About MeI live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I explore the deeper reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while also trying to raise awareness about light pollution and the importance of dark skies through photography and video.
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If you’re in the Jackson Hole area, be sure to pick up the current weekly edition of the Jackson Hole News & Guide! In the weekly section, Close-Up, I’m currently featured for my efforts in getting Jackson, Wyoming and surrounding areas to be dark-sky compliant. I’m very honored to be featured so prominently about my work that coincides so directly with what I love.
The article goes into a lot of depth about my past and how I got to where I am now, and also brings up the issues I’m working to raise, such as the marketing potential that Jackson is letting slip by, particularly with the upcoming 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and many other nighttime activities.
For those that don’t know, over the past year I’ve been working with Wyoming Stargazing and the Teton Photography Group to bring more awareness to the Jackson Hole region about the dangers and inefficiency of light pollution.
During my trip to the southwestern United States this past fall, one of my destinations was Chaco Culture National Historic Park, or more commonly known as, Chaco Canyon. Turning off the highway overrun these days with traffic for the oil and gas industry, I began the winding journey down the back roads to Chaco Canyon, only to find 15 miles in that the campground was full. An amazing thing about Chaco Canyon is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. A downside to Chaco Canyon is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. The nearest lodging, assuming I wanted to go that route, was over two hours away and I wasn’t quite sure just how far back the oil industry was destroying our beautiful BLM lands, so camping anywhere nearby was out of the question. I pulled out my atlas and found two national monuments still in northwestern New Mexico, but neither of them terribly close, either being a good bet for camping though.
On Monday, October 6th, 2014, I gave a TEDxJacksonHole talk on the subject of light pollution titled, Restoring the Night Sky for a Healthier Future. The talk discussed my personal experience and growing interest in light pollution, the facts and science behind how it affects each and every one us and the ecosystems we live in, and why a dark night sky is so essential and important in creating a spiritual connection to both our own species, and the infinite space around us.
On April 28th of 2014, I gave a much lengthier talk that was specific to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK6VmG4rYME). Though many similar concepts were shared, the TEDx talk was significantly shorter and much more polished, refined, and to the point to make it worthy of the TED name.
A trailer for Reclaiming the Night, following Wyoming Stargazing’s mission to build an observatory and planetarium in Jackson, Wyoming
One of western culture’s greatest collective fear is the fear of the dark. This fear has been with humanity longer than any written records, and countless stories and myths were created to ignorantly perpetuate that fear. Well into today, that irrational perpetuation is continued through the news outlets, repeatedly reporting of violent crimes taking place from people lurking in the shadows, or psychotic individuals in extremely remote places waiting for someone to park in just the wrong spot. A fear of the big, bad wolf or of the ever-menacing grizzly bear insure that we keep away from nature at night as well, and yet, if we’re to have truly successful night shots, these are the places we need to be to do so.
On Monday, April 28th, 2014, from 6-8pm, I’ll be giving a presentation at the Teton County Library Auditorium, Side B, about light pollution stemming from the town of Jackson. I’ve written about light pollution before, but in writing that blog post, I’ve learned quite a bit more about the effects, solutions, and even goals to achieve by minimizing its effects. In addition, I was also invited onto the board of Wyoming Stargazing, a non-profit that seeks to bring an observatory and planetarium to Jackson Hole, something that won’t be nearly as meaningful without cutting down on the light pollution emitted from the area.
Throughout the presentation, I’ll be showing examples of businesses and areas around town that are doing severe damage to our night skies, how they can very easily fix them, what the effects of light pollution on humans and wildlife are, speaking about International Dark Sky Association certification and why it matters, showing examples of other dark sky communities and how it impacted their tourism, and much more.
Fog lifts around the Teton Mountains and above East Gros Ventre Butte as seen from the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming.
Many people have made New Year’s Resolutions, and most won’t be kept. The problem with the average New Year’s Resolution is that it’s such a drastic departure from a normal routine that it becomes very easy to break. In most cases, it also comes at a cost that most people don’t want to experience: cutting out sugar; waking up much earlier to run; etc. Without seeing much evidence for any immediate change, old habits revert back to a natural routine. What if you could adapt a New Year’s Resolution that not only brought about noticeable change, but actually made you feel better? We’ve all experienced that feeling of invincibility, where nothing could bring us down. What if that feeling, where no matter what someone said we were still flying high, could become the norm?