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Writing Dark Sky Places Annual Reports

Writing Dark Sky Places Annual Reports Image

Photo by Jonathan Kim (CC BY-NC 2.0)

As a condition of the continued accreditation of International Dark Sky Places, IDA asks that each Place submit a report on activities related to dark skies by 1 October of each year. This condition is set forth in the program guidelines for each of the Dark Sky Places designation categories. The listed contact individuals for each Place will be reminded by email on 1 August and 1 September of each year, in advance of the deadline.

The annual reports are important to the relationship between IDA and our 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 IDA can help. In turn, we mine the annual reports for information and success stories we can share with our membership and the world through our member communications and social media. The reports serve in place of periodic re-accreditation, in order to minimize the impact on staff and resources at the Dark Sky Places.

There is no required format for the annual reports, although we request that they are submitted in a common file format such as MS Word or PDF. Similarly, there is no specific content the annual reports should address. We do not have anything like a template in order to give those making the reports the most flexibility in what information they present and how it is presented. For examples of past annual reports, see the individual pages for Dark Sky Places on the IDA website and look under “Documents”.

Here are some suggestions for what kinds of information annual reports can contain:


•       Current information for the site IDA contact(s)

•       Does the site currently have a Provisional status?  If so, what work has been done in the past year to resolve concerns that resulted in the Provisional designation?

For Parks and Reserves:

•       Does the site plan to apply for a tier status upgrade in the future?  If so, what work has been done in the past year furthering the application?

•       Estimate number of site visitors in the last year. Of those, how many participated in dark-skies programming?




•       Were any new lighting projects completed this year?  If so, describe.

•       Is any lighting within the Park/Reserve non-compliant with the LMP (as permitted at the time of IDA designation)?  If so, what is the plan to bring the remainder into compliance within the allowed window of time?

•       Was any new territory added to the Park/Reserve?  If so, does any lighting on it comply with the LMP?  If lighting on new territory doesn’t comply, is there a plan to bring it into compliance?


•       Were any changes made to local/municipal outdoor lighting policy in the past year? If so, describe and include text of any code language added or changed.

•       Were there any new municipal lighting installations (or similar, large-scale installations on commercial property) built in the last year to show as examples built to your dark sky-friendly code?


Sky Quality

•       Were sky quality data taken in the past year? If possible, include a table or figure showing the information

•       Did sky brightness increase over the previous year?  Decrease?

•       Is a permanently mounted sky monitor installed, or are there plans to install one?


Conservation and Research (Parks/Reserves)

•       Any ongoing conservation and/or research programs at the site?  If so, who runs them, and what are the goals?

•       Are there any new research results to report?  Have any been published this year?



•       Currently administering any grants related to dark-skies programming?  If so, describe.

•       Were any new grants won this year?

•       Are there plans to apply for any future grants?


Arts and Culture

•       Is any programming ongoing or planned blending the arts/culture with dark skies?  If so, describe.



•       Were any new programs begun this year?

•       If so, are they complete or ongoing?

•       Are statistics available (e.g., how many visitors served, donations, etc.)


Community and Media Relations

•       Any new media coverage you would like us to know about? May include e.g., PDFs as attachments

•       Any engagement with local governments, community organizations, or private landowners in the past year to report?

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