First Energy contributes to Dark Sky initiative

Pictured, l to r: Watoga State Park Foundation Board Member Wayne Pollard; Watoga State Park Superintendent Jody Spencer; First Energy Manager for External Affairs John Norman; Watoga Foundation Board Members Mary Dawson and Louanne Fatora. Photo and info courtesy of the Watoga Foundaton

Watoga State Park Foundation received a $5,000 grant from First Energy for the Dark Sky Project to cover the cost of replacing light fixtures in the park.

Watoga State Park is located in one of the darkest regions in the east, with very little light pollution.

Light pollution has detrimental effects on the natural life cycles of many animal and insect species as well as human health.

For nearly two years, Foundation members Mary Dawson and Louanne Fatora have worked to implement the guidelines established by the International Dark Sky Association to have Watoga designated as an IDA park.

One major portion of the certification process is to convert all the light fixtures and bulbs in the entire park to dark sky friendly. At this time, a majority of the fixtures have been purchased and installed in cabins, campgrounds, administration building, pool and activity hall.

What can you do to reduce your impact on light pollution?

Install fully shielded down-light fixtures at your home. These fixtures direct light downward, rather than out to the side and up into the sky.

Fixtures need to have light bulbs that are less than 3000 kelvins (color temperature) and 800 lumens (brightness).

Disconnecting dusk to dawn lights will better preserve the dark sky.

An alternative to dusk to dawn lights is to install motion sensor flood lights.

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