RASC-Wpg: Spruce Woods Park: Designated a Dark Sky Preserve!

Silvia Graca arcturus173 at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 16 16:19:13 CDT 2020

Greetings RASC Winnipeg!

As promised, for those of you that missed Friday's zoom meeting, here is a quick summary of the announcement about Spruce Woods being designated a dark sky preserve.

For those new to astronomy and not familiar with dark sky preserves (DSP), what this means for Spruce Woods Provincial Park is that it is now officially considered an area that is and will be protected from light pollution.

The whole process took Winnipeg RASC volunteers over 12 years, contending with so many challenges such as natural disasters like the floods that hit Spruce Woods, change of management at the Parks, Park budgets played a role as some of the existing lighting had to be  either replaced or shielded properly to make sure they were compliant - in other words make sure that the light was not too bright, was pointed towards the ground and not spilling to the sky or to unnecessary areas which of course affects the quality of a dark sky.

So although the Winnipeg RASC has achieved this goal and the designation is in place, the Winnipeg RASC, will have to continue and maintain the relationships that have been built with the park, to make sure we do not lose the designation by failing to use appropriate lighting.  This is something that will always have to be monitored.

Achieving this designation means Manitoba has its very first dark sky preserve designation ever!!!  This is a major accomplishment!!!

Those RASC volunteers have essentially ensured that:

  *   The pristine dark skies of Spruce Woods Provincial Park will be preserved and so it will be a great place for astronomy and science!

  *   Visitors to the park will be able to experience a dark sky and enjoy it for years to come;

  *   living creatures will be protected from light pollution;

  *    and there is also the elimination of excess lighting that will save electricity and money that can now be channeled to more important things, like more astronomy things!

Now you must be wondering who are these heroes from the Winnipeg RASC that donated so much of their time and energy to this project?

First and foremost is the leader of this team; Tim Kennedy; although he asked me not to single him out and that credit goes to all the Winnipeg Rascals that gave their time and effort over the last 12 years, Tim was certainly the moving force behind this.

His leadership and ability to engage and energize volunteers and other stakeholders definitely played a major role.

I am just a messenger here but off the top of my head, when I think of Tim's DSP team, the following people come to mind, Sandy Shcewchuk, Gail Wise, Marnie Dangerfield, Ron Berard, Sheila Wiwchar, our current president Bryan Stach, Gord Telluch, Scott Young, Gerry Smerchanski, Mike Karakas, Cliff Levi and the late Lindsay Price, and so many others that I might be forgetting that volunteered in council throughout the years!  Tim will make sure to mention everyone that was involved when he gives us his presentation on this in the near future.

Be sure to give these people a shout-out on this major accomplishment by your very own Winnipeg RASC volunteers, you guys rock!!!

SWSP Committee

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