She has acted as a research coordinator for the “Loss of the Night” research project and the EU “Loss of the Night Network” (COST Action ES1204 LoNNe). Dr. Schroer was one of the applicants/grant writers for LoNNe and is a partner within the STARS4ALL awareness project. She is also a member of the steering committee of the ALAN conference series.
Dr. Schroer is very active in light pollution education. In addition to frequent (mainly German) media interviews, she has interacted directly with politicians and community leaders, representatives of the lighting industry, students, and the general public. For example, Dr. Schroer was an invited speaker at the 8th “ForumLED” LED lighting conference in Lyon, France, in 2016, and gave a well-received talk entitled “The impact of artificial light on the environment – how can modern technology reduce negative effects?”
Chapter Leadership Award
The Chapter Leadership Award is given to an IDA Chapter or Chapter member who has demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local level in combatting light pollution and fostering support for IDA’s mission and programs. Of particular interest are Chapters or Chapter members who have built strong and effective communities around light pollution and its environmental impacts, and who have raised awareness of the issue through exceptional outreach and education programs. Only one award will be given each year.
The Chapter Leadership Award goes to Cindy Luongo Cassidy of Driftwood, TX. Cassidy is IDA’s Texas Chapter Leader and initiated the Texas Night Sky Festival®, in Dripping Springs, TX. The Festival has served to educate over 6,000 people about night sky protection. She has worked to educate her local community and many groups in Texas regarding dark-sky friendly lighting and impacts on glare and how that relates to safety. She is currently working to ensure that the LED light conversions in her community are compliant with protecting dark skies.
Nocturnal Habitat Protection Award
The Nocturnal Habitat Protection Award recognizes individuals or entities whose decisive actions have been instrumental to the conservation of substantial nocturnal habitat for terrestrial and/or aquatic wildlife species on public or private land and water resources. Qualifying efforts may include protecting natural areas from encroaching sources of light pollution or restoring natural nocturnal conditions through the elimination of unnecessary lighting and/or the implementation of smart lighting practices on-site. Only one award will be given each year.
The Nocturnal Habitat Protection Award is awarded to Dr. Noam Leader of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Leader is the chief ecologist for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority where he initiated lighting guides and policies using well-documented science while making it accessible for stakeholders and decision makers. “Dr. Leader’s accomplishments have made a significant change in the way nature conservationists manage artificial lighting in a developed country such as Israel,” said IDA Executive Director, Scott Feierabend.
Dark Sky Place of the Year
Each year, a single International Dark Sky Place will be awarded the title of Dark Sky Place (Park, Reserve, Community, or Sanctuary) of the Year. This award is given in recognition of a recent exceptional achievement to an IDSP that has been established for at least 3 years. For example, an IDSP could be recognized for a major reduction in lighting inside or near the IDSP, for IDSP led adoption of stricter lighting codes by communities in the buffer zones or in a major city within 100 km distance, for especially innovative or successful programs or actions within the IDSP, or for major contributions to the IDSP program.
The Dark Sky Place of the Year Award is given to Headlands International Dark Sky Park for their innovation in the public education initiatives at the park. IDA’s program manager, John Barentine says, “Headlands has, for six years since receiving its IDA Dark Sky Park designation, consistently gone above and beyond in terms of the number and variety of dark-skies programs it presents to the public. No other Dark Sky Park quite compares in this regard.”
Dark Sky Defender Award
The Dark Sky Defender Award is given to individuals and organizations in appreciation and recognition of their exceptional efforts to promote and advance the mission and programs of IDA to preserve night skies by promoting quality outdoor nighttime lighting to reduce light pollution and its environmental impacts. Nominees include those who have led outstanding public education and outreach campaigns on light pollution, who have promoted ordinances and other regulatory tools to reduce light pollution, who have worked with the media, policy makers, opinion leaders and others to bring greater urgency to the issue, and who have fostered collaborations with disparate stakeholders to affect positive change. A maximum of five awards will be given each year.
Joe and Nancy Bill, Tom O’Key, Jessyn Farrell, and Kerem Asfuroglu are recognized as Dark Sky Defenders this year.
Joe and Nancy Bill from Fountain Hills, AZ are founders of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association, which is “dedicated to educating the community about the advantages of smart lighting and protecting our unique dark sky.” Joe and Nancy successfully petitioned the Town to update its lighting ordinance, which was passed in November 2016. They have engaged in educating the Fountain Hills community and schools on the importance of preserving dark skies, have successfully encouraged business and government buildings to update their lighting for dark sky purposes, have run an eight-part series in the local newspaper to teach about dark sky preservation, and have earned positive feedback from Town officials all along the way. Joe and Nancy are currently working on plans to bring a public observatory to the Town of Fountain Hills, and are planning to host a Dark Sky Festival in April to celebrate the anticipated Dark Sky designation. Joe and Nancy told IDA, “We feel very honored to have received this award and we hope to spread the enthusiasm for dark skies throughout our community and beyond.”
Tom O’Key, of Joshua Tree, CA is the IDA Joshua Tree Chapter Leader and was instrumental in the Dark Sky designation for the Joshua Tree National Park.
Jessyn Farrell, J.D., of Seattle, WA is a state leader in building public consensus on difficult issues related to transportation, land use and the environment. With over 20 years of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors Jessyn emphasizes listening, creative-thinking and data-based decision-making to find solutions that meet community objectives. A former state legislator, Jessyn advocated successfully for a budget proviso to require the Washington State Department of Transportation to study the impacts of light pollution and develop solutions for state highway facilities.
Kerem Asfuroglu, of London, UK is a lighting designer at the multi-award winning practice, Speirs + Major, and the author of Dark Source comics/short films. His most recent film, ‘The Progress’ (supported by IDA), is an inspirational and thought-provoking short film about our deep-rooted and fundamental relationship with the night sky.
Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award honors a student or students of any grade level from elementary school through undergraduate university who demonstrate(s) an enthusiasm for and commitment to dark sky conservation and/or research into nocturnal habitat, human health, safety and security, or other areas in the context of natural darkness and light pollution. A student may conduct his or her activities as part of a science fair or other school-based project, as a member of a community service organization, in partnership with a non-profit, or coordinated with a local, state, or national park or other protected natural areas. No more than three awards will be presented annually.
Charles Goldberg and Kyle Hartmann receive this year’s Rising Star Award honors.
Charles Goldberg, from Arlington Heights, IL has worked very hard to educate the other youth in his school and local community and raise awareness of the importance of dark skies in one of the most light polluted cities in the US.
Kyle Hartmann, from Potomac Falls, VA is now a high school senior in suburban Washington, D.C. and approached the Loudoun County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors about outdoor lighting policy in the county.
To view details about the 2016 award recipients, click here.
To view details about the 2015 award recipients, click here.