The GLDS is a broad-based community movement (Lake Geneva, Linn, Williams Bay and Fontana), headed by the Wisconsin chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association. We have been working over the past two years to raise awareness and educate the local community (residents, businesses and visitors) about the hazards of light pollution, therefore the benefits of designating Geneva Lake as a dark sky haven. Some of our accomplishments to date:
- We have worked closely with Yerkes Observatory. Located in Williams Bay, the observatory was originally founded in 1897. Yerkes Observatory houses the world’s largest refracting telescope. It is currently a facility of the University of Chicago’s Department of Astrology and Astrophysics. We have partnered with Yerkes Observatory on facilitating numerous educational programs and star parties.
- We have been working closely with the local Environmental Education Foundation regarding the benefits of creating a dark sky haven on Geneva Lake and will be funding summer internships for local high school students.
- We are working with the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy in Williams Bay to expand the geographic coverage of the GLDS. The conservancy’s land was originally purchased back in 1989 and officially became a protected conservancy July 6th, 1990 under the guidance of “To The Children of Tomorrow” on behalf of the Native American Potawatomi tribe that originally inhabited the area.
This year we have been developing a social marketing movement, starting with our refreshed website that will augment our overall educational objectives of building awareness about the hazards of light pollution. Specifically, we will post content about lighting (the different industrial sources of light) and light pollution. One area the GLDS is sensitive about regarding light pollution is its adverse effect on wildlife and ecosystems. The Geneva Lake area is steeped in great wildlife. In addition to our website, we plan on utilizing other social media platforms to engage, build awareness and communicate all the great programs we will be launching this summer – star parties at Yerkes Observatory, continuing educational programs within the community, etc. Long-term, thanks to our GLDS initiatives, we will make the area a popular tourist destination so visitors can re-connect with the beauty of a clear nighttime heavenly sky.
In closing, the leadership team of the GLDS is proud of the progress we have made since its outset and is looking forward to the summer of 2017 as we conduct numerous fun events in what promises to be a great dark sky haven in southeastern Wisconsin.